President Muhammadu Buhari has endorsed the report on restructuring presented to him by the Governor Nasir el-Rufai-led All Progressives Congress, APC, committee.
Former governor of Ogun State, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, disclosed this to State House correspondents after meeting behind closed doors with the president at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday.
Osoba, who is a chieftain of APC, appealed to Nigerians, especially statesmen and other activists agitating for restructuring of the country, to be patient with the president and APC.
He said steps would be taken to get the National Assembly to start work on legalising the relevant aspects of the report.
Osoba, who is also a veteran journalist and former Managing Director of Daily Times, said he was at the State House to present his book, “Battlelines: Adventures in Journalism and Politics,” to Buhari who featured prominently in it.
He said the ruling APC even had restructuring as devolution of powers from the Federal Government to states enshrined in its manifesto. Osoba said: “I am part of the Presidency because the President is our President.
I can tell you, all this noise about restructuring, we in APC put devolution of power, true federalism in our manifesto and we have moved far from there to where a committee was set up, headed by the governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai.
“That committee has submitted its report, that report has been presented to us in the caucus and the president was there. The president endorsed the outcome. I want Nigerians to please, give us time. I hope and pray that at the right time, the government or the party would send that report to National Assembly for debate.
“I will say with all authority that restructuring lies with National Assembly. The president is not a military president, he cannot change anything by decree. Sovereignty in Nigeria now is vested in the National Assembly.
“Those agitating for Sovereign National Conference, SNC, must go through the National Assembly and unless the National Assembly surrenders part of its powers by an Act, there can never be sovereign national conference.”
On his relationship with Buhari On his relationship with Buhari, the APC chieftain said: “The President and I have been close since the civil war days, he was a young officer, a lieutenant in the 1st Division, that started the civil war from Nsukka end and as fortune would have it, I followed the President to when he was a governor in the North eastern region and became the oil minister
. “From there on, he appointed me on June 12, 1984, as the Managing Director of Daily Times. It was the crowning peak of my professional life that prepared me for governance.”
He noted that a portion of his latest book featured President Buhari riding on a train from the North to Ifo, Ogun State, to spend his holiday when he was in Form One (secondary school) in 1946.
Osoba further briefed Buhari on the current situation in Ogun State, saying “I took the time to brief him on the efforts that the governor is making to ensure peace in the state. I have told him that Governor Dapo Abiodun is starting on a very good note.
“The President said he had given instruction that the Central Bank should give Ogun State maximum support in agriculture. On politics, I briefed him and told him that never again that incident (stoning of presidential entourage) that occurred in Ogun State would ever happen and he thanked me.”
Your language on those calling for restructuring shabby,
Clark tells Osoba Meanwhile, elder statesman and former Federal Commissioner for Information and South South leader, Chief Edwin Clark, yesterday, said the language used by Osoba to describe those calling for restructuring of the country was shabby in nature.
In a statement he personally signed, Clark, who congratulated Osoba on his 80th birthday, said the question of restructuring remained the most patriotic discourse any lover of the country must key into. The statement, entitled “Segun Osoba at 80; and the question of restructuring,” read: “I wish to congratulate Chief Segun Osoba, former governor of Ogun State, on his 80th birthday, and book launch. I have always admired his courage and determination in his chosen profession – journalism, and later, politics.
“I knew Chief Osoba when he was a journalist, through late Babatunde Jose, who was my very good friend. He became Editor of Daily Times; later, in The Sketch and Herald newspapers. And, I believe that the experiences he garnered in the course of his journalism career, no doubt, contributed significantly to his success as governor of his dear state, Ogun, when his services were required by his people.
“I read Chief Osoba’s comments during the launch of his book, entitled: “Battlelines: Adventures in Journalism and Politics,” to mark his 80th birthday, he was reported to have described ‘those shouting restructuring should realise that the power rests with the National Assembly. We have to rearrange our system. The El-Rufai report should be sent to the National Assembly. If anybody thinks Buhari can change anything by decree, it is not possible.
“Unfortunately, it is most uncharitable of Chief Osoba to refer to the agitators of the question of restructuring in such a shabby manner.
‘’Chief Osoba should be reminded that most of the people who have congregated under the Southern and Middle Belt Forum, SMBLF, were members of the 2014 National Conference of which he was a very active member
“ By his level and pedigree, it was not expected of Chief Osoba to now advise President Muhammadu Buhari to send the El-Rufai Report to the National Assembly, reducing this all important subject of restructuring to a mere political-orientated El-Rufai Committee report, which was hurriedly produced on the eve of the 2019 elections, to hoodwink unsuspecting Nigerians.”