Why Nigeria Is Not Making Progress — Atiku

Atiku Abubakar the former Vice President of Nigeria gave a talk and spoke about how Nigeria will keep bein in the same place they have always been and how they wouldn’t be making Progress for some particular reason, he then made mention that Nigeria will  continue to  grapple with the crisis of severe and debilitating socio-economic problems unless it gets the structures of the federalism and governance right.

Atiku made it clear in a paper he titled: “The Challenge of Unity, Diversity and National Development: Nigeria at a Crossroads’’, which he delivered at the formal public presentation of the Daily Stream newspaper, at the Banquet Hall, Nigeria Air force Conference Centre, Kado, Abuja.

According to him, the current system, which is characterised by a focus on sharing rather than production, is clearly not conducive to development.

He noted that virtually all the development indices had not been favourable to Nigeria: massive and pervasive poverty, double-digit inflation, unemployment, dwindling foreign exchange receipts, poor GDP growth rates, high infant and maternal mortality, high levels of illiteracy, and millions of school-age children out of school.

“For Nigeria to develop – or even make any appreciable progress – we must restructure Nigeria’s political, administrative and political architecture.

“That way we can free resources that would otherwise go to unviable ventures and projects, then commit same to areas that directly cater for and benefit the people.’’

He said restructuring would facilitate the emergence of a leaner bureaucracy, enhance efficiency, block wastages and promote more prudent management.

He said this would make for happier constituent units more committed to the progress and unity of the country and the emergence of a sense of nationhood.

“However, I am not here just to lament over the sad and unenviable state of affairs in Nigeria.

“I firmly believe in the viability of the Nigerian Project, I remain unshaken and completely persuaded that we can eventually change the story of Nigeria for good by collectively making Nigeria a productive, prosperous, peaceful and united nation whose people are happy and contented and one that is able to really lead Africa and assume a pride of place in the comity of nations,’’ he added.

Atiku, who narrated his experiences from his recent trip to Malaysia, said he had concluded arrangements to assemble a class of economic experts to brainstorm on the best ways to boost the economies of the three tiers of government in Nigeria.

The former vice-president, who affirms that Nigeria is truly in crossroads, said “the problem with our federalism is that over the years it has become so skewed in favour of the centre that it impedes our economic development, distorts our politics, weakens our people’s commitment to the country and threatens our existence as a united country’’.

He, therefore, stressed the need to discuss and agree on the kind of federal structure desirable for the country.

“Reverting to the regions of the past seem untenable because those minority groups which feel that they have been liberated from their bigger, dominant neighbours, are unlikely to accept a return to that older order.

“We may consider using the existing the geo-political zones as federating units because they will be more viable economically and address some of the minorities’ concerns?

“If we prefer to keep the current state structure, could we consider introducing a means-test such that a state that is unable to raise a specified percentage of its revenues from internal sources would have to be collapsed into another state?’’

Abubakar, who described himself as more of a businessman than a politician, said he would never implement a uniform National Minimum Wage structure across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He said under his leadership, state governments in Nigeria would be allowed to pay their workers’ salaries based on their respective financial standing.

Nigeria Does Not Need Ministers For Agriculture, Health, Atiku Says

A former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has restated his call for true federalism as a panacea to Nigeria’s problems.

While speaking at the Obafemi Awolowo University at a program organised by the Faculty of Law on Thursday, Mr. Abubakar said in a true federal system, the federal government would have little or no need for some ministers as their issues would be handled by the federating units.

“We have a government that gives power to the central government and leaves the federating units with nothing,” he said.‎

“The current structure can be called unitary federalism.”

The politician, who is rumoured to be interested in the 2019 presidential race, said the current Nigerian structure makes the country economically indolent and doesn’t serve the citizens well.

“The restructuring of our federalism is not really a threat on our unity,” he said.

“The federal government has no point having a ministry of agriculture and health; they ought to only have units that will monitor the ministries. But instead they go on to appoint ministers.”

“What is the federal government’s business with having a health minister and minister of agriculture?” he asked.

Mr. Abubakar also accused his former boss, ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo of not heeding to one of his advice on power projects.

