Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said that Nigeria needs to be restructured.
Atiku said that the current ethnic and religious clashes bedevilling Nigeria are symptoms of the disease, adding that they themselves are not the illness.
“We must address the root causes of the various symptoms of insecurity Nigeria now faces.
“Nigeria needs peace, unity and prosperity. But all three of these virtues are dependent on Nigeria having social justice. Without justice, there cannot be cohesiveness in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation as Nigeria.
“Nigeria has foundational issues, which we have to resolve. Until we resolve those issues, our nation may not fulfil its potentials of being the beacon of light for the Black Race, even if we have the most righteous people at the helm.
“It has been said by many behavioural scientists that ‘the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.’
“We have been operating from the same unitary foundation, and have given it several names since January 15, 1966. Other than slight name changes, the mould has remained the same, and the yield has changed a little.
“Yes, there will be improvements and retrogressions here and there, due to the character and personality differences of the men and women at the helm. However, until the foundational fault lines are addressed, whatever progress one man makes, can be undone by his predecessor, often in a matter of months.”
The former vice president said that if half of the people expend their energies pulling Nigeria in one direction, and the other half counter by pulling her in the other direction, the motherland will never know peace, unity and prosperity.
“Nigeria needs to restructure to avoid the various failed state prophecies, first advanced by an American think-tank against Nigeria in 2006. Most recently regurgitated by the Financial Times of London, about a month ago. To be forewarned is to be forearmed,” he said.
Explaining what a failed state is, Atiku said that “a failed state is a political sovereign geographic territory whose government has deteriorated to a level where it cannot fulfil a sovereign government’s basic responsibilities, such as the security of life and property, and upholding law and order.” The former vice president said that Nigeria is not a failed state, adding, “We are at risk of becoming a failed state, if we do not resolve our foundational challenges that make it rather difficult for the central government to discharge her responsibilities effectively.
“We should have done this long ago. I can only point to the Chinese proverb that says ‘the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.’
“We ought to understand that the collapse of Nigeria into a unitary system was an ad hoc temporary solution to a challenge that emerged after the January 15, 1966 coup decapitated the central and most regional governments. It was not meant to be a long term solution.
“Lessons have been learnt since that time, and nobody would be foolhardy enough to repeat such unfortunate actions that took Nigeria through such difficult periods. Moreover, our institutions are now much stronger than they were during our infancy.”