Nigeria: How Obasanjo-Atiku government punished Lagos over agitation for restructuring-Osinbajo
By Dennis Atolagbe
Ibadan, October 28, 2018 (AltAfrica)-Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Saturday berated Peoples Democratic Party, PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, a former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo describing them as hypocrites who should never be trusted over their call for restructuring in Nigeria
He described the two and other politicians making restructuring their campaign stronghold as emergency convert who were doing so only for the purpose of winning votes.
Speaking with correspondents at the ninth public lecture to commemorate the 68th anniversary of Sigma club at the University of Ibadan, the Vice President reminded journalists how Obasanjo-Atiku government punished millions of Lagosians and their families by refusing to release statutory monthly allocation due to local government in Lagos “simply because we called for restructuring of the country”
He said “People talking about restructuring, if you ask them what do you mean by restructuring, they won’t even know what it means, and that is the problem we have and which we have to face.
“Let me tell you what it is. When I was the Attorney General in Lagos State, we pursued in the Supreme Court, all the issues of restructuring. We started with fiscal restructuring, which is more of resource control. Should states control their own resources? We went to the Supreme Court. They argued that each state should control its own resources.
“So, our own argument was that each state should control its own resources. We lost at the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court said no, that we cannot control our resources. If you are an oil producing state, take 13 per cent extra, which is a derivation.
“The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, who is talking about restructuring today, was the Vice President then. They opposed every step that we took. Of course, we were taking the Federal Government to court then. They opposed every step.
“The next thing we did was that the states should be able to create their own local governments, which is autonomy of states. So, we created 47 new local governments in Lagos. The president then, Olusegun Obasanjo, seized our local government funds and said we could not create new local governments. So, they seized the funds they were supposed to allocate for our local governments.
“We challenged the seizure by going to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court held that the president had no right to seize the funds meant for local governments and that we have a right to create local governments.
“After we have created the local governments, the process was not complete. we must still take the list of new local governments to the National Assembly and the National Assembly will then amend the whole list of the local governments in the country.
“We could not get the National Assembly’s endorsement. So, we passed the LCDA Law. We created 47 local council development areas.
“If you ask those people now talking about restructuring, none of them has done anything compared to what we have done. So, I am not a latter-day convert to restructuring. I am an active practitioner of restructuring, and I have gone to the Supreme Court 12 times to test restructuring.