News reports that the All Progressives Congress, APC does not understand what Nigerians mean by restructuring must have hit many hard.
It was in the bid to understand the meaning of restructuring that the party set up a committee headed by one of the party’s most erudite and eloquent chieftains, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna State to study the term. The decision was taken at a joint meeting of the party’s National Working Committee, NWC, and the party’s governors last Wednesday in Abuja. Ironically, the move came the same day that one of the party’s leading chieftains, Atiku Abubakar, at a public lecture in Nsukka, Enugu State declared that Nigeria would not make progress without restructuring.
So, given the dire prognosis from Atiku, it will not be difficult for many Nigerians to understand why the country is in dire straits. If Atiku says Nigeria cannot make progress without restructuring and his party claims it does not understand the meaning of restructuring, then Nigerians do not need to bother why the party that promised so much during the campaigns is yet to inspire confidence in the electorate. Remarkably, restructuring and the application of true federalism is reflected as a key component in the 2015 manifesto of the APC. In the introduction to that manifesto, the APC in a jab to the former ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP had stated thus: “When this democratic dispensation commenced in 1999, the Federal Government that emerged did not tell Nigerians what its vision was for the country; because the party that formed the government had none. And without a vision, that party at the centre has led Nigeria from one crisis to another, lurching deeper into political anarchy, economic decline, and social disillusionment…Suffice to say that it had thrived on the maxim: Promise nothing, do nothing. So the APC in its philosophy of change promised much, including restructuring. How far the party of change has altered the mindset of Nigerians and the pattern of governance is there for many Nigerians to behold. The cavalier renunciation of the promise of restructuring was shown to Nigerians when President Muhammadu Buhari in a rare media outing said the 2014 National Conference Report transmitted to him from the previous administration was meant for the archives. The way and manner the administration subsequently went about its appointments only helped to deepen the sore that provoked the now boisterous clamour for restructuring. There were other promises that the APC may also need to constitute panels to distil for Nigerians to understand. The promise to promote transparency in government business, the APC presidential campaign promised, would be projected through the inauguration of the board of the Bureau for Public Procurement, BPP, the specialist agency of government that is technically equipped to award contracts. The Buhari Campaign had in its own words promised to “Inaugurate the National Council on Procurement as stipulated in the Procurement Act so that the Federal Executive Council, which has been turned to a weekly session of contract bazaar, will concentrate on its principal function of policy making.” Till today, that board and boards of several government agencies are yet to be inaugurated. Indeed, the fact that it took the meeting of the party’s governors and the NWC for a decision to be taken to define restructuring is also reflective of a disconnect between the party and its own constitution. In seeming disregard of its constitution, the ruling party has failed to hold most statutory meetings. After much dithering procrastination, the party this week finally claimed that the illness of the president was the reason behind the failure to hold meetings. But even before the president embarked on his medical vacation, statutory meetings were a rarity. The party’s explanation is also reflective of the dignity with which the ruling party holds not just its constitution, but that of the country which provides for an acting president in the absence of the substantive president. Indeed, there are many things Nigerians do not understand about a party that promised so much but prevaricates at the point of delivery.