We must renegotiate bases for Nigeria’s existence

Chidi Samuel

Atiku Abubakar,Nigeria’s former vice President between 1999 and 2007 on Monday at Forum in Abuja, the Nation’s capital, said that Nigeria in its current state is rooted in corruption, impunity and injustice and thus must be reconstituted, if we are to make progress. He blamed the current system and not the individual participants as the bane of the Country.  Atiku spoke while expanding on a paper titled: “Nigerian Federalism: Continuing Quest for Stability and Nation-Building.”

The former vice president and a senior member of the ruling All Peoples Congress has been a prominent voice in the renewed calls for a reconstituted Nigeria.

According to him, “Political and civic leaders from across the country must come together, discuss, negotiate and make the necessary compromises and sacrifices needed to restructure our federation to make us a stronger, more united, productive, and competitive country.”

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“No section of this country can claim correctly that its people are better served by the current structure of our federation. When we were not dependent on oil revenues and when the federating units had greater autonomy of action and were largely responsible for their affairs, they, that is our regional governments, did not owe workers their salaries for several months.

“They did not shut down schools and universities for several months because of teacher strikes and inadequate funding. Take a look at the industries that the regional governments established and ran and the quality of schools that they established, and see if you can see a state government or a group of state governments that have bested them since the emergence of our unitary federalism.

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“And also ask yourself which of those establishments taken over or established by the federal government since, has performed as well as they did under our pre-1966 federal system.”

“National unity does not mean the absence of disagreement or agitations. In fact disagreements and peaceful agitations indicate vibrant and living relationships,” Mr. Atiku said. “The key to making national progress is to manage those disagreements in peaceful and mature ways.”

The former vice president cautioned that his call should not be misconstrued as a call for a break up of Nigeria, but only a call for the imposition of a system where transparency, efficiency and equity will prevail for the benefit of all.