Atiku, Soludo advocate abolition of state of origin concept

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar

Nigeria should do away with the state of origin concept, Atiku and Soludo.

A former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, and a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Charles Soludo, have called for the abolition of the state of origin concept in Nigeria if the country is to make any meaningful progress.

The duo spoke at the Founders day ceremony of the American University of Nigeria, AUN, held on Saturday at the main campus of the school in Yola, Adamawa State.

Mr. Soludo was the key note speaker at the event where he presented a paper titled “The University, Citizenship, and National Development in Nigeria”.

“Nigeria has a major citizenship question with too much emphasis on state of origin,” Mr. Soludo said.

He decried the situation where one leaves his state of origin and relocates to another state within the country and is treated as a foreigner.

The former CBN governor said there is too much allegiance to state and quota system which greatly impedes on the development of the country.

“Where you have a nation that continuously reminds you of where you come from, you are unlikely going to have a citizenship consciousness that is required for a national transformation.

“In Nigeria, residence means very little. Once you leave your ‘state of origin’, you remain a ‘foreigner’ or a ‘non-indigene’ even in your own country. Even if five generations of your family have lived in a place other than the original state of your forefathers, you are still a non-indigene and will be discriminated against,” he said.

Mr. Soludo said the country should, therefore, adopt a state of residence concept so that people who are genuinely qualified to contribute to the growth and development of the country or their immediate community are not denied the opportunity to do so because of their background.

“The starting point for Nigeria’s development is for the country to abolish the concept of state of origin at all levels and replace it with state of residence, we must create a new set of Nigerians that would develop Nigeria”

Mr. Soludo said in many states, the concept of ‘indigenes’ vs. non-indigenes has surfaced. Civil servants hitherto recruited in the civil service before states were created were required to go back to their states of origin. Those still remaining in the employment of the ‘old’ state knew that their fate hung on the balance, and were often dismissed without notice. Non-indigenes are often employed on contract basis while permanent, pensionable positions are reserved for indigenes

“No country in the world has developed without a strong sense of citizenship and nationalism because nationalism and patriotism cannot be preached but only lived,” the former bank chief stated.

He also said Nigeria’s education system is going down the drain because universities have become enclaves of villages.

“It is difficult to find the Vice Chancellor of a University be it Federal or whatever in any state that doesn’t come from that particular state or a neighbouring state, and when you look at the configuration of the staff that teach in that University, they are dominated by the sons and daughters of the soil; we keep breeding garbage in, garbage out,” he said.

Also speaking, AUN founder and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, said he and Mr. Soludo always agreed on any matter during the meeting of the Economic Council which he chaired as VP. He aligned himself with most of the positions postulated by Mr. Soludo.

“Anytime we met in our government, we seem to have vey identical views on issues, whether economic, political or social, I therefore stand to associate with most of the things he said in his lecture,” Mr. Abubakar said.

The AUN founders’ day is organised every November 25 to honour Mr. Abubakar for, in the words of AUN’s President, Margee Ensign, “boundless generosity in terms of support to the AUN” and to also present a score card of the university’s’ activities in the last one year.

Other highlights of the occasion were the induction of some students into the Honours Society Students where students who maintained Cumulative Grade Points of 3.5 are made members.

Also some members of staff of AUN who distinguished themselves in their areas of responsibility were honoured.

Mr. Abubakar also presented plaques to members of AUN’s planning and implementation Committee who were responsible for setting up the AUN.

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