Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, on Monday, insisted that the All Progressives Congress, APC, was dishonest about the issue of restructuring of Nigeria.
Recall that the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo while speaking at a town hall meeting in Minnesota, the United States of America, recently had said the problem of Nigeria was not geographical restructuring but prudent management of national resources.
But, Abubakar had faulted the stance of Osinbajo, stressing that the Vice President was wrong about his claim on restructuring.
Osinbajo, however, responded to Abubakar’s statement, insisting that restructuring in “whatever shape or form, will not mean much if our political leaders see public resources as an extension of their bank accounts.”
Following the bickering between Osinbajo and Abubakar, APC said that the calls for restructuring by many politicians was often time a populist and opportunistic ploy to latch on and politically exploit simplistic public narratives on the panacea to Nigeria’s problems and not necessarily for its realism and practicability.
However, Abubakar’s spokesperson, Paul Ibe stressed that the stance of APC was an indication of the ruling party’s desperation.
A statement signed by Ibe, titled, “It Is The APC, Not Atiku, That Are Dishonest On The Issue of Restructuring,” reads, “Our attention has been drawn to a statement by the All Progressives Congress attacking the credibility of Atiku Abubakar for his principled stand on the issue of restructuring, an idea whose time has come.
“It is a sign of the desperation of the All Progressives Congress that the party can officially attack His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, and call him a “latter-day convert” to the idea of restructuring and accuse him of exploiting “populist political campaigns”.
“We are glad that the APC, which has repeatedly denied and avoided its own promise to restructure, has now acknowledged that restructuring is populist. It takes guts to make such an admission and we commend them.
“We also urge the APC to go the full haul and admit that the Waziri Adamawa is no latter-day convert to the restructuring idea but has been a consistent advocate of the idea since 1995.
“For the avoidance of doubt, here are the facts about the restructuring debate and Atiku Abubakar’s involvement with it.
“In 1984, then Major General Muhammadu Buhari reduced the amount of derivation funds paid to oil producing states to a paltry 1.5 % by military fiat and left the offshore oil revenues to the federal government.
“During the 1994-95 Constitutional Conference, Patriots led by the late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and Atiku Abubakar, who felt that the 1984 action by Muhammadu Buhari was unjust, worked with a pan Nigerian group of members of the conference and came up with a unique solution to the onshore/offshore dichotomy.
“Their solution provided a formula for the administration of the derivation principle and contained three very significant embodiments.
“That allocation to derivation shall stand at a minimum of 13 per cent.
“That the dichotomy between onshore and offshore exploration shall not be taken into account for the purpose of revenue allocation.
“That the boundaries of littoral states were clearly defined as extending to Nigeria’s exclusive economic zone which at the time stood at two hundred nautical miles.’
“When the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, refused to take this unique solution into consideration (being that it was forced on the nation by the military) the onshore/offshore dichotomy again raised its ugly head and threatened to tank the then-nascent Obasanjo administration and the nation with it.
“We will like to educate the APC on the fact that it was precisely Atiku Abubakar who used the network he built at the 1994-95 conference to persuade Niger Delta Governors like Obong Victor Attah and Dr Peter Odili, (who were his colleagues at the 1994-95 constitutional conference) to reach a political solution to solve a problem caused by the constitution.
“If the APC would care to Google Resource Control, they would find articles from various Nigerian papers dating back to July 13, 2001, in which Waziri Atiku Abubakar has been championing restructuring.
“We recommend the article ‘Nigeria: 6-1 Onshore-Offshore Jurisdiction Verdict’ written by Jide Ajani, then the Political Editor of Vanguard Newspapers and published on July 13, 2001 (https://allafrica.com/stories/200107130417.html).
“The aforementioned facts show that Atiku Abubakar is no latter-day convert to restructuring neither is it a brainwave. It is a carefully thought out position that the Waziri took on principle in 1995 and has stuck to it through thick and thin.
“But Nigerians may want to ask the APC why it denied its own promise to restructure Nigeria. The case of the APC is like the case of a farmer who chances on thieves on his farm. If he does not raise the alarm, the thieves can accuse the farmer of being a thief. The APC wants to falsely raise the alarm so that Nigerians will not know who the genuine advocate of restructuring is between them and Atiku Abubakar.”