The Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, and his Kaduna State counterpart, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, met on Monday over the controversial issue of restructuring of the country.
The Bayelsa State helmsman said he was in Kaduna to support the recommendations of the All Progressives Congress’ Committee on True Federalism, that Nigeria should be restructured.
Restructuring, he argued, “will never portend danger to the country but will rather enhance the nation’s progress and unity.”
The governor, while speaking with journalists at the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House, Kaduna, the state capital, commended el-Rufai’s effort on the far-reaching recommendations of his party’s true federalism committee report on restructuring.
He urged Nigerians to support restructuring for a fairer and more stable and sustainable Nigeria, noting that restructuring must be embraced across party lines to enhance fundamental constitutional reforms.
This, he said, was because “nation-building is a work in progress.”
Dickson said, “Few minutes ago, I commended Governor el-Rufai’s courage and commitment to the new Nigerian project. By restructuring, we are talking about fundamental constitutional reforms; restructuring of our country to bring about a fairer and more stable and sustainable Nigeria and all of these within the context of a united and indivisible Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“There is nothing human that is perfect. Nation-building is a work in progress and it is actually not something that will be finished by one leader, one party or one government, or even by one generation.
“It is from one generation to another generation. Our leaders, our founding fathers gave us this country but we cannot claim that the present structure of this country is perfect.
“No nation is perfect, nation-building therefore is continual work in progress and that is great work and contributions of Governor el-Rufai’s committee even though it’s a committee of a political party; its recommendations are far-reaching and a number of us across party lines believe that we need to advance the conversations.”
Dickson, however, noted that the support of the North was indispensable towards the achievement of a truly federal and restructured Nigeria.
He called on political leaders in the South and the North to pull down the barriers of mistrust, misunderstanding and even miscommunication against the unity of the country.
After the closed-door meeting with el-Rufai, Dickson’s Special Adviser, Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, issued a statement where he quoted his principal as emphasizing the need for the country to restructure.
Dickson said, “As you know, you and I have had very productive, fruitful discussions about the future of our country; we agreed that across party lines, leaders of our country need to come together, to reason together, work together for the good of our country.
“And that is why I am here to discuss the issue on restructuring of our country as a united, stable and prosperous nation where all Nigerians can have a sense of belonging, a nation founded on fairness and justice, a nation that can aspire to be one of the greatest on the face of the earth and we have the potential.
“I want to make this very clear that the northern part of Nigeria is not just essential to this new vision, the buy in òf the North is critical, it is indispensable in bringing about this new Nigeria that is anchored on restructuring, true federalism and devolution of powers to the federating units.
“And that is why I have called on political leaders in my region and in other parts of this country to break down the barriers of misunderstanding and mistrust and sometimes miscommunication, and we can only do so when leaders continue to meet as we have done.”
In his remarks, el-Rufai observed that there were some aspects of the Nigerian federalism in need of improvements as was contained in the report of the APC committee on restructuring.
El-Rufai, who was the chairman of the APC Committee on Restructuring, said the ruling party had set up a technical committee on the implementation of the key recommendations of the committee.
The Kaduna State governor said that he was optimistic that the technical committee would soon present its report to the party so that the recommendations could be sent to the Federal Government.
El-Rufai added that despite party affiliation they must work together for a balanced federation.
He said they would lobby other governors and political leaders to advance his committee’s report implementation.
“We must all work together; all hands must be on deck to make our country better.
“For me, the work of the APC committee on true federalism reflected that consensus among our party leaders and the APC National Executive Committee has adopted our report and set up a technical committee on the implementation.
“I hope that the technical committee will soon report to the party so that they will send the recommendations to the government.
“I welcome the support we received from Governor Dickson from day one and he crossed the party line and he refused to take the attitude of the opposition.
“We will continue to lobby our colleagues at the governors’ forum and lobby other political leaders to advance the work so that we can have a fair and balanced federation that will be fair to everyone.”