FORMER Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Thursday dismissed insinuations that restructuring of the country would benefit the South to the disadvantage of the North, urging Northern opponents of the proposal not to kill themselves over the South’s vanishing oil.
This was just as General Ibrahim Babangida (retd), affirmed that Nigerians must come together, irrespective of political or ethnicities, to frontally confront the issues that challenge the unity of the country.
They spoke at the launch of a book, “In the belly of vultures,” written by veteran journalist and erstwhile Managing Director of Daily Times of Nigeria, Tola Adeniyi.
In attendance for the book launch were some of the country’s leading personalities, among whom were some former governors, including Aremo Segun Osoba (Ogun), Dr. Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), Gbenga Daniel (Ogun), Otunba Niyi Adebayo (Ekiti), among several other dignitaries which also included Vanguard publisher, Mr Sam Amuka, and former Concord Newspapers Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Doyin Abiola.
Affirming that restructuring was not a sectional agenda, Atiku, who was represented by Prof. Maxwell Gidado, said: “Restructuring is not a sectional thing or sectional demand. And it will not benefit only some sections of the country and hurt others. It will benefit the whole country.
“Those who fear that it is designed to hurt them to the benefit of others or to benefit only them at the expense of others are grossly mistaken.
“A country, including its economy, is like an organism. Thus, what affects one part affects the other parts and the country as a whole. The existing structure impedes our progress as a nation irrespective of what specific sections think.
“Similarly, restructuring, if properly done, will benefit the whole nation, whatever the short term inconveniences a section or sections may feel.”
Noting current geopolitical squabble over oil resources, Atiku said: “Our current structure, which is based on oil rents, is vulnerable because oil has probably reached its peak as the chief energy source for the world economy.
“You probably know that the world’s major automobile manufacturers and oil consumers have announced dates between 2025 and 2040 to end the manufacture and sale of fossil fuel-only vehicles.
“This is important for all of us and especially for those in the oil-producing region, where some people sometimes talk about restructuring as though it is designed to punish the North. The good news for the North is that a restructured Nigeria is in the North’s long-term economic interest.
“We should not be fighting for a bigger share of what is a disappearing resource. It amounts to a fight for a bigger share of the past, and not the future. So both the oil-bearing sections and non-oil bearing sections of this country need to pay more attention to agriculture, fisheries, renewable energy, biotechnology, information technology, Nano-technology, artificial intelligence and so on.”