Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and Governor Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, yesterday, expressed divergent views on state of the nation, as the former blamed Nigeria’s problems on the system and not leadership, which the latter stoutly opposed.


While Atiku insisted that it was dishonest to say the system was not  the cause of Nigeria’s problem, the Kebbi State governor, who was represented on the occasion by Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, said some of the problems with Nigeria had to do with its managers.


Both leaders spoke in Abuja while presenting a book, ‘Nigerian Federalism: Continuing Quest for Stability and Nation-Building, published by African Policy Research Institute.


According to Atiku, there is no ideal federal system, as each nation has to work out the best federal system suited for it.


He said: “In Nigeria’s case, we must acknowledge that it is disingenuous, if not outright dishonest, to say that the system is not the problem.


“If the problem is just the operators, how come we have failed for 50 years to produce the right people? Should we import them from outer space?” He queried.


Citing Section 7 of the 1999 constitution, the former vice president said the section had 83 legislative items, against 15 for states, which the Federal Government could also override.


He said: “I challenge anyone, who is against restructuring our federation, to show me another well-functioning federal system in the world with that level of lopsided central dominance. Individuals operate within certain structural and institutional constraints.


“If all we lack are good operators, as these people argue, would anyone advocate doing away with constitutions altogether so we rely on fantastic individuals to do the right thing?”


Advocates of LG autonomy, misguided


Atiku also stated that the current agitation for local government autonomy was misguided as it was “inconsistent with establishing a viable and well-functioning federal system.


“In 2012, I went before ALGON in Enugu and told them that their clamor for local government autonomy from state governments is misguided. I told them that it is wrong for the Federal Government to be creating local governments and giving them money directly from the federation account.


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