Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said that agitations for secession would not have arisen if the country had shown sincere readiness to address the underlying problems that feed the agitations by those he described as separatist forces.
In a statement from his media office in Abuja, the All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain said recent voices in support of restructuring the country and true federalism by leaders and stakeholders were clear indications that he was not a lone voice in the call to restructure the country.
The former vice president has consistently spoken about the need to restructure the country and give true federalism a chance in the past two years. Other notable Nigerians have recently added their voice to the call as a result of recent events in the country.
Hailing the APC Progressive Governors Forum for supporting the call for restructuring and true federalism, Atiku said the issue transcends religion and ethnicity.
He described as patriotic the convergence of positions around restructuring by leaders and stakeholders from diverse regions of the country.
“The agitations for secession would not have arisen, if the country had shown sincere readiness to address the underlying problems that feed the agitations by separatist forces.
“The restructuring debate transcends the ambition of any single politician in Nigeria, and that any attempt to ignore the agitations could make a bad situation more complicated.”
He explained that avoiding a problem won’t solve that problem, adding that with so much hate, distrust, suspicions and fears in the country, political leaders shouldn’t be afraid to confront the challenge.
Atiku stressed that the present federal structure should be freely discussed by allowing the federating units voice their grievances with a view to finding workable solutions that protects the rights and interests of all.
He maintained that the country could not afford to allow bottled up frustrations of the people to explode into violence, which threatens not only innocent lives, but also harms the country’s economic assets.
Atiku, therefore, lauded the Progressive APC Governors, other leaders and groups for their courage to confront the country’s most urgent national challenge.
He added that separatist agitations were dangerously threatening the country’s unity and indivisibility, saying no country could afford to take these threats lightly.