.Says Buhari, loyalists don’t believe in restructuring
By Rotimi Ojomoyela
The immediate past Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State, High Chief Olajide Awe, has identified weak institutions as being responsible for the various socio-economic and political woes bedevilling Nigeria.
Awe urged the APC-led Federal Government to use the power at its disposal and listen to the cries of various sections of the country for restructuring to strengthen the nation’s democracy.
Speaking while appearing as a guest on a personality interview programme, THE CONVERSATION, on New Cruse 92.7 FM, Ikere on Saturday, Awe also called for return to regionalism to reduce powers and patronage at the centre.
According to him, regionalism will make the Presidency less attractive and reduce the tension that accompany the struggle for power at the centre which distracts elected officials who are yet to reach the midterm of their mandate.
He expressed dismay that restructuring has not seen the light of the day under the Buhari Administration because the core loyalists surrounding the President don’t believe in it.
Awe, who became the state party boss in 2006 during the days of Action Congress (AC) and later Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) before the party fusee with two other legacy parties to form APC, said weak institutions was responsible for the country producing “unprepared Presidents.”
He said there is discontent in the polity on anti-corruption crusade, security challenges, cries of marginalisation by some sections and other thorny fiscal issues urging the ruling APC to be up and doing on restructuring to calm the frayed nerves.
The APC stalwart who is also a Member of the Board of Directors of Nigerite Plc, a subsidiary of Odua Investment Ltd, called for the implementation of the report of the APC Committee on Restructuring led by Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai.
He also expressed regrets that the report of the National Constitutional Conference and previous similar bodies set up in the past to rejig the polity had been abandoned despite huge resources spent to organise them.
Awe who advocated for unity in the APC urged the interest groups promoting the ambition of some perceived presidential aspirants to work for the overall interests of the party and make it stronger ahead of the future elections.
The former Ekiti APC boss said now is the time to concentrate on building the party rather than causing division to make it a stronger election winning platform.
The Baba Atiba of Erijiyan Ekiti-born said politicians across party divides are being carried away by the race for the 2023 presidency when office holders are yet to reach the midterm because much powers have been concentrated at the centre.
He said: “People are getting jobs they are not prepared for; the issue of Presidency goes beyond just picking somebody. The problem confronting this country is that we don’t have strong institutions, political parties inclusive.
“It is that institution that will pick who becomes a candidate but we don’t have a political institution that people respects. We must have strong institutions that are backed by law.
“The path to greatness of Nigeria lies in going back to regionalism. I am an advocate of restructuring, let’s go back to the basis and rebuild our country.
“Ab initio, we have gotten it wrong but unfortunately, those at the centre don’t believe in it (restructuring). We should have strong institutions backed up by law and we need strong institutions to back up the Presidency.
“Much importance has been attached to the Presidency. We have been revolving, let us dismantle this evil; make the Presidency less attractive and let’s lay a foundation.
“But I doubt if the present National Assembly can do it. Anybody can be President but that person must have a strong base (region).
“The presidential system has a lot of loads on its neck. We can go on with presidential system but we can still operate regionalism.
“What will solve the problems of Nigeria is let us restructure to ensure stability for the country. President Buhari and those surrounding him don’t believe in restructuring.”
Awe who disclosed that the Ekiti APC Reconciliation Committee chaired by himself had submitted its report to the Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
While commending Fayemi for his genuine interests in ensuring resolution of disagreements among party members, Awe said recent appointments made by the Governor was to accommodate various interests and give more members a sense of belonging.
He urged party members to bury their differences and forge a common front to strengthen the Ekiti APC and complement the efforts of Fayemi, whom he described as a “listening governor” to reposition the party ahead of future elections.