The All Progressives Congress Committee on True Federalism will submit its report in October.
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, disclosed this, yesterday, in London, United Kingdom, where he delivered a lecture on restructuring, among others, at Chatham House.
El-Rufai, who chairs the committee, said that the party was trying to provide leadership on the issue.
The governor explained that the “APC set up a committee on true Federalism to help give structure to the debate, remove the bile and bitterness colouring the matter and transform the discourse into a nation-building opportunity”.
Giving insight into the committee’s work, El-Rufai said that the panel focused its research and preparatory work on four broad areas, including devolution of power, review of the revenue allocation formula, citizenship and a review of the recommendations of the 2005 and 2014 national conferences.
Assessing the direction of the discourse on restructuring, El-Rufai observed that “the preponderance of opinion is that the Federal Government needs to shed weight and return powers and resources to the states where most government functions can be more efficiently undertaken”.
He disclosed that the committee had also identified 12 contentious issues in the restructuring debate. These include the creation or merger of states, derivation, fiscal federalism, devolution of power and what should constitute the federating units.
El-Rufai also clarified his personal views on restructuring.
“As I have argued since 2012, there is no doubt that the Nigerian Federation is unbalanced and in dire need of structural re-balancing” and drew attention to his public comments regarding “unsuitability of a centralised police force in a vast country.”
The governor and lamented the federal government’s exclusive control of railways, trunk roads and prisons, amongst others.
“A practical demonstration of this conviction, on these matters, led to the successful quest by the Kaduna State Government to get two federal roads re-designated as state roads,” he said.
El-Rufai also added that just as he believed in devolution of powers from the federal government to the states, he was convinced that state governments should also devolve powers to the local governments.
He added that he believed “most Nigerians appreciate and cherish our unity in diversity, but seek the enthronement of a fairer, meritocratic system that puts social justice above everything else.”
The governor also said the committee’s work could encourage consensus on reducing items on the Exclusive List, introducing state constitutions, state police, state appeal and supreme courts, review tax powers and transfer control of mineral rights to the states.