PDP, Afenifere blast Buhari on restructuring, dialogue

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, has said restructuring is in the best interest of Nigeria and its citizens.

They argued that since calls for restructuring and national dialogue had gained traction, the Federal Government ought to act speedily on them.

The PDP and Afenifere were referring to the dismissal of the calls by President Muhammadu Buhari during the launch of the Kudirat Abiola Sabon Gari Peace Foundation in Zaria, Kaduna State at the weekend.

Buhari, represented at the event by the Executive Secretary, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Alhaji Mohammed Shehu, had described the advocates of restructuring and secession as “not only naive but mischievously dangerous.”

The President also told those calling for a national dialogue that his government had no time for any “obscure conference.”

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He added that that amounted to seeking the balkanisation of the country.

But the PDP, in a statement on Sunday by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, said Buhari missed the point in dismissing the calls with a wave of the hand.

Stating that restructuring and national dialogue had become imperative and more compelling for the corporate existence and continued survival of Nigeria, the main opposition party, cautioned the President against pushing the nation towards the precipice.

It described Buhari’s remarks as arrogant, dictatorial, and inflammatory.

The statement reads in part: “It is appalling, and to say the least, despicable, that Mr. President and his party (All Progressives Congress), that came to power in 2015 on the promise of restructuring, have not only reneged, in utter duplicity towards Nigerians, but also turned around, six years after, to label restructuring as warfare and Nigerians demanding for it as mischievously dangerous.

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“President Buhari should be tutored to know that even the quest for an efficient local government system as well as an effective judiciary, which he alluded to as a focus, can only be achieved through a constitutional restructuring that directly confers and vests the required powers and control in them.

“Only recently, President Buhari confessed how he asked some state governors who came to him on issues of security to go back to their respective states and face the challenge.

“The amendment or alteration of the constitution to permit state police as widely demanded by Nigerians is, therefore, a form of restructuring that will adjust our policing system without creating a war”.

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Afenifere, on its part, said it was stunned that in spite of Governors and former Nigerian leaders lending their weights to the calls for restructuring, Buhari was thinking otherwise.

Afenifere, through its Secretary-General, Sola Ebiseni, said: “We are at a critical stage where children, particularly in states with the highest population of children out of school in the world can no longer go to school at all for fear of being kidnapped for ransom.

“State governments are demanding the powers to establish state police to deal with insecurity and prominent traditional rulers, especially Emirs have called on their people to rise in their own defence and some uninformed government officials are threatening us with war if we seek restructuring or self-determination. It is so nauseating.

“In any event, restructuring of the political architecture of the country in the interest of the people, their security and general wellbeing is not going to be at the pleasure of the President or the whims and caprices of his uncouth officials.”

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