Governor of Kaduna state, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, has declared the North’s readiness for what he called an inclusive restructuring.
The governor, who also chaired the All Progressives Congress Committee on Restructuring, also pointed out that contrary to what some people want to believe, the region would be the greatest beneficiary of restructuring.
The governor spoke as a keynote speaker in Ibadan, Oyo state capital, at the event marking the 80th birthday of a former Governor of Osun state, and the Interim National Chairman of the ruling APC, Chief Bisi Akande.
The birthday lecture was themed “Nigeria: Achieving National Unity Through Peaceful Restructuring.”
The event held at the Emeritus Professor Theophilus Oladipo Ogunlesi Multipurpose Hall of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.
And speaking on a sub-theme; “Restructuring is a nation-building opportunity,” the governor noted that most of those speaking loudly against restructuring from the North, represent no one, as most of them have never held elective office.
He said: “Many wrongly equate the decimation of federalism, not to the military mindset of unitary command-and-control, but to so-called ‘northern oligarchy.’
“I want to state here and now that, not only is the North ready, willing and able to embrace inclusive restructuring of our polity, but to add that those that speak loudly against it represent no one.
“Most of them have never held elective office, and therefore do not appreciate that the North, with its natural endowments, stands to be the biggest beneficiary of restructuring.”
He recalled that “the truth is that the most unitary government we ever had was that headed by General J. T. Aguiyi-Ironsi, who is not from Northern Nigeria. The coincidence of the mindset of most of the military leaders being of Northern origin, must not be confused with that of the ordinary Northerner.”
The governor stressed that as a way out; the federal government needs to devolve more powers to the states, and the states to the local governments. Many of the challenges that confront our country are best resolved at the sub-national level.”
He believed that devolution of more powers and responsibilities to states, would create many options for productive collaboration between states and federal governments.
El-Rufai further said that notwithstanding the tendency by certain sections of the nation’s elite to trivialise it with their opportunism, restructuring, according to him, remains a nation-building opportunity for Nigeria.
“Successful restructuring depended on the national resolve to protect the idea of a common citizenship. A restructuring of mentality and values are key factors in the success of a restructuring of the governance and political structure.
“With all sense of responsibility, I believe some Nigerians have made a career and livelihood around ‘restructuring’ without deep thought, or a clear plan or implementation strategy,” El-Rufai further explained.
Also in a remark, Vice President Osinbajo, who chaired the event, said every Nigerian knows that restructuring is very important, but differ on how best to achieve it.
While recalling the Lagos experience where he served as the attorney general and commissioner for justice under the Bola Tinubu administration, Osinbajo canvassed adoption of judicial process in the quest for the nation’s restructuring.
He noted that states should contest the need for restructuring in court than engaging themselves in mere agitation.
The nation’s number two faulted the opposition Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, for turning the desirability or otherwise of restructuring to a campaign issue.
He urged Nigerians to be vigilant and not allow the PDP to stage a comeback to power, saying, it was glaring that the opposition party has not changed its spots.
The vice president said former Vice President Abubakar and the then PDP government were once vehemently opposed to restructuring when the former governor of Lagos state, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu canvassed same in 1999.
The event had in attendance APC National Leader, Asiwaju Tinubu, Governors Biola Ajimobi of Oyo state, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun, Gboyega Oyetola of Osun, his predecessor, Raufu Aregbesola, and former Ogun state governor, Aremo Olusegun Osoba among others.