Atiku, Mark insincere on restructuring, says APC

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The All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday cautioned Nigerians to be wary of insincere proponents of restructuring.

The party’s submission followed a recent well-publicised argument between Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

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Osinbajo and the presidential aspirant had engaged in a tug of war on what the concept of restructuring actually means.

Supporting the vice president’s position yesterday, the APC said: “We must never succumb to ethnic champions who promote campaigns to break up the country into tiny bits or other unrealistic and unpatriotic proposals in the name of restructuring to solve our problems as a country. It is simplistic and unconstitutional.”

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According to the ruling party, “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 (another presidential aspirant) was Senate President for eight years and never sponsored a motion on restructuring. Today, he is promising to restructure the country.”

The APC, therefore, warned that such calls by a section of the country’s elite are populist and mere ploys to politically exploit public narratives on the panacea to the country’s problems. The citizenry must be wary of latter-day converts to the matter of restructuring in a bid to score political goals, it said.

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A statement by the party’s spokesman, Yekini Nabena, reads in part: “The APC believes that good, sincere, focused, and purposeful leadership, at all levels, will propel the country to its deserved heights. Sincere efforts towards achieving true federalism are more important than politically exploited populist rhetoric, which achieves nothing.

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“With emphasis on practicability, constitutionality and reality, 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.

“As Vice President Yemi Osinbajo submitted, good governance involves transparency and prudence in public finance. It involves social justice, investing in the poor and providing jobs and opportunities for the people, particularly young people. This remains the focus of the current administration, as seen by the several social intervention programmes currently being implemented. Commendably, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is committed to implementing a new national minimum wage.

“Also, the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) scheme, comprising GEEP MarketMoni; GEEP FarmerMoni and GEEP TraderMoni is being executed by the Bank of Industry and is providing interest-free loans to petty traders and artisans across Nigeria.”

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The statement added: “With the inception of the President Buhari administration, a well-articulated roadmap, considering all the issues involved in ensuring a new, well secured, better governed Nigeria with equitable distribution of resources within the component federating units, is being given serious attention.”

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But seemingly unimpressed, the Presidential Aspirants Coming Together Group (PACT) insisted there was no going back on its resolve to unseat the Buhari government.

The group, in a statement by one of its aspirants, Mathias Baba Tsado, disclosed it had perfected plans to align with other opposition parties to achieve the goal.

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“It is often believed that the route to success is filled with various challenges and only those who have the ability to pack, unpack and repack make it to the top. PACT, as a group, might have hit a brick wall but our resolve to rescue Nigeria remains undoubted,” the statement adds.

Also, worried that the 2019 general elections could be plagued by irregularities, the Nigerian Christian Graduate Fellowship (NCGF) has “expressed grave concern over the spate of violence, threat to life and property, desperation to grab power by all means, vote buying, rigging and other malpractices that characterise elections in the country and pose a threat to democracy.”

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At its 43rd national conference in Owerri, the group, made up of Christian professionals, “called on all politicians to guard their utterances and actions,” even as it “identified tribalism, religious bigotry, disunity and distrust” as clogs in the wheels of national growth and development.

In a statement jointly signed by the national president, Prof. Charles Adisa and the general secretary, Onyemaechi Nwaegeruo, the group urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure preparedness and transparency on the polls.

In a related development, the Forum of Southern and Middle Belt leaders has begun talks with persons seeking the country’s number one position.

“Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar became the first person to meet with us in that regard. We want to hear from them all and know their capacity to lead us,” said the president of Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, John Nwodo.

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