A former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Tuesday, countered President Muhammadu Buhari’s stance on the restructuring of the country, saying there was no alternative to restructuring if Nigeria must make progress.
Atiku stated that he remained resolute in his support for the restructuring of the country, positing that there was “too much power” in the hands of the Federal Government, a situation he said had made governance in the country less competitive particularly among the states.
President Buhari had on Monday told a delegation of Urhobo Traditional Rulers and Urhobo Progress Union, who visited him in Abuja, that the calls for the restructuring of the country was parochial and laced with self-interests, hence discussions and arguments on the matter failed to capture his attention.
But the former VP disagreed with Buhari, saying that the country must be restructured for Nigeria to rapidly move forward.
Atiku spoke in Asaba, the Delta State Capital, during his consultative visit to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state on his presidential ambition ahead of the 2019 general elections.
He stated that he had been in the forefront of the calls for the restructuring of the country since 2004 while still serving as VP because restructuring would bring out the best among the federating units and lead to economic development across the board.
The PDP presidential aspirant also called on the Federal Government to review the current security architecture to meet the emerging security threats in the country, adding that he would always support any cause that would move the country forward.
Atiku, who also vowed to tackle unemployment in the country when he becomes President, noted that he was in the presidential race because of his burning desire to ensure that Nigeria made progress and was united irrespective of its religious and ethnic diversity.
He decried the situation where security agencies didn’t take orders from the state governors, saying “as an individual, I don’t think this is true federalism, we must restructure the security architecture.”
He said, “I will have a very small Federal Government with powers and resources devolved to the states to manage the affairs while they pay taxes to the Federal Government. With this, each zone can survive on its own without leaning on oil money.
“I’ll create jobs; you must liberalise the economy, support the private sector, create incentives to make the private sector boom and open up the economy to foreign direct investments. The security architecture of the country must be reviewed and decentralised to meet modern-day security challenges.”
He, however, thanked the people of the Niger Delta region, particularly Okowa, for the return of peace which in turn had led to increase in oil production, appealing that the peace in the area should be sustained.
Also speaking in a similar vein, Okowa stressed that restructuring would help to resolve the myriad of challenges currently confronting the country.
“I strongly believe that the way out of the challenges of the country is to have stronger states, stronger federating units,” he stated.