It is unfair to ask President Muhammadu Buhari to implement the report of the conference convoked by a former President, Goodluck Jonathan, Northern senators said yesterday in Katsina.
The senators said President Buhari was neither privy to the conference’s underlying philosophy nor primary objectives, and therefore, was not obliged to implement it.
The Chairman of the Northern Senators Forum (NSF), Abdullahi Adamu, said this at the opening of a two-day retreat of the forum in Katsina.
He said even President Jonathan who convened the conference did not believe in it, thereby sealing its fate up till the end of his tenure.
Senator Adamu said those challenging President Buhari to implement it as the surest way out of the restructuring debates were not aware of what the report entailed, noting that, “The report is a fallacy borne out of ignorance and there is nothing radical about it.”
He said though the report had treated restructuring extensively, “It actually fell back on the status quo. It is mealy-mouthed about fiscal federalism.
“At the conference, the clamour for state police was deafening, yet what did the conference say about it? It merely recommended what it called second tier policing in the country with the modalities for implementation worked out between the centre and the constituent units of the federation.
“We must also interrogate the legitimacy of the conference itself. Was it convened in accordance with the extant laws of the land? Was it intended to usurp the constitutional functions of the National Assembly?” he asked.
He said the silence of northern senators on the ongoing restructuring debates in the country should not be taken for granted as senators from other regions were finding the silence disturbing.
“The time has come for the senators to make their views known as their silence should not be seen as a sign of weakness on issues. It is as if we are sleeping on duty,” he added.
Senator Adamu said the senators from the North must speak up with one voice so that the people they represent will feel being carried along, noting that aside making laws, senators were leaders and the followership looked up to them for guidance.
Adamu said the key areas of the retreat were the 2018 budget, insecurity and restructuring issues, saying, “We shall look at them critically from the northern perspective.”
The meeting had in attendance 58 senators led by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, three Governors: of Katsina, Kebbi and Zamfara; the Sultan of Sokoto, Saad Abubakar, and Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Alhaji Ibrahim Coomassie, among others.