Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the former Senate President, has expressed his views on the persisting challenges surrounding Nigeria’s restructuring.
Many Nigerians, groups, and individuals believe that the country has to be reorganized in order to bring equity and justice to all of the country’s regions, with some even claiming that this is the only way the country can remain united.
But, in response to queries at an Independence Day luncheon in Abuja over the weekend commemorating Nigeria’s 61st Independence Day, Saraki, who is also a former Governor of Kwara State, recommended Nigerians to seek better governance instead.
Government officials, he claims, must ensure that development occurs in all sections of the country, arguing that people will not be content to live in a country if only one part is developing.
In such circumstances, he argued, it was unthinkable to believe the country would remain united and peaceful.
The former Senate President stated that when it comes to restructuring, Nigerians should consider what they are getting from the government, noting that it is the government’s inability to meet the expectations of the people that has sparked the restructuring movement.
“I believe that the government’s inability to deliver on the people’s ideals and aspirations has prompted us to look inward to determine whether there is something structurally wrong. That’s why you hear people say things like “maybe we should give the states more power; maybe we should give the regions more power.”
“In my opinion, we must ensure that the most viable methods of governance are available at all levels. Saraki stated, “This involves making our state more viable.”
“We’re saying this because we’ve seen a failure at the heart of things. I believe we must address the issues that plague our country. The most important issue is one of opportunity for all of us. It’s what I refer to as the democratization of opportunity.
“Today, a lot of people don’t feel like they belong. They do not feel that opportunities are equally distributed. That is something we must return to. We need to create an environment in which all of us believe we have a fair opportunity of going where we want to go, and we need to make sure that some of us do not believe we are being held back.”
Furthermore, the former National Assembly leader stated that states and local governments must begin to address what makes them viable, since this will help them earn revenue.
“When there is action, you only have internally created revenue. It is impossible to generate from a state of inactivity.
This is why we have a VAT issue. Because the number of sites where commercial activity can take place is limited,” he noted.
“Some states assume that revenue from other states is being shared with them…
The fact is that we must make each state viable. It is conceivable to make every state viable if policies are in place that stimulate specific investments in certain sectors… I believe it is possible, but we must first have the ability to comprehend the problem.
“In the eighth Senate, we enacted a bill on how to earn revenue through road authorities. Trying to see if particular sums were being paid for road repair around the country, but due to the issue, it didn’t see the light.
“I’m informed the same bill is about to be passed right now. Six years have been lost; if that bill had been approved six years ago, the country would have generated enough revenue, and these are just a few instances of what we need to accomplish.
“There is a lot of talk about restructuring, but I believe we need to look at how we are governed first. There are things we need to do, and we need to ensure that how we are governed and how Nigeria’s riches are allocated is fair and equitable.
“We must also ensure that development occurs in all parts of the country. It is impossible to see development in one part of the country and believe that the country will remain united. In some parts of the world, there are incentives to see investment in places where there is no investment.