A former Nigerian Presidential candidate Pat Utomi says the over-reliance by the northern region of the country on the federal government for revenue has made them unproductive and afraid of restructuring.
Utomi, a professor of political economy stated this at a virtual media parley ahead of the ‘Never Again’ conference to mark 51 years after the civil war and noted that some politicians in the north are afraid of restructuring because they are uncertain about where it will lead them.
“The north largely relies on the federal government for their share of revenue, which has made them really unproductive.
“There is a real crisis in the north that the south does not understand. They are painters of people who hate each other very much; that is the truth of the matter. That is why they are scared of restructuring because they don’t know where it will lead them, and outside of Nigeria, they are formless; there is no north,” he said.
Utomi, however, urged northerners to dismiss such fears, saying restructuring will help them “become productive and move away from the poverty status”.
The professor also announced a second edition of the ‘Never Again’ conference, which he said will feature Matthew Kukah, the fiery bishop of Sokoto Catholic diocese, as the keynote speaker, while former President Olusegun Obasanjo will be the special guest of honour.
“It is recalled that Nigeria fought a bitter and internecine 30-month civil war that left in its wake a sharply divided nation with mutual suspicion, hatred and resentment across racial and regional lines. An estimated one million victims were killed immediately before and during the war,” he said
“The conference will x-ray the issues that led to the civil war and the need for patriots to work together to achieve national cohesion, especially in light of several centrifugal tendencies within the polity.”