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Three things we learned from Atiku’s statement

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Former Nigerian vice president Atiku Abubakar has listed reasons why the country should continue to unite despite the challenges and demands for division.

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Abubakar in a statement on Sunday listed reasons why Nigerians must grow in unity and must disregard rhetorics and actions that can further polarise the country.

Here are the three things we learned from the statement.

Disagrees with southern governors on open grazing ban
The former vice president seemed to not be in support of the major resolutions reached by the southern governors even though he said he understood the “wisdom” behind their decisions.

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Chief among the decisions the governors reached in Asaba last week was the ban on open grazing in all southern states, renewed call for restructuring of the country and for President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation as insecurity spikes.

Open grazing of cattle is one of the most vexatious issues in Nigeria. It has, in the last few years, led to fatal clashes between herders, who moved the cattle from one place to another in search of pasture, and farmers, especially in north-central and southern Nigeria.

But Atiku noted that problems Nigeria currently faces were created by those with regional mindset and should not be resolved with those with similar mindset.

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“We have a national challenge. And as Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them,” Abubakar said.

Solidarity for Buhari?
In 2018, while campaigning to be Nigeria’s president, Atiku Abubakar publicly said he would restructure in six months if he became the president.

He claimed he would be able to achieve ” fast level of restructuring” as a president by ceding resources and responsibilities to states.

“It’s very easy to deal with it because there is no state that you will call and say ‘I want to give you this responsibility together with the resources’, and will say ‘no’,” Atiku said.

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But in his Sunday statement, the former vice president tasked the states with lead the move for restructuring even though the states cannot force the federal government to cede its responsibilities.

He said governors must stop waiting on Abuja to make changes, and instead convene a National Unity Summit of all Nigerian Governors to iron out the thorny issues affecting the destiny of our nation until they figure out a way to resolve them.

“That is why for anyone to emerge as President of Nigeria, he or she must secure enough votes in two-thirds of the states that make up the Nigerian federation,” Abubakar said

“Let us apply this wisdom to our present challenges.”

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Atiku’s stance mirrored that of the Senate President Ahmed Lawan.

Lawan said the state governors must ensure that they restructure their respective states first before calling for restructuring at the federal level.

“I believe that when somebody calls for improving the structure that we have, it is a genuine call,” Lawan said.

“But I want to advice here, I believe that as leaders those of us who were elected must not be at the forefront of calling for this kind of thing because even if you are a governor, you are supposed to be working hard in your state to ensure that this restructuring you are calling for at the federal level you have done it in your state as well.”

Nigeria no longer the Big Brother
Abubakar noted that Nigeria cannot afford to be divided. Abubakar, Nigeria’s vice president from 1999 to 2007, said the country has not fared well in terms of index and statics as the country is featuring prominently on the failed state index.

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“We cannot afford it because, according to the Global Terror Index, our beloved nation is now the third most terrorised nation on Earth.

“We are featuring prominently on the Failed States Index, and the symbols of our nation, our currency, our passport, and our international standing are fast losing value,” Abubakar said.

He further stated that knowledge comes with a duty to act, and to act together.

“We must be mindful of the fact that one in four Africans is a Nigerian. And one in seven Black people on Earth is Nigerian. Therefore, being so centrally placed by God, it ought to be clear to us that it is our duty to be a beacon of light to the Black World.

If we succeed as a nation, our successes will resonate beyond our borders. It will give hope to the Black Diaspora and increase the standing of Black people all over the world.

He said so much is at stake as the nation is too centrally located to be dislocated.

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