The recent dance by the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the issue of restructuring the polity has been interesting to watch.
Recall: President Muhammadu Buhari campaigned on a platform which promised to bring about true federalism. In fact the first action point under “Politics and Governance” in his manifesto boldly declared that “My administration will initiate action to amend the Nigerian Constitution with a view to devolving powers, duties, and responsibilities to states in order to entrench true Federalism and the Federal spirit.”
After the win, CRICKETS: Needless to say, the administration got into office and simply relegated and denied this key item that was so important during the campaigns that Candidate Buhari itemised it as number one in his manifesto. APC leaders at different fora denied the promise and even the Kaduna Gov. Nasir El-Rufai, a close ally of the president, suddenly said people talking about restructuring do not even know what it is or are opportunists.
Thank Kanu: It has taken the agitation of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, to bring the issue of restructuring to the front burner once again. As voices have grown louder, the APC has now set up a committee on restructuring. We have no idea if it has the buy-in of Pres. Buhari just yet.
The Interview: Prominent lawyer Femi Falana was asked to react to the APC’s call for memoranda to be submitted by the public on the issue of restructuring. The outspoken man wasted no time in calling out the party over its hypocrisy. His response is worth reproducing:
“During the last electioneering, the All Progressives Congress promised to restructure the country. It was therefore surprising when the APC Chairman, Chief John Oyegun, claimed that the APC would not restructure the country. In fact, one of the leading ideologues of the party, Mr. Nasir el-Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State, described those who are campaigning for restructuring as opportunists.
“To stop the public deceit, I had to refer the APC leadership to the party’s manifesto where it is expressly stated that the party would initiate action to amend the nation’s constitution with a view to devolving powers, duties and responsibilities to state and local governments, in order to entrench federalism and the federal spirit. It was at that juncture that the APC was compelled to set up a committee on restructuring. Is that not a time-wasting exercise?
“One would have expected the APC to reach out to other stakeholders in the Nigerian project, including representatives of political parties, the labour movement, the youths including students, women, physically challenged people, etc., to debate the devolution and democratisation of powers in a way that the national question is addressed in a holistic manner. That action would have addressed the bulk of agitations over marginalisation, inequality and insecurity in the country. There can be no serious restructuring with a neocolonial political economy.”