Odigie-Oyegun bemoans agitations for Nigeria’s breakup
Urges adoption of APC’s report on true federalism
Former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has condemned constant agitations by secessionist groups for the breakup of Nigeria.
Speaking during the presentation of a book titled: APC’s Litmus Tests: Nigerian Democracy And Politics Of Change written by Dr. Salihu Lukman, he said the country’s leadership and security challenges would have been averted if the APC’s report on true federalism had been adopted.
Odigie-Oyegun, who maintained that the APC-led government was living up to its campaign promises, said it would be in the country’s best interest if the Federal Government addresses issues raised by proponents of true federalism.
His words: “In spite of whatever anybody says today, it is one party that has put together things that mean hope for this nation. Yes, people will say look at the situation in the country, but they have not looked well enough.
“There is no question that things are bad, people are hungry and angry, but this is a global phenomenon. The only serious issue is that of security, because without security, any other thing we are talking about is a waste of time. So, it is my hope that we will begin to have absolute control of the country’s security.”
He cited the document on true federalism, which the party put together that passed through the National Working Committee (NWC), the Caucus and National Executive Committee (NEC), the highest organ of the party.
Odigie-Oyegun stressed that the party did that at that time, “because as it is happening today, there was cacophony of voices. Two people in the party could not agree on what restructuring meant. So the party needed to take control of the debate, define the issues, proffer solutions and went to draft the legislation.
“It was not by any chance a perfect document, but it reflected the thinking and desires of Nigerians. Everybody kept quiet after we publicised the document, held media briefings on it and most Nigerians were happy.
“But once again, we did not make the kind of progress that we could have made and it has become once more, the topical subject in the Nigerian polity.
Unfortunately, the issues have gone beyond that.
“We now have one or two things that did not happen before, people now wanting to disengage from the federation, which did not happen before and that is a warning sign. If a child asks for food today you don’t give him, tomorrow he may decide that it is cake he wants and we must not as the government of the federation give the impression that only military governments can tamper with the basic structure of this country.
Speaking, Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Abubakar Bagudu, explained that the party’s decision to aggregate the views of Nigerians on the knotty issue of true federalism was based on the realisation that there were gaps in the 1999 Constitution (as amended.)
Bagudu charged the National Assembly to reconsider the recommendations of the Governor Ahmad Nasir-el Rufai committee on restructuring in the ongoing constitution amendment exercise.
“When one compares the country to the United States, a country with 331 million people in 2019 had a federal budget of over $3.5 trillion and 1 per cent of that is $35 billion. That means our budget is less than 1 per cent of the US budget and we have a population that is about 70 per cent of the US population,” he said.
Lukman, who is Director-General of PGF, charged the party not to allow “the loud noise of selfish political entrepreneurs” to hoodwink Nigerians into believing that the APC had failed to live up to its promises.
“It will be a mockery of our political history to allow any narrative in the public space, which tend to suggest that comparative to previous administrations since 1999, the APC administration headed by President Muhammadu Buhari has failed,” he said.
No comments yet