Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has attributed the misrepresentation of his recent remark regarding the stance of some northerners on restructuring to his detractors who, he said, are seeking for an opportunity to pull him down.
While clarifying reports that he called opponents of restructuring “lazy,” the Waziri Adamawa stated that he could not have called his own people lazy, especially hard working people.
Atiku, in a statement signed on Monday by his Media Adviser, Mazi Paul Ibe, said he was referring to lazy elite in the North who are resisting restructuring because they see political power as a permanent source of economic advantages while the masses suffer.
The former vice president was quoted as saying that restructuring is not just a northern issue, but a challenge of nationhood that cannot be swept under the carpet by any sincere Nigerian.
Ibe maintained that his principal could not have called hardworking northern farmers lazy, reiterating that those afraid of Nigeria’s restructuring are lazy elites feeding fat on the country’s resources.
“Atiku Abubakar is a Nigerian of northern origin. If he puts down the North, doesn’t he put himself down? His value as a person is irrevocably tied to that of Nigeria and the region that God chose to originate him from,” he said.
Clarifying his principal’s position in a report which quoted him as stating that the North is not prepared for restructuring, Ibe explained that northern Nigeria is endowed with vast, natural and human resources, and therefore, it should not be scared of competition which restructuring entails.
He pointed out that there is no section of Nigeria that does not have abundance of untapped resources that cannot be put into effective and efficient use for development.
Atiku’s media aide added that agriculture and solid minerals are sources of economic power and influence if properly developed.
He also stated that the North should be proud of what it has, and that the food basket of Nigeria, the North, can develop its agricultural resources into exportable economic advantage.
“It is a historical fact that northern Nigeria, and more specifically, the Kanem Bornu Empire and southern Nigeria, more specifically, the ancient Benin Kingdom, are the birthplace of some of the oldest civilisations on earth.
“What does that teach us? It teaches us that the North and the South have a great history which should be a stepping stone to an even greater future.
“Northern Nigeria can learn from other regions, just as other regions can learn from northern Nigeria. Northern and southern Nigeria are in symbiosis with each other, not competition,” the statement read in part.