Mur­ray-Bruce Ber­ates Yakas­sai over Stance on Re­struc­tur­ing


Ejio­for Alike

Sen­a­tor Ben Mur­ray-Bruce has con­demned a north­ern el­der, Al­haji Tanko Yakas­sai’s re­cent crit­i­cism of for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent, Atiku Abubakar, over his stance on re­struc­tur­ing and de­scribed it as un­for­tu­nate.

He lam­pooned Yakas­sai for his fail­ure to com­pre­hend the vi­sion­ary ideas and de­tails that Atiku in­tro­duced into the re­struc­tur­ing de­bate at his re­cent speech at the Univer­sity of Nige­ria, Nsukka.

Mur­ray-Bruce quoted Yakas­sai as say­ing: “I thought as a politi­cian that he (Atiku) is, that he has read our con­sti­tu­tion from A to Z be­fore sug­gest­ing that we can re­struc­ture in six months. My ques­tion here is, what are the de­tails of the bud­getary pro­vi­sions for the Min­istry of Works that should be trans­ferred to the states’ min­istries of ed­u­ca­tion and so on and so forth be­fore he made his pro­nounce­ment that th­ese could be done within six months?...We al­ready have a bud­get ap­proved by the Na­tional Assem­bly as em­pow­ered by the con­sti­tu­tion for ap­pro­pri­a­tion.”

The sen­a­tor, who rep­re­sents Bayelsa East, how­ever, faulted Yakas­sai’s ar­gu­ment, say­ing as a mem­ber of the Na­tional Assem­bly that par­tic­i­pated fully in the bud­get process, the north­ern leader was wrong to tie re­struc­tur­ing to just one bud­get cy­cle.

Ac­cord­ing to him, “Atiku’s ideas on re­struc­tur­ing spec­i­fies how he would do away with quota sys­tems by in­creas­ing Nige­ria’s ed­u­ca­tional ca­pac­ity through the re­turn of seized schools back to the mis­sion­ary and hand­ing over fed­eral univer­si­ties back to the states while more re­sources will be de­volved from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to the states and lo­cal gov­ern­ment ar­eas to en­able them build more pri­mary and sec­ondary schools.”

Mur­ray-Bruce ar­gued that a bud­get is not needed to trans­fer schools from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to the state gov­ern­ment but a mere Ex­ec­u­tive Or­der.

“Why would any­one be against such a plan that would not re­quire a con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment and will al­most im­me­di­ately take care of the over 12 mil­lion chil­dren out of the for­mal ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem in north­ern Nige­ria? This num­ber is twice the pop­u­la­tion of Togo, our next door neigh­bour. Is Yakas­sai, as a north­ern el­der, sat­is­fied with this sit­u­a­tion? Shouldn’t he rather applaud Atiku for want­ing to fix this prob­lem? And even in those ar­eas that re­quire con­sti­tu­tional amend­ments, Atiku is right to say that Nige­ria can re­struc­ture within six months.”

“Let me ask Yakas­sai how long it took the Na­tional Assem­bly to come up with the Doc­trine of Ne­ces­sity in 2010? It only took a day. When a na­tion has the po­lit­i­cal will to re­struc­ture, she can achieve it in one day or at least be­gin the process,” he added.

The sen­a­tor urged north­ern el­ders like Yakas­sai to cel­e­brate Atiku who has shown that true fed­er­al­ism can work, stress­ing that Abubakar em­ploys more peo­ple in Adamawa State than the Adamawa State Gov­ern­ment, which is an in­di­ca­tion that a state gov­ern­ment does not need oil to sur­vive.

“Fi­nally, let me add that at that event at the Univer­sity of Nige­ria, Atiku pre­dicted that the au­to­mo­bile in­dus­try will be mov­ing away from diesel and petrol pow­ered cars in favour of elec­tric and alternative en­ergy pow­ered cars. This, he stated, was one of the rea­sons why Nige­ria must re­struc­ture now or risk be­ing by­passed by the global econ­omy. Of course he was crit­i­cised and painted as cry­ing wolf by the likes of Yakas­sai, yet only eight days after he gave this warn­ing, Atiku was vin­di­cated by the news from the United King­dom which was re­ported in THISDAY front page on Thurs­day, July 27, 2017, with the head­line: ‘Doom for Nige­ria, Bri­tain Moves to Ban Petrol, Diesel Cars by 2040’,” the sen­a­tor added.

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