“I once advised the president not to invest in independent power projects but focus on captive power projects, but I was not listened to; the world is shifting from oil to other sectors and we are not doing that in Nigeria,” he said.

Commenting, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Anthony Elujoba, said Mr. Abubakar’s visit, though unexpected, was well appreciated by staff and students.

Credit:Premium Times

Atiku Renews Call For Nigeria’s Restructuring

Nigeria as currently constituted is an entity that is rooted in corruption, impunity and injustice and thus must be reconstituted, a former vice-president said on Monday.
Atiku Abubakar, who served under former President Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999-2007, said at a forum in Abuja that the current system is the bane of Nigeria and not the individuals running it.
“Political and civic leaders from across the country must come together, discuss, negotiate and make the necessary compromises and sacrifices needed to restructure our federation to make us a stronger, more united, productive, and competitive country,” Mr. Atiku said while expanding on a paper titled: “Nigerian Federalism: Continuing Quest for Stability and Nation-Building.”
Mr. Atiku has been at the forefront of renewed calls for a reconstituted Nigeria since the beginning of the year.
In June, he used his remarks at a book launch, also in Abuja, to call for a more federal system which would put to rest the disparate yearnings of Nigerians from all sections of the country.
Mr. Atiku said there’s a perennial cry of marginalisation from every section of the country, a situation, he said, was caused by the flaw in the country’s constitution.
“No section of this country can claim correctly that its people are better served by the current structure of our federation. When we were not dependent on oil revenues and when the federating units had greater autonomy of action and were largely responsible for their affairs, they, that is our regional governments, did not owe workers their salaries for several months.
“They did not shut down schools and universities for several months because of teacher strikes and inadequate funding. Take a look at the industries that the regional governments established and ran and the quality of schools that they established, and see if you can see a state government or a group of state governments that have bested them since the emergence of our unitary federalism.

“And also ask yourself which of those establishments taken over or established by the federal government since, has performed as well as they did under our pre-1966 federal system.”
The former vice president said Abuja should be prepared and willing to relinquish some of its powers over the remaining 36 federating units.
This call, Mr. Atiku said, does not mean a call for a break up of Nigeria, but only a call for the imposition of a system where transparency, efficiency and equity will prevail.
“National unity does not mean the absence of disagreement or agitations. In fact disagreements and peaceful agitations indicate vibrant and living relationships,” Mr. Atiku said. “The key to making national progress is to manage those disagreements in peaceful and mature ways.”

Atiku Says Fight Against Boko Haram Not Won Yet

A former Vice President and stalwart of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Atiku Abubakar, on Saturday disagreed with the position of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government that Boko Haram terrorists have been defeated.

The Turakin Adamawa, who spoke in Yola, the Adamawa capital, at the 11th Founder’s Day Ceremony of the American University of Nigeria, AUN, averred that the terrorist group remained deadly.

“The insurgents still occupy a specific geographical space. They (Boko Haram) still retain the capacity for occasional deadly attacks. Many citizens in the zone still remain vulnerable and live in fear,” he said.

This comment seem to counter repeated claims by President Muhammadu Buhari and his Information minister, Lai Mohammed, that Boko Haram had been Technically defeated, and was no longer holding any territory in the country.

In his 2016 Democracy Day speech, Buhari had insisted that the sect has been defeated, saying: “We marshaled our neighbours in a joint task force to tackle and defeat Boko Haram. By the end of December 2015, all but pockets and remnants had been routed by our gallant armed forces”.

Before then, Lai Mohammed had stated that the Boko Haram terrorists remain largely decimated, dispersed and disoriented, adding that “in reality, insurgency has been weakened as a cohesive terror force”.

But Atiku, in his Saturday speech, said it was premature for anyone to claim victory over Boko Haram at the moment, adding that, “We cannot say that the problem is over until every displaced person is able to return home, to the office, to the market, to the farm, and resume normal activities.

“We cannot say it is over until we rebuild the schools, the churches, the hospitals, the markets, and the homes that had been destroyed. And we cannot say it’s over until the survivors of this insurgency receive the help they need, including psychological therapy to deal with the trauma that they have been through.

