14th September, 2017
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Committee on True Federalism constituted to articulate the party’s position on restructuring Nigeria, says it will commence its assignment on Monday.
It said that it would embark on tour of all geo-political zones in the country to get their positions on the issue.
Secretary of the committee, Sen. Olubunmi Adetunbi, stated this at a news conference on Thursday in Abuja.
He said that the committee headed by Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, had been divided into four teams to tour the six zones of the country “to generate ideas from relevant stakeholders’’.
Adetunbi said that in carrying out the assignment, the committee would look into issues of states and state creation, devolution of power, federating units, fiscal federalism and revenue allocation.
He added that the committee would also look at issues of independent candidacy, land tenure system and local government autonomy.
“It will also look at type of legislature and form of government and whether the country should continue with the current presidential system or return to the parliamentary system as practiced in the second republic,’’ Adetunbi said.
He further said that the committee would leverage on ideas that had been put forward by the public on how best to address the restructuring debate.
In his remarks, Director-General, Progressive Governors Forum, Mr Lukman Salihu, said that contrary to belief in some quarters, President Muhammadu Buhari had not foreclosed the debate on restructuring.
He said that the president had rather opened the frontier for the discussion.
The president had in his national broadcast after his return from medical vacation, said that it was only the National Assembly and Federal Executive Council that could discuss the state of the Nigeria structure.
On the position of the South-West on restructuring, Salihu said there was no monopoly of ideas, adding that every opinion was welcomed.
He maintained that the committee would do its work, but added that ‘’the challenge now is for all of us to be positive because what we are looking for is solution’’.
He also said that the South-West had succeeded in putting something in the public domain as a body of information and knowledge from which ideas could be gathered in the country’s best interest.
‘’Consultation is necessary and that is what we are doing and it does not foreclose any other body within the country to do its work,’’ he said.
Salihu assured that the committee’s terms of reference would not clash with the ongoing constitutional amendment process of the National Assembly.
He explained that the committee was not out to make laws, but to understand the demands of the people and advocate within APC members in the National Assembly for necessary constitutional amendments.
‘’ Don’t forget that constitutional amendments is not once-in-a-lifetime opportunity; it is for every four years.
‘’The fact that the National Assembly is going through the process does not foreclose public discussion and debate on what should happen and what needs to change,’’ he said.
‘’We are opening frontiers of the debate and inviting people with anger to come and express their positions.
‘’We hope to make sense out of it in such a way that everybody would locate his or her bearing,’’ Salihu said.
He urged Nigerians whose opinions would be relevant in shaping the future of the country not hesitate to reach out to the committee.