Osinbajo: I’ve gone to supreme court 12 times to fight for restructuring

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says he has been fighting for the restructuring of Nigeria for many years.

He said some of those presently clamouring for it had opposed it years ago.

Osinbajo made the comment on Saturday during the ninth public lecture of Sigma Club at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan.

He said: “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.”

The vice-president narrated 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.”

He 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,” he said.

“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.”

The vice-president also said the present administration inherited $63 billion debt in 2015.

He said the Muhammadu Buhari government has borrowed $10bn since taking office.

Osinbajo said: “In 2010 our debt was $35 billion, $41 billion in 2011, $48 billion in 2012, $64 billion in 2013, $67.7 billion in 2014, $63.8 billion in 2015, $57.8 billion in 2016, $70 billion in 2017 and $73 billion in 2018.

“The nation’s debt as at today was $73 bilłion, an increment of $10 billion from the $63 billion inherited in 2015.”

Osinbajo revealed that from oil, the nation earned $119.8 billion from 1990 to 1998, $481 billion from 1999 to 2009 and $381 billion from 2010 to 2014, while the present administration has only earned $112 billion since June 2015.

News Reporter

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