Atiku challenged the Federal Government of Nigeria to restructure as a strategy for the unity and survival of Nigeria.
Atiku got it right and the committee needs his wisdom and experience in resolving this impasse of national dimension or simply put the survival of Nigeria as a united and one country. It is better late than never to speak truth to power. I commend his thoughtfulness, his wisdom and his political will to correct the wrong. Obasanjo got it wrong and did nothing about restructuring Nigeria, Atiku is realistic and pragmatic. The Washington (NADECO) conference of Nigerian came up with the six geo-political zone during Abacha's reign of terror. Abacha adopted it for his own political interest but rather than creating six-geo autonomous zones, he adopted six geo political zones to sustain himself in power as a means of becoming a civilian president. However, he needed the unitary system to retain absolute power and control. In developing the six geo regional zones, there were three assumptions:
1. The decision must be based on what is best for the unity of Nigeria and her people.
2. The decision cannot be based on personality, selfish interest and emotion but must be based on fact, data and analysis of historical and future trends and aspiration for Nigerian economic productivity, development and sustainability.
3. The new thinking must be regional economic viability, resource control, economic and entrepreneurial growth and development with full autonomy, where regions decide the number of states within their regions and the number of local governments and structures, The unit is only one sixth of the federation in terms of resource allocation sharing, creating equity, fairness and balance.
3b. Each region will have a vice president with a portfolio at the center. The presidency will rotate between the Northern and Southern regions. The center will control the military, fiscal policy, customs and immigration, ports, aviation. There will be regional police, state police and local police. The regions will control their resources and pay federal tax, state tax and local tax to sustain the system. Any Nigerian citizen can live and own property anywhere in Nigeria and can contest for political positions of interest as long as they meet residency requirements without violation of citizen rights.
These were some of the issues addressed in the restructuring of Nigeria but Obasanjo's administration refused to consider the wisdom of this proposed structure because as he put it --"there is nothing wrong with the Nigerian Structure"
What do you think? Speak truth to power!
Prof. Babs Onabanjo, President: Nigerian Alliance For Democracy (1993-1999)