Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar believes that the restructuring of the country is inevitable, saying the north will be making a mistake to oppose it.
Atiku said the fragile unity of the country was being threatened with sentiments, and pointed out that as long as the federal government continues with the over-riding power, instability will continue to bedevil the country.
He was speaking in Kaduna state at a memorial conference in honour of Hassan Katsina, the late military governor of the northern region.
“I am not trying to be a messenger of doom but to alert us to the serious challenges ahead if we do not take immediate corrective actions both in our economic and our politics,” he said.
“As our history has shown, a strong centre does not translate to a strong and better base. We should begin to think strategically about how to develop this region (north) as a collective and our states in each geopolitical zone should embark on how to work together to share responsibilities.”
He argued that national integration would become achievable when the north does “the little things that will help in that regard”.
Atiku identified some of these things as values, ideology and sense of investment that help to foster sense of national integration.
“These are more effective than forcing or bribing people to stay together. I suggest we resolve today to support calls for the restructuring of the Nigerian federation in order to strengthen its unity and stabilize its democracy.
“I believe that restructuring will eventually happen whether we like or support it or not.
“The question is whether it will happen around a conference table, in a direction influenced by us (northerners) and whether we will be equal partners in the process. Or will it happen in a more unpredictable arena and in a manner over which we have little influence?”