Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar says only restructuring of Nigeria could guarantee unity, equity and security of the nation, saying he is shocked by the opposition of people he called ‘progressives’ to the move to restructure Nigeria for the benefit of all. “Only by restructuring can we guarantee Unity, Equity and Security for our nation”, Atiku said last week.“
Along with the late great Chief M.K.O Abiola, I was a member of the former Social Democratic Party. The party’s manifesto included the following words, to ‘improve the people’s welfare and fight for social justice’. We in the SDP were the progressives. We were the party of Olu Falae, of Shehu Musa Yar’adua, of Abubakar Rimi, of Jim Nwobodo and of Bola Tinubu”, he added.“
So it surprises me today, and perhaps even shocks me that anybody that was elected on or connected to that platform would say he or she does not know what restructuring means”.To him, the issue of restructuring goes beyond resource control.
And Atiku pointed out that for the country to restructure, some aspects do not require constitutional amendment.
The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, had recently asked proponents of restructuring to explain what they meant as the term was vague.The former vice president spoke during a lecture he delivered at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka on the occasion of the Senior Staff Club Lecture Series on Restructuring Nigeria/Award of Excellence on Good Governance.“Let me begin with a rhetorical question: why do I, Atiku Abubakar,favour a restructured Nigeria?”, Atiku started.“ The answer is simple: because I am proudly Nigerian and favour a united Nigeria that offers every man, woman and child a brighter future where each and everyone has a chance to build and share in this great nation’s potential.“ The Restructuring I want to see happen is changing the structure of our country to take power from the elite and give it back to whom it belongs: the people. It will help to bring the benefits of the change that our people were promised in the last general elections.“For a number of years now we have been making the case for the restructuring of our federal system. This is in response to the cries of marginalisation by various segments of country as well as the understanding that our federation, as presently constituted, impedes optimal development and the realization of our peoples’ aspirations. As you all know, virtually every segment of this country has at one point or the other complained of marginalisation by one or more segments, and agitated for change.“
Before I proceed, let me caution us all that restructuring, by whatever name, is not a magic bullet that would resolve all of Nigeria’s challenges or those of any section, region or zone of the country. Listening to some people, even those who seek to dismember the country, you would think that once their dream is achieved their part of the country or the country as a whole will become paradise.“ Yet, as we all know, life is not that simple. We need restructuring in order to address the challenges that hold us back and which restructuring alone can help us address, and which will remain unaddressed unless we restructure. Period. This also answers the cynics who question whether restructuring is even important since it won’t solve all our problems. No system would”.Saying, to him, restructuring means making changes to our current federal structure so it comes closer to what our founding leaders established, in response to the very issues and challenges that led them to opt for a less centralized system, he explained that, perhaps, it is because he spent a decade in the private sector before coming back to the public sector as vice president that he had the benefit of a paradigm that sees opportunity where others see crisis. “But that is my world view”, Atiku stated.
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