President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday came under attack over their separate remarks on the growing calls for the restructuring of the country.
Groups that faulted latest comments credited to Buhari and Osinbajo on the calls include the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the apex Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Yoruba Council of Elders as well as Transparency International (TI).
Buhari had during an interactive session with Nigerians living in France on Monday taken a swipe at advocates of restructuring, claiming that those calling for restructuring had been doing so without defining what restructuring entailed.
Buhari said, “There are too many people talking lazily about restructuring in Nigeria. Unfortunately, people are not asking them individually what do they mean by restructuring? What form do they want restructuring to take?
“Do they want us to have something like the three regions we used to have? And now we have 36 states and the FCT. What form do they want? They are just talking loosely about restructuring.
“Let them define it and then we see how we can peacefully do it in the interest of Nigerians. They are just saying they want Nigeria restructured and they don’t have the clue of what the form the restructuring should be.
“So, anybody who talks to you about restructuring in Nigeria, ask him what he means and the form he wants it to take.”
On his part, Osinbajo had , while delivering a lecture to mark the 40th anniversary of a Lagos social club, Association of Friends, in Lagos, claimed that the idea of geographical restructuring which is the common notion about restructuring was not achievable.
Afenifere’s spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, while speaking to journalists said the statements credited to Buhari and Osinbajo meant they were either slow at learning or they were just being mischievous.
“It is strange that these people have been here all these years and they are saying those who are talking about restructuring did not define it or that they are talking loosely. It is either these people are slow at learning or they cannot understand issues around them.
“We have made the issues very clear on what the call for restructuring is about. We have said Nigeria was a federal state at independence but the military came and distorted it and that we should go back to federalism; that we cannot have a country like Nigeria and maintain one single police and we will say we have security; that there should be state police.
“We have spelt out all we meant by restructuring over the years. So for the President and Vice-President to say they do not understand what we are talking about is either they are slow at learning or they are being mischievous,” Odumakin said.
In the same vein, the spokesman for Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Uche Achi-Okpaga expressed surprise that while Buhari and other APC stalwarts were talking about restructuring ahead of the 2015 presidential election, the President became ignorant and bereft of the tenets of restructuring shortly after his inauguration.
His words: “During the electoral campaigns of 2015, restructuring was glued to the lips of the President and other APC stalwarts and foot soldiers. However, no sooner was he sworn in than he became completely ignorant and bereft of the tenets of restructuring.
“In the heat of the impasse, the APC, as a party set up a committee on restructuring headed by Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna State. The committee ticked good on restructuring and sent its report to the presidency.
“Instead of dealing with the document, the President sent the report to the dustbin as it never saw the light of the day and turned around to state that those clamouring for restructuring, including his party that so recommended are parochial.”
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