The Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON) and a chieft of All Progressives Congress (APC), Osita Okechukwu, has accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of plotting to destroy Nigeria by pushing for the restructuring of the country via unconstitutional means.
Okechukwu told the opposition not to lose sight of the fact that the constitution remains the ground norm, no matter how imperfect and therefore must not be violated.
In a statement made available to Blueprint Sunday in Abuja, the VON boss reprimanded the PDP for attempting to harvest the general insecurity and hunger in the land to deceptively capture power by all means.
“Am one of those who is worried with our sordid state of affairs. Am one of those who advocate additional one state for the South East, to give us equal status and sense of belonging. I want 18 senators, more house members and more local councils for my geopolitical zone like others. But rule of law must be adhered to no matter how slow.” Okechukwu said.
The VON helmsman was reacting to the attack on APC by the PDP, querying why President Buhari reneged on his promise of implementing an administrative restructuring for the country’s better governance.
He insisted that President Muhammadu Buhari had commenced restructuring by signing ‘Executive Order 10” to strengthen the financial autonomy of State legislatures and judiciary, hence extending the frontiers of democracy to the grassroots.
“Executive Order 10 is Buhari’s ‘Number 1’ restructuring. He has amended the constitution and had signed Executive Order 10 of 2020, in compliance with Section 121(3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with the intendment to strengthen the institutions of the State Governments,” Okechukwu said.
“To start with Mr President did not renege on restructuring, Executive Order is No 1 Restructuring. He commenced restructuring by strengthening the financial autonomy of State legislatures and judiciary. To be honest, it seems the PDP wants to Pull-Down- the-Roof. They want to harvest the general insecurity and hunger in the land to deceptively capture power by all means. Otherwise, PDP talk of restructuring without the 1999 Constitution, the National and State Assemblies is undemocratic and unconstitutional,” Okechukwu, a foundation member of APC said.
“Methinks, we all agree on restructuring, and that there are certain items in the Exclusive Legislative list that need to be devolved to sub-national units. Secondly, we all agree that we are on constitutional democracy. If the rule of law is our mantra, then am at loss which other route or channel PDP is proposing to restructuring without the Constitution, National and State Assemblies mandated by Section 9 of the constitution to do so? Or is PDP on deceptive power grabbing binge by aligning with Pull-Down-the-Roof crowd?”
Okechukwu explained that the President had systematically understudied our scenario in Nigeria and how antithetical the governors’ slide into emperorship has stymied the growth of democracy in our dear fatherland.
“Secondly, he watched how less than transparent most governors are in management of public finance, especially the bailout trillions he doled out to the governors. Accordingly, he came to the inevitable conclusion that before more powers and resources are devolved to them, let’s set the stage. Hence his 1st Restructuring is Executive Order 10.
“The truism is that amendment of any constitution is mostly incremental. USA in over 200 years of liberal democracy, has only 27 amendments. That’s the history of liberal democracy. It is amazing that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is still in self denial of this elementary history. In this context President Buhari has commenced restructuring with the amendment of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the course of his regime. The amendment is one of the milestones of the 8th National Assembly, in compliance to Section 121(3).
“As if Mr. President is aware that this important alteration of our constitution to make State Legislatures and State Judiciary more independent is either opposed or unnoticed he signed the Executive Order 10, to give life oxygen to this all important restructuring plank.”
On shock PDP expressed that APC had used restructuring as a mere campaign slogan not meant for implementation, Okechukwu said that the shock was unnecessary as Buhari’s intendment was to extend the frontiers of core democratic tenets to the grassroots.
“In all honesty can we truly claim that we are in democracy when there is no democracy at the grassroots? Are we actually in democracy with rubber stamp State legislatures, none independent State Judiciary and local councils governed in breach of Section 7 of our constitution? Are our governors’ civilian governors or Emperors? Can we have effective and civil State Police under quasi-despots? These are the puzzles Buhari intends to unbundle and redress. Without which powers and resources devolved to the States will be like pouring water into basket.”
Okechukwu faulted PDP’s statement that “The APC’s inaction in the face of the dismissive declaration by the Buhari Presidency that Nigerians, who they had promised restructuring, should now channel their demands to the National Assembly, only goes to further validate assertions among Nigerians that APC is a deceptive power-grabbing platform, which is not interested in governance or fulfilling its promises to Nigerians.
“My appeal to the PDP is not to get so desperate and forget that no matter how imperfect our constitution maybe, it still remains the ground norm. If PDP has recognized the imperative of gradually planting the core tenets of democracy at the grassroots and reduction of the Emperorship of the governors we could have moved to the 2nd Amendment. Accordingly, the Buhari Presidency has commenced restructuring; all we need is the partnership of the PDP and Nigerians who cajoled the governors to head to the Supreme Court to stymie No1 Amendment.”