By Ayo Kehinde
Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation has disputed views of the All Progressives Congress, APC, that former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar is a latteri day convert to the issue of restructuring.
The organization in a release made available to Thisage, Monday, said the ruling party has shown its desperation by “officially attacking the principled stand of the former VP on the issue of restructuring whose time has come”
In its response, APCO said: “It is a sign of the desperation of the All Progressives Congress that the party can officially attack His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, and call him a “latter-day convert” to the idea of restructuring and accuse him of exploiting “populist political campaigns”.
APC in its stand on the issue said in a statement yesterday through its acting National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, that the party agrees with the position of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in “his well-articulated response to Alh. Atiku, submitted that what Nigeria requires now is not geographic restructuring but good governance, honest management of public resources, deeper fiscal federalism and a clear vision for development.”
“It must be said that the calls for restructuring by many politicians is often time a populist and opportunistic ploy to latch on and politically exploit simplistic public narratives on the panacea to Nigeria’s problems and not necessarily for its realism and practicability.
“For instance, Alhaji Atiku was Vice President and Chairman of the National Economic Council throughout the eight years of the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration. How did he use his office to correct the imbalance in our federation he expresses today? Senator David Mark was Senate President for eight years and never sponsored a motion on restructuring. Today he is promising to restructure the country.
“We must be wary of latter-day converts to the matter of restructuring, exploiting the issue for populist political campaigns, he said concluded, “ we are confident that true federalism or restructuring as some will like to call it will be better achieved under the President Buhari-led APC administration.”
But APCO in it response said it was glad that the APC, which has repeatedly denied and avoided its own promise to restructure, has now acknowledged that restructuring is populist.
“It takes guts to make such an admission and we commend them.
“For the avoidance of doubt, here are the facts about the restructuring debate and Atiku Abubakar’s involvement with it.
“In 1984, then Major General Muhammadu Buhari reduced the amount of derivation funds paid to oil producing states to a paltry 1.5 per cent by military fiat and left the offshore oil revenues to the federal government.
During the 1994-95 Constitutional Conference, Patriots led by the late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and Atiku Abubakar, who felt that the 1984 action by Muhammadu Buhari was unjust, worked with a pan- Nigerian group of members of the conference and came up with a unique solution to the onshore/offshore dichotomy…
“We will like to educate the APC on the fact that it was precisely Atiku Abubakar who used the network he built at the 1994-95 conference to persuade Niger Delta Governors like Obong Victor Attah and Dr Peter Odili, (who were his colleagues at the 1994-95 constitutional conference) to reach a political solution to solve a problem caused by the constitution.
If the APC would care to Google Resource Control, they would find articles from various Nigerian papers dating back to July 13, 2001, in which Waziri Atiku Abubakar has been championing restructuring.
“We recommend the article ‘Nigeria: 6-1 Onshore-Offshore Jurisdiction Verdict’ written by Jide Ajani, then the Political Editor of Vanguard Newspapers and published on July 13, 2001 (https://allafrica.com/stories/200107130417.html).
“The aforementioned facts show that Atiku Abubakar is no latter-day convert to restructuring neither is it a brainwave. It is a carefully thought out position that the Waziri took on principle in 1995 and has stuck to it through thick and thin.
“But Nigerians may want to ask the APC why it denied its own promise to restructure Nigeria. The case of the APC is like the case of a farmer who chances on thieves on his farm. If he does not raise the alarm, the thieves can accuse the farmer of being a thief. The APC wants to falsely raise the alarm so that Nigerians will not know who the genuine advocate of restructuring is between them and Atiku Abubakar.”