“I visited an IDP camp on Saturday and had the privilege of teaching a math class to some children. But the site of hundreds of children running around and unable to attend school was very gut wrenching. It still breaks my heart. So we cannot say the insurgency is over until all the displaced children return to their schools.

“And, as I indicated last year, it would not be enough for people to simply return to their pre-insurgency lives. We must do better than that otherwise we would only have papered over the wound without really treating it.

“People must return to something better, to hope, to improved schools, to improved economic opportunities, to freedom of worship and improved inter-religious harmony.”

Why Nigeria Finds It Hard To Progress – Atiku

Former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has stated that the continued concentration of power and resources in a central government would continue to suppress the advancement of the nation.

Atiku, who has been a strong advocate for the restructuring of Nigeria, said this yesterday at the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA) Congress held in Enugu.

Atiku, who is the Chairman of the African Veterinary Association (AVA), said “if we diversify the economy but still let the state dominate economic activities as a major investor and competitor against the private sector, we will be unable to unleash our peoples’ productive and entrepreneurial energies.

“One cannot expect a state that confiscates economic resources such as rent to genuinely and enthusiastically promote diverse economic activities.

“Can we realistically expect such a state to embark on the political difficult task of levying and collecting taxes from its citizens and allowing itself to be held accountable?”

The Turakin Adamawa urged the congress to “consider these issues and the role of democratic government in the quest for the diversification of Africa’s economies.

“Does it help or hurt for people to have a say in how they are governed including economic governance, policy development and the accountability of leaders?”

Atiku, therefore, charged AVA and NVMA, to play a critical role in improving African agriculture and the prospects of earning vital foreign exchange from exporting meat and dairy products to the rest of the world.

Atiku Describes Chibok Girls Release As ”Sign Of Things To Come”

Former Vice President and Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar, has described the release of 21 Chibok girls as a sign of things to come and a ray of light on the fight against insurgency in the country.

Similarly, the Buhari Media Support Group said the release of the girls was an attestation of the pragmatism of the Buhari government in resolving issues that had become national challenges for Nigeria and Nigerians.

In a statement from his media office in Abuja, the former Vice President said the news of the release of the 21 girls was a clear indication that hope always wins and prays for the release of the remaining girls who are still in captivity.

While congratulating President Buhari for what he called a monumental achievement and a sign of things to come, Atiku said: “President Buhari assured the country that he would return the Chibok girls to their families, and this is the evidence we all need that he is committed to delivering on his promise.”

He was full of praises for “the role played by the Nigerian military, negotiators, activists and campaigners in ensuring that this milestone was achieved. This just shows how much we can achieve as a people when we stand in unity and faith.”

He challenged the government not to relent in ensuring that the remaining 197 girls are released and reunited with their families.

“If we continue at this positive and commendable rate, the rest of the girls will soon be reunited with their families and Nigerians can close this sad chapter in our nation’s history once and for all.”

Meanwhile, the Buhari Media Support Group (BMSG) said the release of the girls is not just cheering news but a clear evidence of President Buhari’s pragmatic approach to resolving national challenges.

In a statement signed by its Chairman, Mallam Muhammad Labo, and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, made available to The Nation in Abuja, the group commended the President for the achievement and congratulated the parents of the girls for reuniting with their children after over two years in captivity.

The organisation however said that the President should be appreciated for subjecting the dictates of sovereignty that limit negotiation of any sorts with terrorists, officially, to the empathy of parenthood and the soft emotions of a father.

The statement said further that by this singular act, the President has put a smile on the faces of the Nigerian mass by sacrificing the universal doctrine of no negotiation with terrorists for empathy.

The group also said that the release of the girls has further enhanced the people’s confidence in the President as a man who matches his word with action, adding that under 16 months in government, President Buhari has degraded the once dreaded Boko Haram terrorists off Nigerian territory and reduced the once seeming protracted rebellion into a whimper, treacherously seeking out soft targets to register a diminished presence.

