Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has on Wednesday warned Nigerians to “be vigilant and not allow the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to stage a come back” in this years general elections.
Osinbajo gave this advice while speaking at the Bisi Akande Colloquium with the theme: “Nigeria: Achieving National Unity Through Peaceful Restructuring”, which took place at the Emeritus Professor Theophilus Oladipo Ogunlesi Multipurpose Hall of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.
At the event were: APC’s National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who was the Special Guest of Honour; Kaduna state Governor and Chairman of APC Committee on Restructuring, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai who served as Keynote Speaker and Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo state who was the Host.
Others were: Former Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani; Secretary of the APC Committee on Restructuring, Senator Olu Adetunmbi; Professor Adigun Agbaje of the Political Science Department of the University of Ibadan and Dr. Usman Bugaje.
Also at the event were: Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun; Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun; Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo; Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti; and Deputy Governor of Lagos state, Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule, Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed; Minister for Health, Professor Isaac Adewole; former governor of Ekiti state, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo; former governor of Ogun state; Chief Olusegun Osoba and former governor of Osun state, Engr. Rauf Aregbesola.
The colloquium was organised as part of activities marking the 80th birthday of Chief Bisi Akande, former governor of Osun state and interim National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Osinbajo, who was the Chairman of the day, noted that the colloquium organised to mark the 70th birthday of Chief Akande 10 year ago was an occasion “to reflect on the electoral fraud perpetrated by the PDP in the 2007 general elections”.
He added that he has noted that “PDP has not changed its spots”, urging Nigerians to “resist the attempt by the political party to come back to power”.
Osinbajo maintained that “focus should be on what the restructuring should look like, and not just agitations for restructuring”.
El- Rufai while speaking said, “Restructuring should be about the reform and improvement of our national efficiency”.
He added that it was in the realization of this that the ruling APC in August 2017 set up a committee on true federalism to clearly articulate a roadmap for political and constitutional reform.
El – Rufai said, “To help to give substance and structure to the debate on restructuring, and, perhaps, transform the erstwhile divisive discourse on federalism and restructuring into a nation -building event.
“Therefore, I am delighted to share my thoughts on Restructuring on a day and at an event in honour of a man for whom it represents a matter of principle. I hope that we can all agree that Restructuring is an important matter, despite the tendency of certain sections of our elite to trivialise it with their opportunism.
“With all sense of responsibility, I believe some Nigerians have made a career and livelihood around “restructuring” without deep thought, or a clear plan or implementation strategy. For them, it is a tool to alienate rather than convert our compatriots to the nation-building imperative that restructuring offers.
“Rather than the hard graft of solving our governance problems, this group would rather grab headlines and mouth sound-bites at opportunities like this. You can almost sense that this people actually dread restructuring becoming public policy, having succeeded in living off a serious national imperative for so long. We must be mindful of this class of people”.
Ajimobi in his welcome address declared that the path to nationhood rests on creating opportunities for the citizenry to thrive, to realize their potential in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.
He maintained that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government has unleashed the great potential of this country, adding that “we can still do more”.
He said, “We can create a country that will work for us and ensure continued progress as experienced in the last three and a half years.
I want to place it on record that the path to a continuing prosperity for this great nation to achieve true nationhood lies in forging an acceptable Constitution that will recognize the strength in each of its constituent blocs.”