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Restructuring: APC chieftain calls for urgent implementation of El-Rufai report

...warns of impending hunger as insecurity impedes farming activities

A chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Lukman, has called for the urgent implementation of the report of the Nasir El-Rufai Committee on True Federalism to tackle the multifaceted challenges facing Nigeria.

Lukman said if APC was able to move recommendations contained in the report of the El-Rufai Committee to the level of implementation, the current levels of misplaced anger against the party and the Federal Government in the country would have been moderated.

The El-Rufai Committee’s report, which was submitted since January 2018 but has not been acted upon, made key recommendations concerning resource control, making local government an affair of states, a constitutional amendment to allow merger of states, state police, the state court of appeal and independent candidacy.

“We articulated only 13 issues from the various opinions expressed by Nigerians in our engagement, identified these 24 issues for which the committee deliberated and has made recommendations in the report,” Kaduna State Governor El-Rufai had said while presenting the report.

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Just at the weekend, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) expressed disappointment that almost six years after riding to power on the promise of restructuring, the Muhammadu Buhari Presidency and APC have not made any concrete effort towards forwarding an executive bill to the National Assembly on restructuring.

Accordingly, Lukman, who is also the director-general of Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF), in a statement on Monday noted that the current challenges present a golden opportunity for APC to be able to initiate processes of implementing the recommendations contained in the report of the APC Committee on True Federalism.

“What may be required in the circumstances is for the APC Caretaker Committee led by His Excellency Mai Mala Buni to initiate internal processes of consultations both within the party and across the executive and legislative arms of government,” Lukman said.

“Given that there already exists APC tripartite consultative committee, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, with both the party chairman, HE Mai Mala Buni, Senate President, HE Ahmed Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and PGF chairman, HE Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Gida Mustapha and Chief of Staff to President, Prof. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari serving as members, the initiative to commence processes of implementation can be started,” he said.

Lukman appealed to APC leaders and the party to rise to the occasion of this challenge facing the country beyond the current public anger.

“Our leaders should be reminded about the words of Malcom Gladwell in the book, David and Goliath, to the effect that ‘much of what we consider valuable in our world arises out of …lopsided conflicts because the act of facing overwhelming odds produces greatness and beauty. And second, that we consistently get these kinds of conflicts wrong. We misread them. We misinterpret them. Giants are not what we think they are.

“While it is tempting to continue to interpret our current disagreements based on our deep momentary anger and hatred for one another, it may be the true catalyst for our attainment of greatness. That can only happen if our leaders are able to insulate themselves from being among the drivers of public anger and hate based on which they are able to painstakingly lead the country in a new direction of unity and national co-existence,” he stated.

Lukman also observed that hunger is about to set in as most law-abiding citizens cannot go to farms due to all the threats of kidnappings and the associated consequences, including possible loss of lives.

“The current challenge around the criminal conducts of kidnappers and bandits who, based on all the accounts, hide under the guise of Fulani herdsmen, affect every Nigerian irrespective of ethnic and religious grouping, including those of us who are Hausa-Fulanis.

“Those who have farms are being affected by activities of these criminal elements too, notwithstanding our Hausa-Fulani lineages. Nevertheless, those of us whose farms are located in the northern part of the country and not in the southern part are also faced with the painful reality of these criminal elements.

“If anything, the report of activities of bandits in the North West and North Central confirms that the problem of taking over forests by bandits also affect the North in the same way, if not worse, which should make all of us equally interested in pushing our government to tackle the problem. The reality is that, if care is not taken, farming activities have already been disrupted in the North on accounts of criminal conducts of these bandits and kidnappers,” he said.

The PGF boss cautioned against the ethnoreligious colourations of conversations around national challenges such as the ongoing divisive discussions on the directive by the Ondo State government to herdsmen to vacate forests in the state.

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