Atiku Backs Tinubu, Chides Oyegun Over Handling Of Ondo Primaries

A former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has intervened in the altercation between the national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, charging leaders of the party to promote the rule of law and due process in the conduct of its affairs.

In a statement issued by his Media Office in Abuja on Wednesday, Atiku, who is one of the national leaders of the APC, asserted that “you cannot break your own rules without creating problems”, insisting that the national leadership of the party must live by the rules of internal democracy and respect for democratic consensus.

He spoke against the backdrop of the festering crisis trailing the conduct of the APC gubernatorial primary in Ondo state, and the subsequent submission of the name of Rotimi Akeredolu to INEC as the APC candidate for the forthcoming election in Ondo.

Tinubu’s rumoured anointed candidate for the election, Olusegun Abraham, had opposed the emergence of Akeredolu as candidate, expressing disappointment with Oyegun for allegedly overruling the initial decision of the NWC which ordered the conduct of a fresh primary.

On Sunday, Tinubu demanded the resignation of Odigie-Oyegun , accusing him of favouring an aspirant in the gubernatorial primaries in Ondo State and forcing his choice through using a sleight of hand.

He also stated that the national chairman was perpetrating injustice, said the development showed that there was an evil and regressive force within the APC using Oyegun to derail the party’s democratic and progressive tenets.

Reacting to this development, the former Vice President charged “the APC on the promotion of rule of law and due process in the conduct of its affairs noting that they are germane to the unity and stability of the party.”

He stated that “it is imperative for the national leadership of the party to live by the rules of internal democracy and respect for democratic consensus”, warning that “you cannot break your own rules without creating problems.”

While advising Oyegun to urgently retrace his steps in order to build confidence among aggrieved members, Atiku urged aggrieved members of the APC in the Ondo election “to exercise restraint in seeking redress to the crisis, while also urging the leadership of the party to retrace its steps and do the needful to restore confidence among the conflicting parties in the state for the overall benefit of the ruling party”.

He said the party is supposed to be an impartial entity in the arbitration of crisis among its members in any given election, arguing that “since the APC found veritable reasons to review the outcome of the gubernatorial primary election it conducted in Ondo State, and was able to establish valid grounds to cancel that election and call for a fresh one, the decision to deviate from its own resolution is a negation of due process and an unfashionable hollow in democratic best practices.

“It was wrong for the APC to have set aside a resolution it had reached aimed at resolving the crisis in our party in Ondo State. It is a recipe for acrimony and division,” he stated.

The APC bigwig warned that glossing over such a problem could only worsen the situation, advising the leadership of the party to do a soul-searching and address the issues at stake.

He maintained that the party leadership should always be guided by respect for the rules, fairness, equity, neutrality and respect for democratic consensus, stressing that such were germane to the ruling party’s unity and stability.

APC Holds National Caucus Meeting

President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday night hosted a high-powered meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the new Banquet hall of the presidential villa, Abuja.

The meeting had APC National Caucus as earlier scheduled.

In attendance were APC national leader, Bola Tinubu and many serving governors of the party.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara also attended, while the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar reportedly arrived the venue of the meeting after it started.

Embattled former Kano State Governor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso was present.

The meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC), which is the party’s highest decision making organ, will hold on Thursday, March 24, 2016.

The APC had postponed its Board of Trustees (BoT) meeting by one week.

The is expected to elect Chairman and Secretary of the Board.

APC Postpones BOT Meeting

The All Progressives Congress (APC), has postponed its Board of Trustees (BoT) meeting by one week.

The APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, confirmed the development to Daily Trust.

It was gathered that the meeting was shifted to enable President Muhammadu Buhari participate in the process.

At the meeting, members are expected to elect the Chairman and the Secretary of the Board.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed, Tinubu said to be gunning for the chairmanship position.

Meanwhile, APC National Caucus will meet on Tuesday March 22, 2016 as earlier announced by the APC National Chairman at the Presidential Villa, while the meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC), which is the party’s highest decision making organ, will hold on Thursday, March 24, 2016.

On July 3, 2015, the APC NEC had ratified the completion of the composition of membership of the party’s BoT last July.