Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar said on Tuesday that Nigeria is not working effectively because of the way it has been structured – deploying more power to the centre than the federating states.
Speaking at a book launch in Abuja, Atiku said there was the need to restructure the country and renegotiate the union in order to make it stronger and more united.
Atiku said: “Nigeria is not working as well as it should and part of the reason is the way we have structured our country and governance, especially since the late 1960s.
The federal government is too big, and too powerful relative to the federating states. That situation needs to change, and calling for that change is patriotic.
“We must refrain from the habit of assuming that anyone calling for the restructuring of our federation is working for the breakup of the country.
An excessively powerful centre does not equate with national unity. If anything, it has made our unity more fragile, our government more unstable and our country more unsafe.
“We must renegotiate our union in order to make it stronger. Greater autonomy, power and resources for states and local authorities will give the federating units greater freedom and flexibility to address local issues, priorities and peculiarities.
“It will help to unleash our people’s creative energies and spur more development. It will reduce the premium placed on capturing power at the centre. It will help with improving security. It will promote healthy rivalries among the federating units and local authorities. It will help make us richer and stronger as a nation.”