‘Nigeria needs total restructuring’ – Atiku
Former Vice-president of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Monday, said Nigeria needed total restructuring and reform to correct its porous system.
He made this known while giving a lecture on “Constitutional and Political Framework for restructuring Nigeria for better Federalism and Integration” at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, during an Annual Public Lecture of Professor Ademola Popoola emphasised the need for restructuring the mode of governance in the country.
He stated that the current system in the country concentrated powers in the centre, and made the country to be economically unproductive and politically weak.
According to him, immediate restructuring of the country would enable the citizens of Nigeria to live better and leave a worthy legacy for their generations yet unborn.
Atiku faulted the notion in some quarters that restructuring of the country would be divisive, arguing that using the existing geopolitical zones as federating units would solve array of national problems.
Carpeting some state governors over their style of leadership, he called for the merging of unviable states with the viable ones should the unviable states were unable to generate a certain percentage of their expenditures internally for a specified period of time.
“There is no doubt that many of our states are not viable, and were not viable from the start, once you take away the federal government allocations from Abuja. We have to find creative ways to make them viable in a changed federal system. Collaboration among States in a region or zone will help.
“We can examine the possiblity of using the existing geopolitical zones as federating units. We can also find other ways to determine the viability of states, for example by introducing a means of test such that a state that is unable to generate a certain percentage of its expenditures internally for a specified period of time would be deemed unviable and collapsed into another or a group of states.
“We need to start producing again and collecting taxes to run our governments in a more sustainable way with greater transparency and accountability.
“We have a unique opportunity now, with all the agitation and clamour for restructuring, to have a conversation that would lead to changes in the structure of our federation in order to make it stronger, enhance our unity and promote peace, security and better and more accountable governance.
“Ours should be a federal system that delegates to the federal government only powers and responsibilities for those matters that are better handled by a central government such as defence, foreign affairs, inter-governmental affairs, setting overall national economic policy and standards.
“Other powers and responsibilities should reside with the states, which will include the power to create and fund local governments as they deem fit,” Atiku added.