Atiku Advocates for Federal System Restructuring, advice FG on lingering matters

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[Osun]–Former Vice President of Nigeria, Mr. Atiku Abubakar has reaffirmed his advocacy for the restructuring of the country’s federal system.

He made this known on Monday at the Oduduwa Hall of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, while delivering a lecture on, “The constitutional and political framework for reconstructing Nigeria for true federalism and national integration,” during the Annual Professor Ademila Popoola Public Lecture, Faculty of law of the university.

He said that one of the feasible means to solve the nation’s numerous challenges is for proper restructuring in the system.

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.

While arguing that many of the state governments in Nigeria are not viable, Atiku called for the merging of unviable states with the viable ones should the unviable states were unable to generate a certain percentage of it’s expenditures internally for a specified period of time.

He said “Over dependence and addiction to oil money, excessive centralisation and concentration of power and resources, intense political competition, and political instability, were responsible for the country’s numerous challenges”

On the way out, Atiku said, ” 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 possibility 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 will 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 “, he added.

“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.”

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