Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that he has been fighting for the restructuring of Nigeria for many years.
According to him, some of those presently clamouring for restructuring had opposed it years ago.
The vice president made the comment on Saturday, October 28, 2018 during the ninth public lecture of Sigma Club at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan. He said that:
“Let me explain my position clearly. I am not just an advocate of restructuring, there is no other government in Nigeria that has actively pursued restructuring such as we did when I was attorney general in Lagos state.
“People talking about restructuring, if you ask them what they meant by restructuring? They won’t even know what it means and that is the problem we have to face”.
Osinbajo went down memory lane to highlight how he pursued issues of restructuring to the supreme court. He said:
“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.
“The states that argued in favour of autonomy for states to control their resources were the oil producing states in the country and Lagos State, while some others argued on the other side because they want to share oil money.
“We lost at the supreme court. The supreme court said no, that you cannot control your resources. If you are an oil producing state, take 13 percent extra, which is derivation”.
The vice president said Lagos further argued that it had ports that served the entire nation, so the state should also take 13 percent derivation which the supreme court objected.
Osinbajo said that further argument led to the introduction of onshore and offshore law, which enabled the state to share from onshore resources.
“All this time, this was 2000, some of those people, including the presidential candidate of PDP, who is talking about restructuring, was the vice president then.
“They opposed every step 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 37 new local governments in Lagos. The president then, Chief Obasanjo, seized our local government funds and said we could not create new local governments.
“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”.