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El-Rufai urges NASS Ad-hoc C’tee: to restructure Nigeria now

…Blames APC leaders for not implementing his report.

… Ekiti Governor tells FG: “Stop special preference to a particular ethnic group over others.”

by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna


Kaduna state governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, has called on the National Assembly’s adhoc committee on Constitutional Review to take advantage of his (El-Rufai’s) previous committee report and initiate a constitutional and legislative amendment to take care of restructuring without further delay.

The governor made the assertion at the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Arewa House North’s Centre for Historical Documentation and Research held in Kaduna on weekend. 

He blamed the APC leadership for failing to implement the report of the committee he chaired on True Federalism, in 2018, saying that, if implemented, it would be a roadmap to nation’s greatness.

He said: “The urgency of our challenges dictates that we should move fast with a sense of purpose to remove the structural bottlenecks that hobble our country. There is very little time left to secure and begin to implement the necessary constitutional amendments.”

Specifically, El-Rufai said that the APC committee he chaired on federalism recommended that the federation be rebalanced, with more powers and responsibilities devolved to the states.

“The committee also clarified that the federation is a relationship solely between the states and the federal government, and that each state should be allowed to operate the system of local government that best suits its circumstances, culture and diversity.

“It was the committee’s considered opinion that in a country as diverse as ours, one size or structure of local governance does not fit all.”

While introducing Fayemi earlier, the Kaduna state governor said the invitation of the Ekiti state governor as guest speaker at the forum was no coincidence.

He said: “Inviting Dr. Fayemi (as the guest of honour) is not a coincidence. We never do anything in the north by accident. There is a reason for inviting Dr. Fayemi, and the reason will be unfolded as times go on.

Earlier in his remarks, the Ekiti state governor and chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Kayode Fayemi, said the country has to be recreated for it to realize its socio-political and economic greatness.

Fayemi, who was the guest speaker at the event, advocated a restructuring that will cement the unity of Nigeria and engender a perfect union among its peoples, irrespective of their ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic differences.

He also suggested an equitable revenue allocation formula that will speak to the federalism Nigeria has adopted and give more resources to states and local governments, which carry more responsibilities.

The chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, spoke on the topic ‘Unfinished Greatness…Towards a More Perfect Union in Nigeria.’

Although, he did not share the opinion in some quarters that, the 1914 amalgamation of the north and south was a mistake, he however said building Nigeria to the status of a country that commands global respect should be seen as work in progress.

He appealed to Nigerians to come together and urgently tackle issues that currently divide them, if the dreams of the founding fathers, including the late Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, are to be realized by the present generation.

The Ekiti state governor said all ethnic nationalities should be made to feel important in the Nigerian Project; hence, preference should not be given to a particular ethnic group over others.

Fayemi explained that Nigeria, with over 250 ethnic nationalities, has managed its diversity whereas some countries in Eastern Europe had to be balkanized into smaller nations, while Britain is yet to find a definitive answer to the Irish, Welsh and Scottish question.

He said sincerity in handling the issue of restructuring as a means of giving assurance to stakeholders of the Nigerian Project that achieving greatness through unity in diversity was still possible.

He argued that issues of devolution of power, decentralization, restructuring and such other concepts should not be clothed in ethnic or regional toga but be used as an opportunity to re-imagine and reinvent the country to make it work well for everyone.

“In our quest towards a more perfect union, therefore, the main challenge is one of re-creating the union and the basis of its fundamental national association.

“Caught in our politics of difference and otherness, devolution, decentralization and restructuring often used as synonyms and such other epithets have come to mean different things to different peoples, depending on the ethnic and regional toga they wear.

“Our age-long distrusts and suspicions of one another are now being tested and contested on these epithets,” he said. 

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