ABUJA — In a curious twist to its earlier stance on the 2014 National Conference, which it boycotted and the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to jettison the report, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, said, yesterday, it was currently working with the confab report and that of 2009 to articulate its position on restructuring.
This was even as national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, described yesterday’s presidential broadcast as “outstanding,” saying President Buhari covered major areas, including restructuring of the federation.
The party in a statement signed by its spokesman, Bolaji Abdullahi, accused the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, of having a “shallow interpretation” of the concept of restructuring.
APC said: “As the ruling party between 1999 and 2015, PDP organised two national conferences in 2005 and in 2014. They had nine years between the first conference and the second one and one full year between the time the report of the 2014 conference was submitted and the time it lost power in 2015.
“Perhaps, if PDP showed which aspects of the two reports it had implemented in the time it had, then perhaps Nigerians might begin to take them seriously on the issue of restructuring.
“If the PDP now believes in restructuring, we welcome them as latter day converts. But the appropriate behaviour would be for them to respect the efforts we are currently making to deliver on our party’s manifesto on restructuring.
‘’It must interest the PDP that we have dusted up the reports of their national conferences from the shelves they had left them to gather dust and those reports are now forming part of the work we are doing with our committee, which they have tried hard to denigrate.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the APC believes in the restructuring of the country. However, of concern to us is PDP’s rather shallow interpretation of restructuring as desired by Nigerians.
Buhari’s speech outstanding —Oyegun
Speaking with journalists, yesterday, in Abuja, Odigie-Oyegun said the President prioritised what he wanted to talk about and that in due time, he would address other areas.
Oyegun said: “The speech was absolutely outstanding. You see, he is the President of this nation. He has been away for quite a bit of time. Agents of destabilisation have been very much at work because they thought his absence created a gap and a weakness within the polity, which they tried to exploit.
‘’So Mr President in his wisdom, discerned that the stability, unity, peace and security of this nation and the ordinary Nigerian are the key issues at this material time. He addressed them and went straight to the core of the issues.
‘’He left nobody in any doubt that any Nigerian is entitled as a matter of right to live, work and operate in any part of this country. He made it clear and left no one in any doubt that yes, while people can discuss issues and the relationship in the nation, the National Assembly is there to handle such issues.”
‘’But he drew one red line that the only thing that is not on the table is that this nation can be divided. He made it clear that the unity of the nation is not up for negotiation of any type.
“Mr President picked on the core issue that was creating a lot of disquiet in the nation today and he made his views crisp and clear. Any leader must be able to set priorities. He set a very clear and unambiguous priority. The others he will deal with in the course of time.”
On the issue of restructuring, Odigie-Oyegun said: “He (Buhari) said quite clearly that you can discuss. The only issue that is out of bounds is the unity of this nation. That is the situation is today.
‘’The institutions of state that can legitimately deal with any changes in the relativity within the nation is the National Assembly and the National Council of State. It is the National Assembly that makes laws. So the situation is so clear and unambiguous. He did not say you cannot discuss but the only issue that was not on the table is the unity of the nation.’’