Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on Thursday regretted that the calls for the restructuring of Nigeria have not been heeded by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, neither have they respected constitutional provisions on federal character.
He pointed out that even symbolic gestures that make ethnic groups feel a sense of belonging have been scorned by those at the helm of affairs, and the result is that “agitations that turned more groups into “Biafrans” have become even more strident and, in some cases, violent”.
Naija News reports that Atiku, who spoke in Abuja during the public presentation of a book titled: “Remaking Nigeria: Sixty Years, Sixty Voices”, used “fixing” of Nigeria as another name for restructuring.
“The fixing or restructuring will help in our nation-building project because it will help to foster a sense of nationhood out of our disparate groups, cultures, religions, and regions,” he said.
On how the country can be fixed, Atiku said, “We must restructure our country in a manner that allows various segments to develop at their own pace and not be held back by the centre or other segments. Developed segments will spur development in other segments because what they do well will attract the attention of others. That may make a Nigerian union more attractive and nation-building easier. Our poor nation-building record should not be an excuse for developmental inaction or backwardness.
“There is nothing in the current state of our nation-building that prevents Adamawa, Kano, Lagos or Rivers States from enumerating the number of existing and prospective primary and secondary school students and properly planning educational development in their respective states for the next five or ten years: – classroom blocks to be built, teachers to be hired and/or trained, textbooks to acquire, salaries to be paid, university spaces that would be required in the years to come, and so on. The same goes for roads and bridges, hospitals, and water supply. If they do these well wouldn’t Taraba and Benue States copy them? If they do them well wouldn’t Anambra and Kogi States emulate them?”
“It is obvious that a country is not necessarily a nation. Nationhood has to be forged through what we do as a country, and leadership is critical in the process of nation-building. Leaders give direction and the example they set determines the extent to which their followers will trust them. Without trust, there’s no leadership. Without leadership, a country drifts and becomes more difficult to forge into a nation,” the former Vice President said.