The All Progressives Congress (APC) notes the statement issued on Sunday by the spokesperson of People Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Dayo Adeyeye claiming that PDP has always supported restructuring. This should ordinarily be a welcome development, given that it provides opportunity for bi-partisan cooperation on this very important national issue.
However, of concern to us is PDP’s rather shallow interpretation of restructuring as desired by Nigerians. In his release, Mr. Adeyeye quoted several aspects of his party’s constitution which he claimed serve as evidence that PDP believes in restructuring. A cursory review of the referenced parts of the constitution would, however, suggest either the PDP is deliberately out to mislead or it just does not have an appropriate understanding of the restructuring that Nigerians clamour for.
For instance, preamble 2(b) of the PDP constitution quoted by Adeyeye states: ‘’To work together under the umbrella of the party for the speedy restoration of democracy, the achievement of national reconciliation, economic and social reconstruction and respect for human rights and the rule of law.’’
If statements such as the above are what he PDP intends to pass off as restructuring, this should further confirm that the party is still not in tune with the aspirations and dreams of the Nigerian people. It is indeed amusing that after being in power for 16 years, PDP is just waking up to realise that its constitution prescribed restructuring. If this is not political opportunism, we wonder what is. We understand that PDP needs desperately to return to reckoning; and realising that restructuring is the new political currency in Nigeria, it is now latching on and even claiming to be an apostle!
As the ruling party between 1999 and 2015, PDP organised two national conferences, in 2005 and in 2014. They had nine years between the first conference and the second one and one full year between the time the report of the 2014 conference was submitted and the time it lost power in 2015. Perhaps, if PDP show which aspects of the two reports it had implemented in the time it had, then perhaps Nigerians might begin to take them seriously on the issue of restructuring.
If the PDP now believes in restructuring, we welcome them as latter day converts. But the appropriate behaviour would be for them to respect the efforts we are currently making to deliver on our party’s manifesto on restructuring. It must interest the PDP that we have dusted up the reports of their national conferences from the shelves they had left them to gather dust and those reports are now forming part of the work we are doing with our committee, which they have tried hard to denigrate.
For the avoidance of doubt, the APC believes in the restructuring of the country. It is at the very heart of our party’s manifesto as explicitly stated in Section 3 (1) thus: ‘’We will devolve more revenue and powers, such as policing to States and Local Government so that decision making is closer to the people. We pledge to bring the government closer to the people through fiscal and political decentralization, including local policing.’’
We welcome PDP and all the parties in opposition to work with us as we strive to meet the aspirations of Nigerians on this very fundamental issue of our national existence.
Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi
National Publicity Secretary
All Progressives Congress (APC)