…harps on restructuring
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar on Sunday said military incursion and the 30- month civil war led to the steady erosion of the nation’s federal structure.
The federal structure, he noted, was erected by founding fathers to ensure national cohesion.
Atiku said only a comprehensive restructuring of the country and devolution of power will restore national cohesion and good governance.
Speaking at the 3rd Policy Monitoring Dialogue Series on National Unity, Integration and Devolution of Power/Restructuring”, the former Vice President said the increasing centralisation of power and concentration of resources at the federal level weakened the states and relatively impoverished them.
Atiku, who has been a strong advocate of restructuring, argued devolving more powers and transferring more resources to states will decongest the centre and enhance greater manageability, efficiency and accountability.
He said: “Military rule and the civil war led to the steady erosion of our federal structure.
“The increasing centralisation of power and concentration of resources at the federal level in the context of rising oil revenues and neglect of other revenue sources weakened and relatively impoverished the states.
“As Vice President and Chairman of the National Privatization Council, I saw firsthand what an overly centralized federal government can do wrong.
“Having confiscated the bulk of national revenues, the federal government proceeded to insert itself in a dominant manner in virtually every aspect of our national life, including the economy where it became an investor in all manner of businesses rather than facilitating the emergence of a vibrant and thriving private sector.
“Although we have succeeded in privatizing many public enterprises, we still engage in what I call institutional escapism and duplication/ multiplication.
Rather than fix existing challenges in existing ministries and departments, we create new ones to carry out the same functions as the existing ones.
He emphasised people have a constitutional right to peacefully agitate for restructuring.
According to Atiku: “We should try to understand the basis for the agitations and calls for a new compact rather than vilify the agitators.
“It is disingenuous to accuse everyone who calls for restructuring as trying to break up the county.
“Yes restructuring may mean different things to different people. Like all things with political and economic implications, those calling for restructuring have varying positions, which is not a bad thing.
“But we won’t really find out how close our positions are to those of others until we sit down with them and start to talk and negotiate.”