Malam El-Rufai stated this in Ibadan while speaking as a Keynote Speaker at the Bisi Akande Colloquium to mark the 80th birthday celebration of Chief Bisi Akande held at the Emeritus Professor Theophilus Oladapo Ogunlesi hall.
El-Rufai explained that most of those speaking against restructuring from the Northern part of the country represent no one as most of them have never held elective office.
He added that many wrongly equate the decimation of federalism, not to the military mindset of unitary command-and-control, but to the so-called “northern oligarchy”.
”I want to state here and now, that not only is the North ready, willing and able to embrace inclusive restructuring of our polity, but to add that those that speak loudly against it represent no one.
“Most of them have never held elective office, and therefore do not appreciate that the North with its natural endowments stands to be the biggest beneficiary of restructuring,” he observed.
He added, “The coincidence of the mindset of most of the military leaders being of Northern origin must not be confused with that of the ordinary Northerner.”
Governor el-Rufai maintained that there was the need for the Federal Government to devolve more powers to the states, and the states to the local governments.
The governor said, “Many of the challenges that confront our country are best resolved at the sub-national level. Without any doubt, the Federal Government needs to devolve more powers to the states, and the states to the local governments.
“Many of the challenges that confront our country are best resolved at the sub-national level. How well our children are educated in the first nine years of schooling is down to the states and local governments.
“Improving health outcomes for our people, easing and widening access to primary health care, providing routine immunisation to protect children against vaccine-preventable diseases, guaranteeing ante-natal care and safe delivery for pregnant women are all public services that are within the powers of states and local governments.”
Governor El-Rufai explained that the provision of extension services to farmers, construction of feeder roads and aggregation centres for farm produce, are all state and local level functions, that the Federal Government can never do very well.