Pan Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, yesterday tongue-lashed Vice President Yemi Osinbajo over his comment in the United States that what Nigerians need is not restructuring, but good governance.
Afenifere stated that they are disappointed in the vice president over his position on restructuring.
Also, the mainstream Yoruba organisation faulted the position of President Muhammadu Buhari at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) conference that the rule of law should be subsumed under the national security.
Besides, the group said the inability of President Buhari to sign the amended Electoral Act contravened the ECOWAS’ protocol, which stated that no member state would amend its electoral law six months to elections except agreed to by all stakeholders.
Osinbajo, at a town hall meeting in the United States at the weekend, had said: “The problem of our country is not the matter of restructuring and we must not allow ourselves to be drawn into the argument that our problems are drawn from geographical restructuring; it is about managing resources properly and providing for people properly.”
But spokesperson forAfenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, told New Telegraph that Osinbajo’s position has passed the level of disappointment.
His words: “Initially, we were disappointed in the vice president over his position on restructuring. We can no longer be disappointed in him. We have passed the stage of being disappointed in Osinbajo. He cannot shock us anymore.
“This is not the first time he is speaking against restructuring. So, we are getting use to him in terms of throwing punches against what we stand for. So, it is now his badge.
“We were disappointed when he started all this, but he cannot disappoint us anymore.”
In a communiqué read at the monthly meeting of Afenifere held at the residence of its leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, in Akure, the Ondo State capital, the group said it was one of the manifestoes of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that it would restructure the polity if elected into office.
After about five hours’ deliberation, Odumakin, stated that Afenifere faulted Osinbajo’s claim.
Odumakin said: “The statement of the VP should be viewed against the background that in 2014, APC as a party, inserted restructuring into its manifestos and, in 2017 when the argument about restructuring became so loud, they set up the El-Rufai’s committee to go and provide their own idea of restructuring and, up till now, they have not told us their new definition, only for them to be telling us that restructuring is not our problem.”
According to him, “that shows clearly that restructuring, for APC, is an issue to play to the gallery with; they don’t believe in it; they are not committed to it. And for the vice president to say the problem of Nigeria is managing resources, we want to ask them how much of it they have done in the last three years? How much of providing for the people have they done? How much of managing resources have they done with the monumental corruption? Transparent International has said corruption has worsened under this administration.”
Apart from the question of lack of coordination and incompetence in this government, Afenifere said: “It is clear that there are structural issues that are making it difficult to deliver to the people. And in any case, the issue confronting us today is not all about good governance. “We have bad governance and bad structures and this is why we are experiencing bad governance within bad structures, but even if we have good governance, there are issues in our polity that good governance alone cannot resolve.
“There is no amount of good governance that can alter the derivation formula and address resource control. There are issues of restructuring that are outside the scope of good governance, which is an essential ingredient of restructuring.
“Therefore, the clear issue for this country without which we are going nowhere, is the need for us to restructure Nigeria back to a proper federation.”
Afenifere said restructuring must play a central role in the choice of leaders in the 2019 polls. “As we approaching 2019, Nigerians must know that except we address this issue, Nigeria is going nowhere and we should be wary of political parties or politicians that are clearly committed to restructuring and anybody we support on the basis of restructuring must be clearly committed to it, with a clear programme on it and timeline within which the country will be restructured.
“This remains the only condition for any political party to earn the support of Nigerians.
“Nigerians should not allow anybody to deceive them again by playing on their emotions and, after the elections, they will give another definition to restructuring. We have had enough of political fraudsters,” he said.
On the rule of law and national interest, Afenifere said the president’s statement showed that the country was drifting towards full blown dictatorship as the nation experienced with Gen. Buhari when he took over government in 1983.
Odumakin said: “Afenifere say and must be clear to everybody that this present government has done everything possible in the last three years to show clearly that it observes the rule of law in a breach and we have had disobedience of court orders, detention of citizens without trials, arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial killings, invasion of National Assembly by thugs and till date no action has been taken.”
On the 2019 general elections, Afenifere stated there are impediments being placed on the part of potential voters in collecting their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) or registering as voters. He said potential voters go to the INEC registration centres several times without being able to either collect their voters’ cards or being able to register.