The Former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has urged the APC-led Federal Government to take immediate steps to implement the Governor Nasir El-Rufai Committee report on true federalism in order to save the nation.
Odigie-Oyegun explained that it was in response to agitations for restructuring that the party campaigned, won the 2015 and 2019 general elections as well as set up the El-Rufai Committee. He noted that it would only be fair for the party to yield to the calls by Nigerians for things to be done differently.
He spoke at the public presentation of a book, ‘APC’s Litmus Tests,’ written by the Director-General of the Progressives Governors Forum, Dr. Salihu Lukman, in Abuja, on Saturday, June 12, 2021.
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The former APC chairman noted that at the time the committee was set up, separatist agitations were minimal, but that the delay in addressing pertinent issue contained in the report has raised the stakes over time.
He said, “We now have one or two things that did not happen before, people now wanting to disengage from the federation, which did not happen before and that is a warning sign. If a child asks for Garri today you don’t give him, tomorrow he may decide it’s cake he wants and we must not, as his political party and the government of the federation, give the impression that only military governments can fundamentally tamper with the basic structure of this nation.
“We are in charge today, a progressive government, a progressive regime and I think it is proper that we show to the nation that when the people want some degree of change we should be responsive to it, we should address it.
“Compromises have to be made, there’s no question about that. The report itself is not final. It still has to go through the litmus test of compromises. The ideas of people from different parts of the country will be different up to the extent they want to go with the proposals in the document, but it is necessary.
“It is vital and mandatory, in the interest of the survival of our nation, that these issues be addressed. We cannot continue to allow the subject to become something that threatens our nation at any turn. So, the earlier we address it, the earlier we show that as a party we are responsive to the feelings of the people, the desires of the people and the wants of the people.”
Earlier, the PGF Chairman and Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Bagudu, urged the National Assembly to expedite action on portions of the report sent to it in the form of bills to be included in the ongoing amendment to the constitution.