Former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, has said that the only way Nigeria could avoid the various failed state prophecies is to restructure. Atiku, who listed the prophecies to include the American think-tank of 2006 and the recent Financial Times of London editorial, said Nigeria risks becoming a failed state if the nation’s leaders failed to resolve the foundational challenges facing it.
In a statement yesterday, the former vice president noted that concentration of power at the centre affects every sector. Atiku stated that Nigeria needs to restructure and devolve powers to the various units such as policing, in tandem with the Federal Government.
“It is time to feel our nation’s pulse and steer the ship of state away from a failed state destination. “Restructuring is the lighthouse that will guide the Nigerian state’s ship back to the safety of land.
“And it is not just for the big line items. Even in the little things, we must restructure, for the good of our people,” he stated. The former vice president insisted that Nigeria needs to restructure to avoid the various failed state prophecies.
“What is a failed state? A failed state is a political sovereign geographic territory whose government has deteriorated to a level where it cannot fulfil a sovereign government’s basic responsibilities such as the security of life and property, and upholding law and order.
“Nigeria is not a failed state. However, we are at risk of becoming a failed state if we do not resolve our foundational challenges that make it rather difficult for the central government to discharge her responsibilities effectively,” Atiku said.
He recalled that Nigeria operated a unitary system as “an ad hoc temporary solution to a challenge that emerged after the January 15, 1966 coup.” This, according to him, was not meant to be a long term solution.
“We have been operating from the same unitary foundation, and have given it several names since January 15, 1966. “Other than slight name changes, the mould has remained the same and the yield has changed little,” Atiku observed.
He blamed the ethnic and religious clashes in the country on the failure by leaders to address its fundamental problems. “They themselves are not the illness. We must address the root causes of the various symptoms of insecurity Nigeria now faces. “Nigeria needs to be restructured. This truth is staring us in our collective faces,” he added.
Atiku noted that in precolonial times and during the First Republic, Nigeria had well marked out grazing routes that ensured that grazers knew where to go and restricted contacts between them and farmers.
“Now, these routes have disappeared. Of course, when this happens, there will be conflict. Brazil and Argentina are the largest beef exporters in the world and they have grazing routes.
“In fact, in Brazil, pasture land outweighs planted cropland by about five times.
This is because all tiers of governments in Brazil have worked together to restrict these areas, not only to avoid conflict between grazers and farmers, but also to ensure that Brazil’s great forests, including the Amazon, are not deforested. “If Brazil and Argentina can do it, we can do it too. We have to put in the political and intellectual effort,” he said.
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election said Nigeria needs peace, unity and prosperity, but added that all three are dependent on the nation having social justice. “Without justice, there cannot be cohesiveness in a multi-ethnic and multireligious nation as Nigeria.
“Nigeria has foundational issues, which we have to resolve. Until we resolve those issues, our nation may not fulfil its potentials of being the beacon of light for the Black Race, even if we have the most righteous people at the helm. “It has been said by many behavioural scientists that ‘the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results,’” he stated.
Atiku added that there will be improvements and retrogressions due to the character and personality differences of the men and women at the helm, stating however that until the foundational fault lines are addressed, whatever progress one administration makes could be undone by his successor.
“If half of our people expend their energies pulling Nigeria in one direction and the other half counter by pulling her in the other direction, our motherland will never know peace, unity and prosperity,” he said.
According to him, there is a disconnect between Abuja, the seat of power and the state, adding that Nigeria is dependent on food imports for much of her food needs because agriculture is controlled from Abuja.
He regretted that most states that are better equipped for food production, by reason of proximity to handle agriculture do not have agricultural ministry. “The victories are too little. It is a lose-lose situation.
We are all the better if we come up with a win-win situation. And the only way we all win is if we restructure, while we still have a foundation to stand on.
“We must always remember that we are all brothers and sisters born from the womb of one mother – Nigeria – and that when brothers fight to the death, it is their neighbours that inherit their father’s property. “We must stop fighting each other as Nigerians and we must start fighting for Nigeria.
Arise o compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey. Nigeria is calling for restructuring. And I urge all Nigerians to obey our mother’s voice,” he demanded.