From: Chidi Nnadi, Enugu
Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr Osita Okechukwu, has condemned former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s claim that the All Progressives Congress (APC) has betrayed Nigerians by the National Assembly throwing out restructuring and devolution of powers to states.
Okechukwu is a member of the APC.
The VON DG made his view known, at the weekend at his hometown, Eke in Enugu State, said the words by the former vice president were too harsh on their party, urging him and other well-meaning Nigerians to rather join President Muhammadu Buhari in restructuring infrastructure deficit in the country.
He also recalled that the former ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), did not restructure the infrastructure deficit during the 16 years it held sway, saying that the APC which has only been in power for two years, should be given more time.
Atiku had questioned the ruling APC for voting against restructuring at the National Assembly contrary to the party’s manifesto.
But Okechukwu pleaded with Nigerians to think out of the box, pointing out that the voting was not essentially on party lines, but on the Nigerian fault lines or the national question, which he said was the same voting pattern in the Sani Abacha, Olusugun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan constitutional conferences.
He also appealed to Nigerians to join President Buhari to first restructure the substructure – adequate electricity, modern railways, agrarian revolution ICT education amongst others – which he said is the foundation on which all other social institutions (superstructure) are built.
Asked how he could absolve his party, which controls both the Senate and House of Representatives and which promised Nigerians to not only to restructure but to devolve power to the units, Okechukwu said “nobody was denying the fact that APC promised devolution of powers, but made it clear that Atiku was too harsh by saying that APC betrayed Nigerians.
“Yes, my dear party, the APC promised devolution of powers, even with our subsequent amendments, nobody is denying the fact. I was a member of the manifesto sub-committee of our great party’s merger committee co-headed by Messers Tom Ikimi, Ibrahim Shekarau, Garba Gadi, of defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and factions of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) led by Senator Annie Okonkwo and Olisaemeka Akumukalai of blessed memory.
“But, I am disputing the former Vice President assertion that APC betrayed Nigerians. Betrayal is a harsh word. What I am saying in simplicita is that the Nigerian fault line or national question is deeper than APC’s manifesto line because of the diversity of our dear nation, dislocated and atrophied by deficit critical infrastructure, which President Buhari is borrowing money to address first. This is my thesis. Let’s think out of the box and join Mr. President to first fix Nigeria deficit infrastructure.”
According to him, the PDP gaining mileage because of the failure of the APC in joining the restructuring mantra was his reason for appealing to Nigerians to think out of the box, warning that they should not be sentimental and play into the hands of PDP’s grand propaganda.
According to the VON DG, it amounts to sheer propaganda going by the history of the developed countries we emulate for the PDP and pro-restructuring to claim that with restructuring, the critical infrastructure would be easier as each region would address it according to its need.