The Chairman, Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Prof. Ango Abdullahi, says the north is ready for the restructuring of the Nigerian nation to make it more viable.
He spoke in an interview published by Vanguard, saying it was no longer true that Northern leaders were against restructuring.
The former Vice-Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria said that Nigeria should jettison the present presidential “unitary” system of government and return to the parliamentary “federal” system that was bequeathed by the British in consultation with Nigerian founding fathers in 1960.
Ango Abdullahi said that the parliamentary system, with the nation made up of regions, was working and the regions were viable until the military struck in 1966.
According to him, the military’s decision to impose a unitary system of government and subsequent creation of states created more division and negatively altered the nation’s development trajectory.
Asked if his support for restructuring was popular among the northern elite, Ango Abdullahi said, “Well, you have to point out who are those political leaders that are not at home with these views because people hide behind some of these excuses because if there is a forum today and seriously determined that the Nigerian state requires a rehash, I am sure you would find people from all over the country who are ready, who are willing, who are up to the task of doing this.
“I give you an example of my group, the Northern Elders Forum. The forum has advocated this for the past three to four years. Before I even became its leader, our late leader, Maitama Sule, who was a federal commissioner under Azikiwe and Abubakar was agreeable to the need for Nigeria to really take another look at itself.
“These broken up units, the states and local governments that they said would bring unity, I tell you that even as a journalist if you want to be sincere, you would agree with me that state and local government creation in Nigeria has brought more division than it has brought people together because under the old system, you could perhaps move from your state (Kogi) to pick up a job in Kano but now you cannot move from Kogi to Kwara (formerly one state) to pick up a job because these so-called units have brought more divisions than unity and have brought about more wastage of our limited resources.
“We are a consuming state now rather than a productive state. So, I can assure you that the North, at least from my own perspective and the perspectives of many groups in the North here, is ready to engage in serious discussions as to how to reshape the Nigerian state to something that is better for not only now but also for the future generations that will be coming behind us.”
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