Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere has attacked Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state for alleging that those calling for the restructuring of Nigeria are political opportunists.
According to the organisation’s Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, El-Rufai’s comments revealed that he was strongly against the calls for restructuring.
While stressing that the only way to put an end to the current agitations across the country was restructuring, the group stated:
“El-Rufai should tell us his own idea to correct the imbalance in the country because as far as we are concerned, the 2014 confab report is about the closest to the democratic representation of Nigeria.
“The confab consisted of representatives of all segments of the societies in Nigeria. But for somebody, who occupies a responsible office of a governor to be saying those who are talking about restructuring are irresponsible, it is very unfortunate.
“It is very sad for the governor to be talking like an area boy on the television. In Nigeria of today, we can now begin to take a census of those who are against restructuring – they are President Buhari, El-Rufai, Ango Abdullahi, Lai Mohammed and Tanko Yakassai.”
The group maintained that everybody in Nigeria currently supports restructuring adding that those who are against it are insignificant. “That is the song everybody is playing all over the country as of today, whether we like it or not,” Odumakin stressed.
Earlier during a Channels TV interview, El-Rufai had said that those calling for the restructuring of Nigeria are political opportunists and irresponsible. He also claimed that the calls were being exploited by people with presidential ambitions.
According to the Governor, in two years, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has done better than the past administration. He also said the current administration has taken some practical steps towards restructuring the country through various means.
He also mentioned that governors of all the 36 states in Nigeria are currently more involved in policy making at the national level in the present administration unlike in previous administrations. According to El-Rufai, before now, issues at the federal level were been hidden from state governors but the present administration has made transparency one of its key mandate. Hear his argument:
“We meet every month under the auspices of the National Economic Council and working together with the Federal Government we chart directions of economic policy and that is part of shifting the federal-state balance.
“A lot of the talk about political restructuring is political opportunism and irresponsibility in my opinion “It is popular and people that have presidential aspirations think there is a platform upon which they will exploit this. As I said, if you look at the APC manifesto, all the elements to divulge power to the state to change the balance in the federation are there and we are committed to that as a party.
“The National Chairman of our party will restate that commitment and we are discussing it and as I said President Buhari and Osinbajo’s government has taken very concrete steps rather than rhetoric to actually move in that direction and we are going to move in that direction but we do not believe that the basis for it is rhetoric and opportunism, we do not believe that the 2014 CONFAB report is a sensible basis to even begin.
“We all know the circumstances in which the so-called CONFAB was put together, we all know the composition, how lopsided it was, how important stakeholders were not taken to account, how even the composition and numbers do not reflect the demographics and the diversity of this country and we took a position as a party not to participate but to encourage our state governors to be there at the table”.