Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has expressed confidence that restructuring will contribute meaningfully to national cohesion and good governance.
Atiku said this in an address at the third Policy Monitoring Dialogue Series on National Unity, Integration, and Devolution of Power/Restructuring, organised by the Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development, in Abuja, on Friday.
He explained that the country’s founding fathers recognised this fact; hence, their choice of a federal system of government, which empowered federating units as against the unitary system foisted on the nation by successive military regimes.
According to him, restructuring Nigeria will strengthen the country’s unity rather than weaken it.
Atiku said, “Our founding political leaders agreed on and erected a federal system of government. They believed, quite rightly in my view, that such a structure was the only guarantee of national cohesion in view of our diversity, varying resource endowments, varying levels of development, and the centrifugal forces threatening our unity.
“Over the years, that structure which we inherited has been changed to a system with greater centralisation of power and concentration of resources at the centre, which is at the expense of the federating units.”
He noted that the decision to concentrate resources at the centre had had enormous consequences on the nation’s socio-economic and political development.
“Restructuring, to me, means effecting changes to our current federal structure to bring it closer to what our founding leaders erected in order to address the very issues and challenges that led them to opt for a less centralised system.
“It means devolution of more powers to the federating units with the accompanying resources, and it would involve greater control by the federating units of the resources in their areas.”
Atiku further explained that good governance, in a democratic setting, would mean that the government effectively and efficiently delivers on its constitutional duties and promises to the electorate in a fair and equitable manner.