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Between El Rufai’s Lies and the “Restructuralists”’ Realism – By Jude Ndukwe

In an interview granted Channels Television recently, El Rufai in his usual manner sounded rash, brash, saucy, arrogant, insolent and illogical while answering questions on the groundswell of agitations for a restructured Nigeria that has gained currency in our polity recently.

He went on to arrogate to himself possession of the alpha-knowledge of the true meaning of restructuring while talking down on all others calling for the country to be restructured in a bid to correct most of the flaws of the current arrangement that have stifled development and caused stunted growth.

He also described agitations for restructuring as political opportunism and irresponsibility, saying those agitating for it are doing so because it has become a popular thing to do and they hope to exploit it to achieve their presidential ambitions.

This, as it is usual with the governor of Kaduna State, is far from the truth and absolutely untenable. A man who former president Olusegun Obasanjo described as a malicious liar, a pathological purveyor of half truths and with little or no integrity.

Years after, El Rufai’s continued peddling of falsehood has assumed even more diabolical dimension.

On October 1, 2015, the Emperor of Kaduna posted on his Twitter handle that the administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan spent a humongous sum of N64bn for Nigeria’s independence celebrations between 2011 and 2014 while official figures show that only the austere sum of N332.6m was spent between 2012 and 2014, an amount nowhere near even half a billion naira not to talk of 64.

Also most recently, El Rufai had also accused the Jonathan administration of mismanaging the Ecological Fund, saying Jonathan favoured only PDP states in the disbursement of the Fund. However, a factual analysis of the disbursement showed that El Rufai lied again.

One begins to wonder why El Rufai would not stop peddling falsehood just to score cheap political points. This is the same man who admitted to paying killers of our fellow citizens in cold blood instead of arresting and prosecuting them!

It is therefore not surprising to hear claims that those who are supporting the call for restructuring are using it to ride to their presidential ambition when we all know that the call for restructuring has always been a burning issue in the country even long before El Rufai’s APC was formed, and even longer before he dreamt of ever being a governor. The only difference now is that the loud and unrelenting secessionist agitation of IPOB, MASSOB and such other bodies including calls for restructuring by foremost socio-cultural organizations from the south and middle belt areas of the country, helped by Buhari’s abysmal performance as president have given bite to the call.

The fact is that among the largest sections of the country calling for restructuring, only a very few and negligible number of them are even politicians not to talk of having presidential ambitions. From religious leaders to students, activists, journalists, socio-cultural organizations, professionals, etc, almost every Nigerian talks, understands and want restructuring as the best option for a more just and more equitable society where everyone/region would achieve their greatest potentials without being inhibited by the frameworks of the current system.

If El Rufai’s false assertion were to be considered, we can confidently remind him that John Nnia Nwodo has no presidential ambition, Yinka Odumakin has no presidential ambition, Annkio Briggs has no presidential ambition, Onyeka Onwenu has no presidential ambition, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida has no presidential ambition, Ohanaeze, Afenifere, PANDEF, Middle Belt Forum etc, all have no presidential ambitions, yet, they cry restructuring. Even the APC Governors Forum of which El Rufai is a member has also supported the restructuring campaign.

Restructuring is an agenda whose time has come. Nigeria can never last for too long if we do not restructure. It is either we restructure or Nigeria perishes. We can no longer continue to pretend as if everything is alright when indeed the current system has been retrogressive, lopsided, unjust and unfair to the largest sections of the country.

It is the looming danger that attends attempts to rebuff the shrill and urgent cries for restructuring that make men like Femi Fani-Kayode and others in the mould of those mentioned above to drum the need to heed the people’s cry in the ears of the authorities. Rather than denigrate such people, the nation owes them immense gratitude for standing up to be counted when the need arose. Such cries are the cries of battle to save our nation and people rather than be led by the folly of sycophancy and parochialism towards a collective perdition.

The desperate attempt by enemies of progress like El Rufai to reduce the 2014 national conference to mere politics and child’s play shows that the few forces still fighting desperately to hold on to the status quo will not let go easily since they seem to benefit immensely from it at the expense of the people.

In doing this, El Rufai had said “We all know the circumstances in which the so-called CONFAB was put together, we all know the composition, how lopsided it was how important stakeholders were not taken into account, how even the composition and numbers do not reflect the demographics and diversity of this country and we took a position as a party not to participate but to encourage our state governors to be there at the table”.

This is nothing but part of the tissue of lies manufactured by a repressive and regressive bunch parading themselves as progressives and who wish to keep lording it over the nation despite the growing outcry for restructuring.

How come El Rufai said the composition of the 2014 CONFAB was lopsided when in the same statement he admitted that his party decided on their own not to participate in it? The fact is that the conference was peopled by Nigerians from all walks of life and its resolutions were painstakingly reached to the large satisfaction of a majority of Nigerians despite the diversities inherent in the composition of the CONFAB delegates.

Another fact is, no matter how desperate figures like El Rufai try to peddle falsehood and half-truths to attack the urgent need for restructuring in this country, the “restructuralists” will have their way in the end because a system that thrives temporarily on deceit, injustice and oppression owing to its structure of government, politics and resource management would soon fail, unavoidably!

It is either we restructure now or we end up in pieces. Those calling for restructuring are patriots. They are the ones who love Nigeria, and not those with political power that would do everything to guard their hold to insatiable lust for power at the detriment of the people and the nation.

That is the reality!

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