Grazing reserve: Atiku disagrees with FG, Northern Govs, says restructuring Nigeria is inevitable


Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has disagreed with the Federal Government and Northern State Governors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for agitating for grazing reserves in the 21st Century where he said technology has advance the process of cattle rearing, while asserting that restructuring the country is inevitable.
The former Vice President who presented a paper on the memorial conference of Late General Hassan Usman Katsina with the theme “Challenges of National Integration and the survival of Democracy in Nigeria” said “as a country we have mightily struggled to live up to ideal. We have obviously not done enough to realized national integration and the survival of democracy is still a work in progress’’.
“When we have had the opportunity to take advantage of advances in technology and produce even fatter animals to meet the country’s rising demand for meat, the concept of grazing reserves is rather been propagated, this is what the rest of the world have done’’ he maintained.
Abubakar further reiterated the need to promote diverse economic activities to reduce over dependence on oil.
“It is the raising dominance of oil revenues that led us to abandon cash crops and food agriculture but before oil, agriculture was our main industry and we tax it’’.
Atiku however recommended that governors should do more on internally generated revenues to complement Federal Allocations and an honest and clear–headed look at better working federal systems in the world saying those systems will reveal among other things, a greater devolution and autonomy for federating units and less interference of the center on local matters.
The former Nigerian Vice President however re-echoed his ealier call for the restructuring of country’s system, asserting that it is inevitable, stressing that the fragile unity of the nation is been threatened with sentiments.
Hewarned the North not to shy away from the negotiation, but be part and percel of the debate, make input in the interest of the region and the country at large.
“I am not trying to be a messenger of doom but to alert us to the serious challenges ahead if we do not take immediate corrective actions both in our economic and our politics” he enthused.
He further stressed that devolution of more powers and responsibilities to the federating units with the resources extended on them will be helpful to the economic and socio-political recovery as well as development of the North in particular as Nigeria needs same.
He advocated for a revisit of the current geopolitical zones to becoming the federating units to stop the clamour for the creation of additional states as the federating units can decide to have as many local authorities as it deems.
“As our history has shown, a strong centre does not translate to a strong and better base. We should begin to think strategically about how to develop this region (North) as a collective and our states in each geopolitical zone should embark on how to work together to share responsibilities”, he suggested.
He stressed that it is a mistake for the region to think that restructuring of the polity will be a mistake, pointing out that as long as the federal government continues with over-riding power; there will remain instability.
He affirmed that national integration is achievable in Nigeria when the North do the little things that will help in that regard including intangibles as values, ideology and sense of investment that help to foster sense of national integration as “these are more effective than forcing or bribing people to stay together”.
“I suggest we resolve today to support calls for the restructuring of the Nigerian federation in order to strengthen its unity and stabilize its democracy. I believe that restructuring will eventually happen whether we like, or support it or not.
“The question is whether it will happen around a conference table, in a direction influenced by us (Northerners) and whether we will be equal partners in the process. Or will it happen in a more unpredictable arena and in a manner over which we have little influence? He asked.
The occasion had Former Head of State General Yakubu Gowon as Chairman and was personally in attendance. President Muhammadu Buhari was represented by the Minister if Interior General Abdulrahman Danbazau.
It was however very apt as all the Northern Governors including the host Governor Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-rufai shunned the memorial Conference with only Deputy Governors of Kaduna and Katsina who came to represent their principals.
Other top dignataries in attendance included justice Mamman Nasir, Ambassador MAgaji Muhammed, Alhaji Mutalab, Lawal Kaita, Saidu Barda, Adamu Fika, General ABM Haruna, Professor Ango Abdulahi, Emirs of  Katsina, Zuru, Gwandu among others.


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