Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu, has cautioned Igbos and other Nigerians not to be deceived by the emergence of Atiku Abubakar as the flag-bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and his choice of former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, as his running mate.
Mr Abubakar announced Mr Obi on Friday as his running mate.
Mr Okechukwu, a senatorial who lost on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Monday said “all that glitters is not gold.”
He said the issue of restructuring and quick fix measures being offered by Mr Abubakar “glitters but is not gold,” urging Nigerians to be careful before they jump into a “one chance bus.”
He said it is better to re-elect President Muhammadu Buhari who he said “has silently commenced restructuring of Nigeria through his road, rail, agricultural and power (RRAP) Projects, which will enhance economic prosperity and are anchored on prudent management of public funds.”
Mr Okechukwu advised the Igbo to take Mr Abubakar’s promise to vacate office in 2023 after a tenure of four years with a ‘pinch of salt’, bearing in mind that political promises are hardly kept.
“I have tremendous respect for His Excellency Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s trajectory in politics and for His Excellency, Mr Peter Obi I have similar tremendous respect; however one respectfully must advise Ndigbo and indeed Nigerians that the restructuring and some quick fix offers Atiku has so far made, truly glitters, but not gold.”
On why he is not buying into Mr Abubakar’s restructuring agenda, Mr Okechukwu said, “I personally would want Nigeria to be restructured like most Nigerians, except that pragmatism has to be our watchword.”
“One, we were taught in Political Science class, indeed in elementary government class that there are two types of Constitution, one flexible and one rigid in amendment. The 1999 Constitution to the best of my knowledge is a rigid constitution. Accordingly, can Atiku amend it without the support of over 15 Houses of Assembly which are hesitant if not frowning at restructuring?
“Secondly, how do you convince Ebonyi, Enugu, Lagos, Ogun, Kaduna and host of other states indigenes to buy into regional structure? Please don’t forget that the Wawa (Enugu and Ebonyi) people rejected region in the both 1995 Abacha and 2014 Jonathan Conferences.”
On whether a presidential order can be used, Mr Okechukwu said “there are fundamentals, which no matter how crafty or ingenious a president is he cannot order without the amendment of this rigid constitution.”
According to him, the fastest route to restructuring Nigeria is through the Buhari’s projects, “which will provide safety net for vulnerable groups who feel that they can’t survive without oil.
“The truism is that by the time Buhari completes eight years in office, the 5,000 kilometres of federal roads, 5,000 kilometres of standard gauge rail lines, 5,000 additional megawatts of electricity and self sufficiency in food production must have picked at 80 percent completion.
“Majority will key into restructuring when their prosperity is magnificently enhanced. Today farmers in Kebbi State will not mind restructuring, so Buhari should be allowed to extend his agricultural revolution to other states.”