Atiku Abubakar has received support from two main socio-cultural groups in the country following his call for the restructuring of the country – Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Afenifere called on the President Muhammadu Buhari -led Federal Government to adopt true federalism.
The groups, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Afenifere in separate statements said there was the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to implement the report of the 2014 confab which contains the solutions to the challenges facing the nation. Speaking for Afenifere, Sehinde Arogbofa the group’s secretary general said: “The late Papa Obafemi Awolowo said that we have to restructure the country but as we are now, we don’t have a true federalism to favour any geographical region.
“In a true federal structure, every component that makes up the federation would be allowed to exist at its own pace, which is not what is happening now. We have always preached what would make every component to be free, proud, develop and be ready to innovate.” He lamented that in spite of the all the clamouring, Buhari had not shown any signal that he would implement the confab report. “We have been calling on the present government to pick up the report of the 2014 confab, but it does not have the courage to pick it up. I don’t know why the President is not acting on the report and government is supposed to be a continuum. “If he continues to do certain things that are good, why doesn’t he do this? We are not saying he should implement everything but, at least, he would see some solutions in the confab report such that he would not need to set up committees for everything.” Another chieftain within Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, described Atiku’s call for the restructuring of the federation as a welcome development. Adebanjo said, “Atiku’s view is a welcoming view. He has been consistent on the call for the need for the country to restructure. He wrote an opinion article during the national confab, stating that there was the need for the restructuring of the country.”
On its part, the President-General Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Enwo Igariwey, noted that the Ohanaeze and other delegates from the South-East had canvassed the restructuring of the country during the last national constitutional conference organised by former President Goodluck Jonathan. “That (restructuring) was our position during the last national constitutional conference. We have been calling for restructuring, we believe it is in the best interest of the country,” the Ohanaeze leader told Punch newspaper. Atiku had said Nigeria, as it is currently constituted, is failing and greater autonomy needs to be granted to the states. He said Nigerians have suffered for too long under a poorly designed constitutional structure. “Nigeria is not working, as well as it should and part of the reason is the poor way we have structured our economy and governance especially since 1960. The federal government is too big and too powerful relative to the federating units. “That situation needs to change and calling for that change is patriotic. We must refrain from assuming that anyone calling for restructuring of our federation is working for the breakup of our country. I reject that notion,” he said.
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