Buhari must introduce true federalism – Attah


11 Jul 2016

Buhari must introduce true federalism – Attah

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Victor Attah advised President Buhari to work towards re-nogotiating the unity of the country

He said the south south feels it has been exploited too much

He insisted other regions needed to also contribute to the federation’s account

Obong Victor Attah who is the former governor of Akwa Ibom has said that Nigeria’s unity is negotiable and that President Muhammadu Buhari must work towards it instead of exploiting the south south.

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Vanguard reports the former governor in an apparent response to President Buhari’s assertion that the country’s unity was non-negotiable said the current structure the country was operating was not workable.

He said the country needed to practice fiscal federalism as that was the true solution to the country’s problem.

“Things that are happening in Nigeria are really very worrisome. There are those who feel some perception of injustice in the system. It is a perception, but sometimes, perception could be reality.

treasury looters
treasury looters

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“We need to look at the situation holistically, and where there is justification, you correct them, and where there is none, you explain to the people why they should not have doubts or fears about them, if you wish, even-handedness of the government towards any part of the federation.

“But it points to one fundamental thing, that, we are still in the process of forming a country.

“If we had had one solid firm country, you would have found that a lot of these fears would not arise; there would be common fears, common to everybody but now they are sectional fears, sectional problems which means we have not really forged a country and there is an absolute and urgent need for that to happen.

“You have to renegotiate. If you talk about renegotiation, some people think you want to split the country. No, it is like everytime they tell you to go and investigate somebody, you think it means you must go and find that person guilty. No, do not forget that they investigated Dr Alex Ekwueme and came back and said in fact, he was poorer than when he went in (to government).

READ ALSO: BUHARI VISIT THE NIGER DELTA AND SEE FOR YOURSELF.

The people of Nigeria are dissatisfied with the current federal arrangement or whatever is binding them together now and are saying they want to renegotiate the terms of staying together.

“The President quoted Gowon. Gowon had said that keeping Nigeria one is a task that must be achieved. That task was achieved by military means. He (Buhari) is not a military man now, he is a democrat, a politician.

So, the only means politicians have is to negotiate. “So, what did you mean by you won’t negotiate? If you want to keep Nigeria one today, you must negotiate the terms and conditions of the people staying together and it goes back to the conference report, it goes back to the concept of fiscal federalism.

“You would find out that in the final analysis, that is what everybody would be saying to you. Go and study as religiously as you can, the constitutions of 1960 and 1963. “What is restructuring? Several people have used that word and have not been able to say what they mean.

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“The few that have actually attempted to say what they mean either end up talking about going back to the regions as we had them before or adopting the six-zonal structure that had been proposed for Nigeria, which actually is in current usage but has not been sanctioned by the constitution of Nigeria. Others just use the word restructuring because it is almost like a buzz word, it is a popular thing to say now.

“I do not want to be caught up in the semantics. I will subscribe, absolutely and entirely, to the concept of fiscal federalism. People ask what is the difference between fiscal federalism and restructuring and I will explain.

“I am convinced that fiscal federalism can be practised with even the 36 state-structure and one federal capital territory that we have today in Nigeria. In fact, I can say, it is a must, for there to be peace and harmony, understanding among the federating units.”

Attah insisted that the south south region feels that it is being over exploited and that other regions should contribute to the federation account.

READ ALSO: Buhari Must Not Mistake Our Maturity For Weakness – Nigerian Senate Slams FG

“Why haven’t the tar sands been exploited and so that they can go ahead and even have more money than the South-South, if you like, put together? It is just because we have refused to accept the concept of fiscal federalism. The governor of Kaduna was the one that said there is more gold in Kaduna than the whole of South Africa. “I am quoting the governor of Kaduna State.

So, why should Kaduna State not be able to meet all of its obligations and put a lot of money into the federation account, which I condemn.

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News Source: AskBBCNews, 9jaTales

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