restructuring of Nigeria
Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai

Says opposition elements don’t represent North
Urges CSOs to mount pressure on Govt.
Advocates for State Police, State Judicial Autonomy

By Emmanuel Elebeke

The Kaduna State Governor and Chairman, APC restructuring committee, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai has revealed that the draft bill produced and submitted by his committee in January 2018 was stepped down for fear of politicization ahead of 2019 general elections.

But he was quick to add that some interested members of the ruling party were making frantic efforts to get the draft bill presented to the National Assembly for consideration before the end of the tenure of the present administration.

The Governor spoke while fielding questions at a panel discussion of the ongoing 26th Nigerian Economic Summit (NESG) holding at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

He explained that the Committee made bold recommendations at the time and made a draft bill available for onward transmission to the National Assembly, which every lawmaker could take up and sponsor as a private bill.

According to him, we do not need Executive Bill to start action on the draft bill submitted by the Committee.

He insisted that it is position of the Party and the President to see the draft bill passed into law but assured that consideration of the bill would soon take-off.

For him, the consideration could be done in piece meal as we do not require an omnibus amendment of the constitution to restructure the country.

This is even as the Governor took a swipe at fellow northerners who are opposed to restructuring, saying that they are doing so for selfish purpose.

He pointed out that there is a difference between the position of northern elders forum against restructuring and northerners as a region.

The governor argued that there are over a 100 million northerners whose interest are at stake and maintained that whatever advantages an individual is getting for himself does not apply directly to the entire north.

“We have the highest number of out-of-school children. We have the highest poverty rate. We have the lowest JAMB cut-off rate. So, what are the advantages in the north in the current situation? As the governor of Kaduna State, I have had to look at these issues and try to see how I can get the people of my state up on the ladder. I think you need to differentiate the knowledge from a few and the voice of the silent majority” he said.

El-Rufai, however, regretted that certain people present restructuring in a derogatory way in a manner that portrays all the northerners as backward people.

“The way some people present restructuring is so insulting and derogatory. We should have an honest conversation on what is working and what is not. We don’t have anything to benefit making derogatory remarks on against a particular group of people because of restructuring.

“If there are northern leaders today by virtual of the fact that I am a governor, I must be there. So, who are these northerners against restructuring? Who are they? Who are they speaking for? So, let us have a very honest, unemotional conversation without looking down on people or insulting them or framing them” he noted.

On insecurity in the southern Kaduna, the governor posited that the violence in northern Kaduna is more devastating than the insecurity in southern Kaduna as perceived by the public.

He, however, declined to speak in details about the real causes of the violence, promising that he would make himself available only if a separate session would be arranged to discuss the issue.

“Though, the violence in southern Kaduna has been over-reported, the insecurity in northern Kaduna—- Birnin Gwari, is more than the ones in southern Kaduna. But the newspapers based in Lagos and Abuja choose to focus on southern Kaduna rather than what is really happening” he said, adding that the crisis is over 200 years old and cannot be tackled in a minute,’’ he added.

On population, El-Rufai argued that population can only be controlled through the education of the girl-child.

According to him, countries that controlled birthrate through legislation are now reversing it.

“There is a lot of debate on that because countries that have tried to curtail demographic growth like China have now reversed themselves. Singapore even pays you to have children. The current thinking in the developing economics is that population growth is not bad if you can ensure that population growth rate is faster and the population is educated and healthy.

“But at the state level we are all trying our best to reduce fertility level. And what is the best way? The best way is to educate girls. If you make sure that your girls are educated you immediately reduce fertility level. The way is to ensure that the girls get at least senior secondary school level because now they take their fate in their own hands. They start at least from the age of 18” he submitted.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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