By Ebriku John Friday, Abuja
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the spokesman of Afenifere, the south-west social political pressure group, Chief Yinka Odumakin, on Wednesday said that for Nigeria to move forward it must restructure, insisting that the call is not to break the country.
Alhaji Atiku and Odumakin, stated this during a one day public discourse on Moving Nigeria Forward, organized by a political pressure group known as Fast Forward Nigeria in Abuja.
Atiku, who spoke as the special guest of honour at the event, was represented by Dr Umar Garba Pella, said the former vice present was the first to demystify the myth around restructuring, which has become an issue that has been subjected to various interpretation and that he awaken the consciousness to the need for restructuring.
He called on the youth to be active participant in the democratic and electioneering process in the country, adding that no country in the world grow without harnessing the potentials of the youth.
On his part, Chief Odumakin, who spoke as one of the discussants, said the country is currently being run on a false model, and called for true federalism that will create centres of production that will in turn lead to a lasting development.
He said, “Restructuring means federalism, it’s not about breaking Nigeria. We are two intermingled, we are one people that for anybody to talk about the division of Nigeria. No. But Nigeria must be on the basis of equity, justice, fairness, inclusiveness and most importantly productivity.
“There is no country that has developed on the bases of the false model that we are doing. We say Nigeria is a federal republic but we are running everything in a unitary manner. We must practice the true federalism, we must ensure that every part of Nigeria becomes centres of production.
“We must remodel our governance system to create equity, to create balance, to create justice, to give a sense of inclusiveness to everybody. For as long as we are all chasing this small economy, they can’t be justice in Nigeria. Because some believe they must dominate others to have more of the resources. But when we bring resources from everywhere, we will be amazed that this country would become.
“And so therefore, as we move towards 2019, if we want to fast forward Nigeria, we must know the right conversations to engage in and this kind of groups like yours must be able to insist that there must be a new conversation, a new struggle for the soul of Nigeria, that 2019 should be about the dissolution of the status quo and this new paradigm of development.
“Between those who want us to continue this indolent lifestyles and those who want us to go back to work, between those who believe that we must remain in this development and those who believe we must go back to productivity, and put every state of Nigeria to work so that Nigeria can prosper and Nigeria can move forward. And I think this is the whole conversation about federalism.”
Earlier, the convener of the discourse, Hon Orkuma Hembe, in his opening remark said the country has suffered and endured lots of challenges, even long before independence, which according to him, include, colonialism, successive military regimes, bitter and difficult election and electioneering process, corruption amongst others.
He said the discourse should be able to challenge the youths to work together for the delivery of a good, responsible, highly efficient and youth-friendly governance in Nigeria as it approaches 2019.