In recent times, there have been widespread calls for restructuring of Nigeria’s political space. This clamour has been exacerbated by the recent flurry of threats of quit notices to certain ethnic groups and agitation for secession by some other regions.
The calls have further received a political boost with no fewer than 15 political parties on the platform of the Coalition for New Nigeria (CNN) coming together to adopt a common position on their support for the restructuring of the country.
In what would seem like a response to these calls, Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), at its fifth regular joint National Working Committee (NWC) set up a committee to articulate the party’s position on restructuring.
A cursory look at the statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Bolaji Abdullahi, reveals the composition the nine-member committee which is headed by Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai. Other members of the Committee include the Governor of Osun State,Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Governor of Kano, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun, former Governor of Edo State,Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor, APC National Organising Secretary, Sen. Osita Izunaso,APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi and Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi as secretary.
It is the expressed opinion of this editorial board that the composition of the Committee is fundamentally flawed especially regarding the choice of Governor El Rufai as Chairman. When one considers his already well publicised views on the subject, it would appear that the APC has simply appointed an undertaker to carry out the interment of the whole discussion over any possible restructuring of the Country.
In a recent interview on Channels Television, Mallam El Rufai dismissed the talk about restructuring as “political opportunism”
In his words:
“For many people, when you talk about restructuring, it is political opportunism. Most of what you see in the media, most of the people that talk about restructuring or give long lectures about restructuring are unable to give you any concrete ideas about what it really means.
“As I said, a lot of the talk on restructuring is political opportunism and irresponsibility in my opinion. It is popular and people that have presidential aspiration think it is a platform on which they can exploit this.”
Mallam El-Rufai also betrayed his disdain for the widely acclaimed 2014 National Confab Report which has been widely hailed as proffering solutions to many of our National problems.
El-Rufai added that the implementation of the 2014 national conference report was likely not to happen because he never believed in it.
“We believe it was just a jamboree, we did not participate, our position has not changed. We are not going to look at it 2014 confab report because we do not think it even reflects the diversity of the views in Nigeria.”
It is fairly obvious from the comments expressed above that the rather sensitive issue has simply been committed to a crematorium and if anything, the idea is dead on arrival as nothing positive is likely to emerge from it.
There is a glaring absence of any known proponent of restructuring on the list of its members. Where are the proponents of restructuring in the committee? Can APC shave a man’s head in his absence? Objectivity demands that there should be known advocates of the idea represented so that the Party can have more diverse opinions. At least, state Party Chairmen from the South East where the clamour seems to be more intense should have been picked.
There is urgent need for a review of the membership of the committee before its first sitting in the interest of transparency and objectivity. We appeal to agitators who feel genuinely aggrieved to pursue the path of dialogue. The formation of the ruling party’s restructuring committee is a strong signal that hope is on the way.
While we acknowledge that the setting up the committee in the first place portrays the ruling party as a listening political body, the recent agitations which have created tension in the country call for cautious, objective and patriotic appraisal.