We’re running a bastardised federal structure, says Oyegun

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The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has said the nation is running a bastardised federal structure.
He, therefore, said there was the need to revisit the dysfunctional structure in order to change the narrative and ensure that the structure work efficiently for the benefit of all Nigerians.
Also, the Chairman of the APC’s Committee on True Federalism, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has said elections should not detract leaders from the task of nation building.
They spoke at the public presentation of the committee’s report, in Abuja, on Wednesday.
Odigie-Oyegun said, “There is no question that where we are today is a bastardised federal structure – more or less a unitary system.  What we are going to present to you today is the considered view of the majority of Nigerians.”

Odigie-Oyegun explained that contrary to the earlier perception in some quarters that the party had abandoned its promise to restructure the country, it was busy trying to fix the nation’s economy first.
He said, “We didn’t think restructuring was an immediate thing. We were faced with an economic crisis; we had to find a new economic reality. We thought it was necessary to lay the foundation of an effective railway system, fix roads and power (first) before proceeding.”
In response to agitations by labour unions about the panel’s recommendation for local government autonomy, the party chairman said, “We are not abolishing the local government system. What we are saying is that all local governments should be truly local to reflect the peculiarities of the various states.
El-Rufai, who is also the governor of Kaduna State, spoke through his Special Adviser (Political), Mallam Uba Sani.
According to him, since the committee submitted its findings and recommendations to the National Working Committee of the party six days ago, the feedback from Nigerians had been largely positive.
El-Rufai said, “Thus far, we have not heard rebuttals of the recommendations. Rather, there has been a lot of hysteria triggered by seeming disbelief that a party in power at the centre is proposing true federalism.
“In place of a counter-narrative or alternative position on federalism, what we hear is that the recommendations are coming close to elections.
“If something is desirable, surely the imminence of elections should not render it unappealing. The reality is that restructuring is a nation-building opportunity.
“There is now no significant constituency against the idea that states should exercise consequential powers, assume more responsibilities and control resources. It is time to make it work for the benefit of the peoples of this country.”
Also speaking at the event, a former Minister of Information, Prince Tony Momoh, stressed the need for the party to engage with the President in order to muster the political will to ensure that the panel’s recommendations do not go the way of previous reports of national conferences.
A member of the APC panel, who is also a former Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Aisha Ismail, said one thing was clear, all Nigerians want a better and greater Nigerian “where there will be justice, a Nigeria where things work.”
She pointed out that she was particularly delighted by the recommendation that affirmative action for women should be given a pride of place in the new Nigeria the APC was seeking to build.
The Secretary of the committee, Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi, said the committee had no opinion of its own but that the panel’s findings and recommendations were based on the outcome of its public engagements with Nigerians.
But the People Democratic Party said the APC had no desire to restructure Nigeria, adding that El-Rufai who was eventually drafted to head the APC panel had on June 29, 2017, during an interview on Channels TV, denied that the APC promised restructuring.
 The PDP’s position was contained in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbodiyan.
The opposition PDP dismissed the APC report as “a ruse and a fresh attempt to beguile Nigerians with another round of lies, empty proposals and hollow promises, ahead of 2019 elections, just as it did in 2015.”
The party also said the report was a calculated ploy by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to divert public attention from the woes of alleged worsening economy, unrelenting killings, corruption and the endless litany of afflictions occasioned by their almost three years of dysfunctional governance.


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