The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has given an insight into how the party intends to restructure Nigeria.
The ruling party had in Thursday, July 20, 2017 constituted a committee to examine the agitations from different quarters on restructuring.
Headed by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state, the committee was saddled with the responsibility of providing a working document on restructuring for the APC.
Governor El-Rufai who had referred to those calling for restructuring as ‘political opportunists’ presented the committee's report to APC on Thursday, January 25, 2018.
Copies of the documents obtained by shows the committee's recommendations in ten major areas.
1. Devolution of powers
The committee recommended the transfer of some items from the exclusive list to the concurrent and residual. The committee recommended that foods, drugs, poisons, narcotics, and psychotropic substances, labour, oil mining, geological surveys, police, prisons, public holidays, railways and stamp duties be moved to the concurrent list.
2. Fiscal federalism and revenue allocation
The committee proposed an upward review of the current revenue sharing formula in favour of states. It also proposed that Allocation of Revenue (Federation Account Act etc) to give more revenue to the states and reduce the federal government’s share.
3. Merger of states
The APC committee recommended that the constitution should provide for legal and administrative framework for the states that might in future wish to consider the option of merger provided it does not threaten the authority and existence of the Federation.
4. Independent Candidacy
Although the committee recommended independent candidacy, it proposed that anyone who wishes to contest as an independent candidate should not have been a member of a political party for at least six months.
Also, his or her nominators must not be members of any registered political party and such candidate must also pay a non-refundable fee to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) like those contesting on the platform of political parties.
5. Local government autonomy
The APC committee recommended that local government be removed from the federal constitution and states be allowed to develop local administrative system that is relevant and peculiar to each state.
6. Resource control
The committee proposed that states exercise control over natural resources within their respective territories and pay taxes to the federal government.
The committee proposed that deliberate efforts be made to eliminate all the pervading primordial sentiments on citizenship and indigeneship to ensure that ethnic affiliations begin to give way to birth and residency.
8. Ministerial appointments
The committee recommended that Section 147 (3) of the Constitution be amended to remove the requirement on the President to appoint ministers from every state of the federation who must be an indigene of a state.
The committee recommended an amendment of the constitution to provide referendum to be conducted on “burning” national or state issues “before decisions are taken”.
10. Form of government
On this, the constitution threw its weight behind the current presidential system of government but called for a review of the cost of governance and improvement in the fight against corruption.
The proposed amendments needs to be passed by the National Assembly and assented to by the president before it becomes a law.
Nigeria practising a bastardised federalism - Oyegun
Speaking at the public presentation of the APC committee report on true federalism in Abuja, the party's chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun said Nigeria was running a “bastardised” federal system of government.
“There is no doubt at all that where we were and where we are today is basically a bastardized kind of federal structure, more like a unitary system,” Oyeun declared on Wednesday, January 31, 2018.
“When the issue of restructuring cropped into the public domain last year, the main reason being one more issue with which to trash the Buhari administration. At that point, it was clear that this nation was facing a major issue that needed to be straightened out and we need to find a new reality.
“For President Buhari, the reality was the economic wellbeing of this nation based in the strength of our people and what we can produce and based on the productivity of Nigerians themselves. Right now, work on that very foundation is virtually complete and this nation is now set on the part of gradual growth,”he added.
Some speakers at the event called for the "sincere and fast" implementation of the APC report on restructuring.