He said the administration has not fixed the country and made it work.
Atiku condemned increasing banditry in the country, saying
it will not be suprising if bandits and kidnappers apply for registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and seek listing at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
The former Vice President said Nigeria must restructure to foster accelerated development.
He said fixing Nigeria would prevent sleep-walking into disaster.
Atiku spoke at a public presentation of a book titled, “Remaking Nigeria: Sixty Years, Sixty Voices” which was edited by Chido Onumah.
He said it was unfortunate that calls for restructuring have not been heeded.
Atiku said the government was making what he described as “utterly confusing and unproductive” efforts at economic development.
He said: “When people see their leaders making those efforts genuinely, and experience improvements in their lives, they are likely to follow. Over the past six years the leadership of this country at the federal level hardly embarked on nation-building.
“They may have been making (utterly confusing and unproductive) efforts at economic development. However, it can be rightly argued that they have been un-building the nation by taking conscious and deliberate actions that not only make nation-building more difficult but also undo the achievements made in that regard by previous administrations.
“As we all know there were deliberate attempts made since the 1960s to forge a nation out of Nigeria: states creation, federal character, the NYSC, power rotation, unity schools, and multiple federal agencies.
“However imperfect, these were genuine attempts at giving each segment of the country a sense of belonging and a semblance of justice and equity and promote interactions among our peoples. “All it has taken is one administration in six short years to tear up the fabric of that unity and make more Nigerians lose faith in Nigeria and question the rationale for having one united country.
“One lesson there for all of us is the need to always be vigilant and be prepared to defend our democracy, for it is through the democratic process that we can more easily promote the unity of our country.
“I strongly believe that Nigeria can and will remain one strong and united nation with significant strides in economic development to improve the lives of our peoples. However, we must not take it for granted.
The former Vice President also accused the government of ignoring constitutional provisions on federal character to make the ethnic groups have a sense of belonging.
He lamented “the agitations that turned more groups into “Biafrans” have become even more strident and, in some cases, violent”.
The former Vice President, who chaired the event said rather than striving to fix or restructure the country, Nigeria “seems to be sprinting full speed towards disaster”.
He said: “Yes, the Chibok girls had been kidnapped and held in captivity seven years ago. Yes, conflicts between herders and farmers had been with us before 2016. But who would have thought that our country would become a haven for kidnappers and all manner of bandits to the extent that their nefarious activities would become a major industry?
“They have been allowed to operate so openly and brazenly that it would surprise no one if they applied for registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission and listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
“Five years ago, the Abuja – Kaduna Road was not a virtual no-go area. The South- East was not a virtual war-zone, and Amotekun was not needed to protect lives and property in the South West.
“These are among the clearest evidence that the issues that were the focal point of the book that brought us here more than five years ago have become even worse.”
Atiku maintained that “fixing or restructuring the county will help in our nation-building project because it will help to foster a sense of nationhood out of our disparate groups, cultures, religions, and regions.
He added: “It is obvious that a country is not necessarily a nation. Nationhood has to be forged through what we do as a country, and leadership is critical in the process of nation-building.
“Leaders give direction and the example they set determines the extent to which their followers will trust them. Without trust, there’s no leadership. Without leadership, a country drifts and becomes more difficult to forge into a nation.”
– The Nation