Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former Senate President, Ken Nnamani yesterday warned that the agitations for restructuring and true federalism would be sustained as long as inequality persists in the country.
They made the assertion at the public presentation and launching of Daily Stream newspapers, a publication of Skillsgate Media and Communications Ltd in Abuja.
The duo agreed that in spite of resentments from certain quarters against agitations for the restructuring of the country, the current political structure has left various groups, especially the minority nationalities at a disadvantaged position.
They however, lamented misconceptions of restructuring, noting that rather than seeing the subject as an attempt to disintegrate the country, it should be viewed as an opportunity to promote national cohesion.
Atiku who spoke on “The Challenges of unity, diversity and national development: Nigeria at cross roads,” noted that unity had been a scarce commodity among the country’s diverse peoples and communities.
“That was the consequence of the way and manner the country was put together by the British colonial authorities, coupled with collective failure of subsequent Nigerian leaders to create a true and viable nation out of the union.
“This has become a major source of disquiet, anxiety and frustration and a veritable obstacle to national development,” he said.
Atiku added that disagreements and controversies over the best political structure to be adopted, size and responsibility of government, the nature of relationship among the component units, the type and system of government, as well as how resources available in and accruing to the country should be allocated, have continued unabated.
“For Nigeria to develop or even make any appreciable progress, we must re-structure Nigeria’s political, administrative and political architecture. That way, we can free resources that would otherwise go to unviable ventures and projects, then commit same resources to areas that directly cater for and benefit the people.
“Restructuring will facilitate the emergence of a leaner bureaucracy, enhance efficiency, block wastages and promote more prudent management. It will make for happier constituent units more committed to the progress and unity of the country and the emergence of a sense of nationhood,” he added.
Nnamani, who was Chairman of the occasion, stressed the need for Nigerians to sit at a round table and negotiate the basis for their staying together in one country, pointing out that the first attempt at using force through the civil war failed.
He said there was no sane Igbo man who would advocate war for solving the country’s problems but noted however, that the various groups in Nigeria cannot run away from discussing the basis of their continued coexistence.