It was a gale of embarrassments on Monday in Benin, as Edo State failed to make a presentation at the All Progressive Congress (APC) Committee on Restructuring it hosted. .
The meeting almost ran into a hitch, as Bayelsa State and other stakeholders also failed to show up at the meeting.
Only stakeholders from Delta State were represented by two ethnic groups, Ika and Ndokwa, who made presentation and submit memoranda on their people’s view on restructuring.
The Committee was to meet with stakeholders from Edo, Delta and Bayelsa States.
Chairman of the APC Restructuring Committee for the Zone, Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, who did not find it situation palatable, informed the gathering that information about the meeting was advertised in the media.
“It was advertised in the newspapers. You can still put your thoughts together and submit to us,” Amosun said.
Responding, the host Governor, Godwin Obaseki, pleaded for an extension of date for Edo State stakeholders to submit position papers.
He said, “It is clear that many of our people did not see the publicity. We are going to articulate our positions during our Ward meetings.
“We will have our position in a simplified manner that will reflect collective views form each local government,” he said.
Chief Anthony Uti, who presented the position of Ndokwa people of Delta State, called for modified presidential system of government.
He noted that the present presidential system being practised does not suit the Nigerian people.
Chief Uti said his people canvassed for part time legislature, since both the upper and lower House of the National Assembly perform the same function.
He also called for resource control, whereby federating units contribute to the federal government through payment of taxes and VAT.
On his part, the Onu Ika (Mouthpiece of Ika Ethnic Nationality), Chief Omon Francis, who presented their papers, said the country should revert to the 1963 Constitution and Regional Government.
He stated that seven regions should be created to ensure equality, noting that it was wrong to use population and landmass without productivity for the sharing of allocations.
Chief Francis, who said that landmass and population do not talk about productivity, recommended local government autonomy as well as constitutional functions for traditional rulers.
Chief Francis however kicked against independent candidacy during elections, saying that Nigeria has not produced men and women with ideology as it was during the days of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikiwe.
He also canvassed for a six-year single tenure for elected officials, adding that land titles should be returned to ethnic groups from whom the British collected the land.
Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola who was also present, expressed disappointment at the non-representation of youths and women at the event.
He said the APC is emphatic at reviving federal character which he said could not be done whimsically.
According to him, “I never saw some critical groups of social segment in this hall. The women and youths must have presentation. These are critical sectors apart from ethnic nationalities.
“The only way on reviving federal character is to engage the people. It is to show we are committed to the Nigerians. We are consulting with Nigerians on their views in the building of Nigeria.”
Governor Amosun assured participants at the event that the Committee would wait till Wednesday for those who presented papers to submit their memoranda.
Amosun noted that the meeting was to gather views of Nigerians, because the party promised restructuring during its campaigns.
He said the meeting is to get the views and not just sit in Abuja to decide on restructuring.