The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has explained his stance on restructuring Nigeria’s federal system.
Mr. El-Rufai, in a statement by his spokesperson, Samuel Aruwan, said his stance on restructuring has been consistent even before he emerged governor.
Making reference to an interview he granted on Channels Television, the Kaduna governor also explained his opposition to the implementation of the report of the 2014 National Conference, adding that the Muhammadu Buhari administration was already gradually restructuring the federation.
Read Mr. Aruwan’s full statement below.
While appearing on Sunrise Daily on Thursday, 29 June 2017, Malam Nasir El-Rufai clearly explained his position on restructuring. This is consistent with the views on restructuring that he has articulated in the past, including in newspaper interviews (for instance in ThisDay, August 2010) and articles like “Federation without Federalism” syndicated in print and online media in 2012.
As he developed his arguments on the matter, he stressed how the balance between federal and state power is being redressed in favour of sub-national entities by the Buhari administration. While more ought to be done to ensure that more powers and responsibilities are devolved to the states, El-Rufai pointed out that in areas like mining in collaboration with state governments, transfer of federal roads to states, coordinated land reforms and unprecedented participation of the state governments in the National Economic Council, there is already clear evidence of such recognition in practical terms beyond rhetoric by the APC federal government.
He cited at various times during the Sunrise Daily interview, the re-designation of two federal roads in Kaduna as state roads, at the request of the Kaduna State Government. He also mentioned instances the closer engagement between state and federal authorities on mining matters, a relationship that acknowledges state rights on the matter. On these matters, it is clear that the Buhari government has done more in practice to devolve powers to states than the latter-day converts who did not follow a similar direction when they had the power to do so.
Going further, Malam Nasir El-Rufai said that states also need to devolve responsibilities to the local government councils on matters like primary education and healthcare, as soon as it is clear that their structures are capable of taking charge of such functions.
El-Rufai spoke out against the posturing on restructuring, as well as the clear absence of substance or content to the repetitive declamations on restructuring by some politicians, careerists and former office holders. These same persons attempted a wholesale distortion of comments made on the same programme by Chief John Oyegun, national chairman of the APC, inferring differences that do not exist.
It is on record that in 2014, Malam El-Rufai opposed the national confab arranged by the Jonathan government. The APC as a national party also opposed it. To say that the APC will not have anything to do with the report of a conference it opposed is only logical. Attempts to push that confab report as some sort of standard manual on restructuring will not work. Rather let everyone state what restructuring means in clear detail, and let us advance towards codifying devolution in our constitution, laws and restore federalism in our country by redefining the balance of powers between the centre and the states.
Those who orchestrated the Jonathan confab and participated in it despite its composition not fairly representing or reflecting the demographics and diversities of this country may feel entitled to uphold its recommendations. But they cannot insist that others must accept it as scripture.
What Malam El-Rufai said on Channels Sunrise, citing practical instances of how federal-state relations are being redefined, is consistent with the national manifesto of the APC which commits the party to restructuring: “To achieve this laudable programme, APC government shall restructure the country, devolve power to the units, with the best practices of federalism and eliminate unintended paralysis of the center.”
That is a succinct expression of the direction in which restructuring can be achieved through federalism to better serve the interests of the peoples of this country. Many of those shouting about restructuring today never held these views when they should, and the other careerists are simply living off a concept which is desirable but which needs to be articulated into actionable detail to be beneficial. Let us all commit to supporting what the APC has committed to, and has actually started, without the posturing and hot air!