A former governor of Ogun State, Olusegun Osoba, alleged yesterday that some powerful persons frustrated the detailed report by the All Progressives Congress (APC) on restructuring of the country.
Osoba expressed shock that the report by the Governor Nasir el-Rufai-led committee on restructuring was yet to be implemented despite its adoption by all organs of the party.
The APC stalwart who disclosed this while speaking as a guest on ARISE News also joined the call by some APC leaders for the Southern region to produce President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor in 2023.
He said the idea of power rotation was part of the gentlemanly understanding that was reached during the merger that formed the APC.
While stressing that founding members of the APC refused to put zoning in the party’s constitution because it is contrary to the Nigerian constitution, Osoba stressed that the understanding when the party was being formed in 2013 was that the Northern region would produce the president, while the chairman would come from the South.
He noted that the presidency would come to the south in 2023.
Responding to a question on the failure of the party to proceed with restructuring of the country, Osoba said ACN wing of the APC went into the merger with the desire to restructure the country along lines of true federalism, among others.
Osoba who was chairman of the constitution drafting committee during the APC merger in 2013 said many provisions that would serve as checks and balances within the party were laid out.
He said, “We insisted on a true federalism and a restructuring of the country and we insisted that this should be part of the promise that we will make to Nigerians. On the issue of restructuring, it was embedded in the APC manifesto. If you Google the manifesto of APC today you will see the promise that we made to Nigerians.
“So, we fought for it. After we won the election, it took some time before we were able to get to the point of addressing the issue of restructuring. It was Governor John Oyegun as chairman that setup a very powerful committee under the chairmanship of governor of Kaduna State, el-Rufai and the current minster of Internal Affairs who was then governor of Osun State, a very strong advocate of true federalism.
“The committee did a very exhaustive and scientific analysis. They tested opinions in all the zones. And an exhaustive report was written on the restructuring of Nigeria. They accepted state police, resource control, control of local goverment under the states, cancellation of 774 local governments put in the constitution. It was a comprehensive report that was scientific in its approach. And it went before our National Working Committee (NWC) where it was fully debated and agreed to.
“It was brought to us at the national caucus, a group of past administrators, including past presidents, vice president, past speakers past governors and those calibre of people with the president. We debated and adjusted it. The following day it was taken to National Executive Committee (NEC) which is the final body and it was adopted. I must say it has gone through all the organs of the party. What is now left then was to send the report to the National Assembly to debate and ensure a lot of the provisions are agreed to.
“To my shock, I believe some people sat on that report which in actual fact had gone through all the organs of the party which had in attendance the president and governors. I am surprised that some people could sit on a policy already agreed to by all organs of the party. So that is the state in which we are. I have assessed and I don’t want to talk too much on what effort those of us in the South West have been making and still making to ensure we seriously address this issue”.
The former governor, who spoke on the 2023 presidency, said former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, has the right to contest.
He also added that no aspirant from the South East has approached him for the 2023 presidency.
He said, “Bola Tinubu has the right. We did not zero in on any individual. It is Tinubu’s right to put himself forward. We in the South West have to first of all unite. There are too many groups in the south west – the Yoruba Council of Elders, the Afenifere; too many groups.
“We need to come together to speak with one voice, and if we want to get the presidency let all of us fight and make sure the South West becomes a voice to get the thing. I am not going to zero in on any individual now.
“Nobody in the South East has contacted me and I must say I am a reasonable elder in the party. Nobody in the South East has contacted me to lobby to even say we are interested.
“I recall I was very strong in the campaign of MKO Abiola in 1992. We went round the whole of the East. He and I went to see Dr Namdi Azikiwe in his house.”