The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday locked horns over the failure of the Federal Government to restructure the country since the return of democratic governance in 1999.
Firing the first salvo, the PDP, through Kola Ologbondiyan, its National Publicity Secretary, said despite riding to office in 2015 on the promise to restructure the country, the APC had failed to do so five years after, and had even rejected the report of the 2014 national conference which would have greatly helped in repositioning the country.
Speaking further, he said Nigerians should ask President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC why it had failed to act on the Governor Nasir el-Rufai-led committee on True Federalism which has submitted its report to the National Working Committee of the APC since January 2018.
Ologbondiyan said: “For us in the PDP, we did not, for one day, take the El-Rufai committee on restructuring seriously. Part of the campaign that was made by the APC in 2015 was restructuring”.
“They have not, by any effort, come close to their own promise. In whatever way you look at the administration, it has manifestly failed”.
“If you make promises, even if you can’t fulfil all, you can still walk around part of the promises and provide hope that even after you have left office, any office holder that is coming after you will be able to do part of what you have left behind. The reality is that this APC government is not prepared for restructuring.
“They cannot deal with it and they cannot fulfil any promise. In a tenure of eight years, we have had this government for five years.
By next year, politics will be in full swing while governance will take the backseat. So, what is left for them to do?”
Also reacting to the September edition of the in-house monthly magazine of the APC, The Progressives, titled ‘Calm Down! Restructuring Has Begun’, Ologbondiyan said the APC should disclose to Nigerians in which area it had restructured the country.
He said: “When you talk about restructuring, it appears to different people from different angles. There are those who believe in the devolution of power as restructuring. To these ones, to restructure Nigeria, power must be taken from the centre and given to states and local governments.
“There are others who believe that the 36 states and FCT are not working and, as such, we must go back to regionalism; that is also restructuring.
“There are those who believe that a bicameral legislature is too expensive and that we should go back to a unicameral legislature; that is also restructuring”.
“There are those who believe that the states should be allowed to have their own police while there are others who believe that even the local councils should have their own police, it is still restructuring.
“There are those who believe that traditional rulers should be given roles in the constitution in such a manner that they can look over their domains; it is also restructuring.
“There are those who also believe that each state should be allowed to manage its resources and return a percentage of those resources to the centre, in order to enable the centre to run its affairs. That is also restructuring.
“So, there are various ways of restructuring that Nigerians have expectations. In all these angles of restructuring that I have explained, which one can you point to that the Buhari administration has attempted to implement? None!”
“So, as far as we are concerned in the PDP, we have seen the eight years of President Buhari as a passer-by years. We do not know in concrete terms what Nigerians will be able to point to after the eight years of his administration.”
However, Yekini Nabena, deputy national publicity secretary of the APC, admonished the PDP to explain to Nigerians why it failed to restructure Nigeria during its 16 years rule.
Accusing the PDP of still being bitter because of its defeat in the 2019 presidential election, the party wondered why the PDP suddenly woke up to realise that Nigeria needed to be restructured but failed to do so while it was in power between 1999 and 2015.
“The PDP was in power for 16 years, why didn’t they restructure the country if they knew it was very important to do so? That is the question Nigerians should ask them.
“The situation we have now is that those who have been defeated and forgotten are now seeking political relevance by making noise about restructuring.You have the pot of soup in your custody for 16 years but you refused to dish out the meal because it was to your benefit.
“I think the PDP is just being hypocritical and they do not have the love of the country at heart. After spending that humongous amount of money to set up the 2014 national confab, why did they fail to implement it? Who is fooling who?
“They should first answer that question before we proceed to the next.”