Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, on Wednesday urged delegates at the ongoing national conference to look into restructuring the nation’s federal system.
This is contained in a statement issued by his media office in Abuja.
“The need to re-work the current federal arrangement in the country should be a major focus of delegates at the ongoing national conference”, he said.
Atiku noted that the existing federal structure gave too much functions and resources to the government at the centre, thus suppressing the spirit of innovation and enterprise among the people.
He, however, expressed the hope that the envisaged robust federal system would douse the tensions that are built into the nation’s current over-centralised system.
The former vice-president noted that the current federal structure in the country, which he termed “unitary federalism”, was a creation by and for the military governments of the past.
“As more power was concentrated in the centre, the federal government appropriated more resources and expanded its responsibilities.
“All of these were done in the name of promoting national unity and the process was relatively easy as the unified command structure of the military ensured little opposition.
“Therefore, fixing Nigeria, to me, will require reversing decades of over-centralisation of power and over-concentration of resources at the centre”, he said.
The Turakin Adamawa urged the delegates to seize the opportunity provided by the conference to turn around the fortunes of the country.
“I want to assume that a new and improved Nigeria is the goal, and I believe that any opportunity for people to talk is better than to fight”, Atiku said.
While stressing the need for the conference to design a political and governmental system that would empower local authorities and give them greater autonomy to address peculiar local issues, Atiku said: “This will enhance transparency and accountability in governance as well as contribute to the general good of the country”.
He also proposed the renegotiation of the nation’s union with a view to making it stronger by granting “greater autonomy, power and resources to states and local authorities” as “This will ultimately unleash our people’s creative energies and spur more development”.
The All Progressives Congress, APC chieftain, however, denied insinuations that the top heavy federal arrangement as is presently being operated, was working to the favour of a section of the country.