Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, on Wednesday urged delegates at the ongoing national conference to give special attention to the restructuring of the nation’s federal system.
This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja and signed by his Media Officer, Malam Garba Shehu.
“ The need to rework the current federal arrangement in the country should be a major focus of delegates at the ongoing national conference, “ he said.
Abubakar observed that the current federal structure arrogated too much functions and resources to the government at the centre, thus killing the spirit of innovation and enterprise among the people.
He expressed optimism that the envisaged robust federal system would reduce the tensions that are built into the nation’s current over-centralised system.
The APC Chieftain 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 former vice president urged the delegates to make best use of the opportunity provided to them in the conference to change 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,” Abubakar said.
He stressed 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.
“ This will enhance transparency and accountability in governance as well as contribute to the general good of the country, ” he said.
Abubakar advocated the renegotiating the nation’s union with a view to making it stronger by granting “greater autonomy, power and resources to states and local authorities.
“ This will ultimately unleash our people’s creative energies and spur more development, ” he said.
Abubakar, however, debunked insinuation that the top heavy federal arrangement as is currently being operated was working to the favour of a section of the country.