The political antecedents of the Vice-Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Kashim Shettima, who was unveiled on Sunday in Daura, Kastina State by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, are now hunting him and casting doubts on the “avowed commitment’’ of a Tinubu Presidency to restructure the country.
Shettima had foreclosed restructuring and dubbed it as unrealistic and madness on the part of the agitators especially from the Southsouth and Southwest zones of the country.
Dismissing the clamour for restructuring, he said if jobs are provided and other sectors of the economy, especially the education sector is developed, “this madness” (calls for restructuring) “will stop.”
“To hell with restructuring. This madness can be stopped by good governance.
“People are talking about artificial intelligence, other nations are talking about technology or robotics engineering but unfortunately, the topical issue in Nigeria is restructuring.
“Restructuring my foot! To hell with restructuring. Let us improve on governance, let us work for the people, invest in education, create jobs for our people, this madness will stop,” Shettima had said.
Persecondnews recalls that way back November 2017, Shettima as Borno Governor had said at the public presentation of a book authored by Mr Bolaji Abdullahi, a former Minister of Youths and Sports Development in the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
The launch of the book entitled, “On a Platter of Gold” , was written on how Jonathan became President of Nigeria in 2011 but lost as the first incumbent in the 2015 general elections which held at the Yar’Adua Centre in the Central Business District of Abuja.
The APC had before the 2015 polls had promised restructuring and a committee headed by Kaduna Gov. Nasir el-Rufai was inaugurated by the party in response to such calls from eminent Nigerians and socio-cultural organizations such as the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Pan Niger Delta Forum and Afenifere among others.
The calls were predicated on the need to resolve the various challenges facing the country.
Persecondnews also recalls that on November 25, 2021, the Ijaw National Leader and former Minister of Information, nonagenarian Chief Edwin Clark, had called on President Muhammadu Buhari not to allow Nigeria to break up by convoking a representative assembly or Town Hall meeting to consider el-Rufai report or the 2014 National Conference report on restructuring.
Clark accused Tinubu and others that they are now preoccupied with 2023 elections, saying: “They are more interested in whom is to take over from him in 2023 for which they pretentiously worship him like god just to gain favour.
“The Tinubus who brought restructuring to the manifesto of APC have not spoken because they fear that if they do, they will not be allowed to contest for the Presidency of the country, come 2023.’’
He pointed out that refusal to restructure has given rise to increased agitations by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and Yoruba Nation for self-determination.
According to Clark, the agitation for self determination and secessions will definitely increase, security situation of the country worsened, while the conduct of 2023 general and presidential elections will be threatened, if the country is not restructured.
Clark said: “Mr. President, I beg of you, in the name of Almighty God, I am now very close to 95 years, and on behalf of my fellow elders and our children, act now. We have no other country to call our own, no other country to go to, if Nigeria breaks due to authoritarian attitude of one individual.
‘’Please, retrace your steps, embrace and implement your party’s report, the El-Rufai’s APC Committee Report. Nigerians will accept it.
“The South is calling for restructuring; the North is calling for restructuring. The whole country believes in restructuring. Restructuring is also one of the key priority issues in his party’s manifesto when it was formed, and during the 2015 presidential campaigns, which he has now abandoned, on assumption of office.
Also, former National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, called for a “short-term restructuring’’ before the 2023 polls to address myriads of challenges confronting the nation.
He said:“Both arms of the Federal government (Executive and Legislature) are not serious in making the restructuring a reality as they had been treating restructuring with levity.’’
“The perceptions of exclusion, marginalization and exploitation are so deep-seated that they nurture and deepen divisions, polarisation and illogical if not irrational agitations by extremist groups.
“In the circumstances, conversation, debate and dialogue are, if at all, conducted at cross-purposes, obstructive of accommodation of differing opinions and the pursuit of a rational and logical process of consensus-building and bringing about desirable restructuring of the Nigerian federation.
“Second, in the governance sphere, at both the federal executive and legislative levels, the political will and competence seem lacking for the pursuit of credible and popularly acceptable procedures and processes of bringing about appropriate and desirable restructuring.’’
Joining forces with others, the leader of the Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, had vowed to to lead the Yoruba nation to demand restructuring of the country before 2023.
Adebanjo, in a state of the nation address entitled: ‘Fixing Nigeria before the fall’, said: “I have pondered Chief Awolowo’s words in his 1981 public letter to Alhaji Shagari, and I have found a part to be metaphysically intriguing, even though it has only served to deepen my alarm, such that I believe that I owe it to posterity to place my fears on the record.
“The ship of state is fast approaching a huge rock and, unless you, as the chief helmsman, quickly rise to the occasion and courageously steer the ship away from its present course, it shall hit the rock, and the inescapable consequence will be an unspeakable disaster such as is rare in the annals of man.
“Buhari was to be that disastrous rock a few months after the warning. The problem with the rock this time is that the rock is the helmsman of the ship, and he would appear to be deliberately and intentionally steering the ship to its end.
“The Nigeria cobbled together by Decree 24, of 1999, yes, you get it. Fraudulently known as the 1999 Constitution is built on several lies, and the preservation of these lies, are predicated on several more lies. Buhari, is unilaterally imposing another lie, on top of the original lies, and these lies, are what have assured the death of Nigeria.’’
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, speaking through the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof. George Obiozor, equally demanded a restructuring of the country to create equal opportunities where every federating unit would stand independent without asking for help from the centre.
“Fundamentally, what Ndigbo really want is some form of internal autonomy based on a restructured Nigeria. We (Ndigbo) are of the view that the federation of Nigeria must be a union of equals and the composite units must have the ability to stand without begging the centre for survival.
“That is a federal system of government and with it characteristics of decentralisation and evolution of power among the federating units.
“Therefore, in the context of the imperatives and urgency of restructuring Nigeria, we should focus on getting the right things done for the right reasons, and at the right levels of government.”