Former Nigerian vice president Atiku Abubakar has suggested that Nigeria be restructured. According to recent report, he raised this suggestion while speaking at the late Gen. Usman Katsina Memorial Conference which held at Murtala Square, Kaduna.
The theme of the conference was ‘The Challenges of National Integration and Survival of Democracy in Nigeria’.
The former vice president said:
‘I suggest we resolve today to support calls for the restructuring of the Nigerian federation in order to strengthen its unity and stabilize its democracy. I believe that restructuring will eventually happen whether we like or support it or not. The question is whether it will happen around a conference table, in a direction influenced by us and whether we will be an equal partner in the process. Or will it happen in a more unpredictable arena and in a manner over which we have little influence? It should be at a table and we need to be at that table. A nation is an organism; it grows, it evolves, it changes, it adapts. And like other organisms if it does not adapt, it dies.’
‘Those who argue that restructuring of the polity won’t be necessary once we diversify the economy are mistaken,’ he claimed. He explained that, ‘As long as the federal government remains overly dominant relative to the federating states, it will continue to matter which section of the country ‘captures’ federal power with its attendant instability. And as long as the federal government keeps the bulk of oil revenues for itself, its desire and will to provide the leadership needed to diversify the economy will continue to be limited.’
Atiku Abubakar argued that, ‘The fight in this country over ‘resource control’, while it may still have significance today, is really a fight that belongs to the past. Even a discovery of large quantities of oil and gas in the north today can only bring temporary relief but cannot reverse the fundamental shifts in the world’s energy trajectory. In any case how are we to improve this region and hold it (and the country) together in the time lag between such a discovery and actual production and revenue in-flow? I humbly submit that we need to move on, like the rest of the world.’
He said, ‘I am not trying to be a messenger of doom but to alert us to the serious challenges ahead if we do not take immediate corrective actions both in our economics and our politics. For this region particularly the following measures will be helpful for our economic, social and political recovery and development. Interestingly they are also what Nigeria needs.’
According to the former vice president, Nigeria has reached the peak of the oil economy and ‘for those who think nothing of diversifying to alternative revenue sources’, the ‘jamboree’ is clearly over.