The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday told proponents of the restructuring of the country to approach the court.
The vice president was of the view that those agitating for restructuring should walk their talks by approaching the court to seek legal solution to their agitation.
Osinbajo, who spoke at the 80th birthday celebration of a former governor of Osun state, Chief Bisi Akande, on the theme, ‘Nigeria: Achieving National Unity Through Peaceful Restructuring.’ faulted the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar who had been promising to restructure Nigeria.
At the event were the National Leader of All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; Governors Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo); Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun); Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti); Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo); Gboyega Oyetola (Osun); Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Idiat Adebule; and Senator Biyi Durojaye, among others.
Osinbajo said Atiku and the PDP once opposed restructuring when Tinubu, as the governor of Lagos State, called for it in 1999.
Osinbajo said he was part of the Lagos State’s history between 1999 and 2003 when Tinubu used legal means to achieve creation of more local council development areas in the state.
He said, “The government of Lagos State demonstrated that it is possible to have restructuring and devolution of power by process of litigation. As of 1999 when I first had encounter with the former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, he made it clear to me that one of his objectives for us is to pursue fiscal federalism and devolution of power for our state.
“We spent a lot of time and resources to look into how we could do it. We know that going through the National Assembly is just a waste of time. We then decided to use process of litigation. As a matter of fact, we went to the Supreme Court on 12 different times on what we can describe as restructuring. The Federal Government at that time opposed every move we made.
“Today our dear presidential candidate of the PDP says he is an expert on restructuring, but in those years when we were fighting for restructuring, he opposed every step we took.
“Fortunately for us, we were able to record successes. The achievements are gains of litigation. We can only get it through the court. As a region, if we are talking about restructuring, we should look at it from the point of view of the court.”
Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, who was the keynote speaker, said the recommendations of the APC committee on restructuring were the best for the country.
He said, “APC Committee on true federalism submitted its report last year. The committee recommended that the federation be re-balanced with more powers and responsibilities devolved to the states. The committee also clarified that the federation is a relationship solely between the states and the Federal Government, and that each state should be allowed to operate the system of local government that best suits it.
“Successful restructuring depends also on our national resolve to protect the idea of a common citizenship. The rights guaranteed under the constitution should be enjoyed by every citizen, no matter where they reside, and no matter which part of the country they hail from. A restructuring of mentality and values is a key factor in the success of restructuring of the governance and political structure,” El-Rufai said.
A former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani, who was a discussant at the colloquium, said the APC was not opposed to restructuring.
He explained that the problem the party had was the way the opposition parties presented restructuring.
The Secretary, APC Committee on Restructuring, Senator Olufemi Adetunmbi; and Prof. Adigun Agbaje, who were also discussants aligned with Nnamani’s view on generating innovative strategies that would make restructuring a reality.
Meanwhile, Osinbajo on Wednesday said even the worst critics of President Mohammadu Buhari knew that he was not a thief.
Osinbajo, who spoke at the palace of Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, before proceeding on door-to-door campaign of the APC, said no meaningful development would take place in the society with high level graft.
He said the forthcoming elections should be seen as important by the Yoruba nation and called on the people to support Buhari’s re-election because the President had good plans for the country.
The vice president, who spoke in Yoruba language said, “The forthcoming elections must be seen as important by all Yoruba. It is our election. If they approach you to sell your votes, don’t listen to them.
“Even President Buhari’s worst critics know he is not a thief. They know that he is not corrupt. No nation will develop when corrupt people are in positions of authority.”
Ogunwusi said Osinbajo was representing Yoruba’s interest at the federal level and commended him for providing exemplary leadership.
Osinbajo and his team later visited the Sabo area, before moving to the palace of Ogunsua of Modakeke, Oba Moses Oyediran, where he called on the residents to vote for Buhari.