…To hold conference in Kaduna Wednesday
From: Ismail Omipidan
Former Special Adviser on Politics to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and convener of Arewa Research and Development Project, Dr. Usman Bugaje, has said that the North would soon take a stand on restructuring based on research and consensus rather than on emotion and selfish interest.
Bugaje, in a statement issued, on Sunday, further noted that it was time for the North, as a bloc, to rise above the seeming confusion occasioned by the contentious nature the debate over restructuring had assumed in recent times, and present a “more rational position,” on the issue.
Accordinjg to Bugaje, “In the last one year, or so, ‘Restructuring’ and ‘True Federalism’ have dominated political discourse in Nigeria. Unfortunately, when you listen to the speeches and read the articles on these issues, you will find out that there are as many comprehensions of these terms as there are people speaking or writing. Besides, most of the discussions seem to ignore the history of the evolution of our federalism and this failure has actually helped to rob the whole exercise of its propriety, accuracy and clarity.”
He further said though citizens were at liberty to canvass for restructuring, their use of vague terms and imprecise arguments had not only resulted in communication breakdown, but have helped to spread confusion and generate unnecessary tension in the polity.
To this end, Bugaje said the Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP), would hold a two-day conference in Kaduna, this Wednesday, to help bring clarity, accuracy and coherence into the debate as well as provide a sound basis upon which the north would anchor its position on restructuring.
He said the planning committee of the conference drew heavily from Northern academic institutions and Northern organizations like the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Sir Ahmadu Bello Foundation, Code Group, Northern Delegates Forum, Northern Re-awakening, JamiyyarMatanArewa and Arewa Initiative for Good Governance, among others.
“This conference seeks to blend academic presentations with real politik,” he said, adding that “while academics and experts will lead with papers, a panel of practitioners will discuss the issues extensively. The audience will also be given a chance to raise issues and make their inputs into the discussions.
“Some of the key papers will be on the historicity of the Nigerian federation; an examination of the constitutional developments in pre- and post-colonial Nigeria; and the dangers of war, the dynamics of peace. Others will look at the principles of fiscal federalism and revenue allocation; the land question and the development agenda of the North. In the afternoon of both two days a panel of experts will focus on these presentations and bring the practical dimensions to the fore while the audience gets a chance to make their inputs,” Bugaje said.