Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has stated that Nigeria can be saved from imminent disintegration, which he said is “fast drifting to a failed and badly divided state.”
Obasanjo who said, “economically our country is becoming a basket case and poverty capital of the world, and socially, we are firming up as an unwholesome and insecure country,” described the development as “products of recent mismanagement of diversity and socio-economic development of our country.”
He stressed that, “Old fault lines that were disappearing have opened up in greater fissures and with drums of hatred, disintegration and separation and accompanying choruses being heard loud and clear almost everywhere.”
The former leader spoke at a closed door two-day consultative dialogue he convened involving major socio-cultural political organisations such as Afenifere, Northern Elders’ Forum, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Middle Belt Forum and Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF between Wednesday and Thursday but which communiqué was released on Friday.
Speaking and cautioning those who want the nation’s disintegration, Obasanjo said; “we must remind those who are beating the drums of disintegration and singing choruses of bitterness, anger and separation that if even Nigeria is broken up, the separated parts will still be neighbours. And they will have to find accommodation as neighbours or they will be ever at war. And those who prevent justice to be done, invite violence to reign.
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On how Nigeria can be saved from imminent disintegration, the former President said there is a ray hope that the country can be saved and that can be achieved by collective efforts.
“With what I have seen, read and heard from the rapprochement that you are forging together, I see a ray of hope that Nigeria can be saved from disintegration. If we are ready to live together in understanding, mutual respect and love with equity, justice, inclusiveness while engendering sense of belonging and unity of purpose and all hands on deck, we can deal with internal issues of terrorism, organised crimes, banditry, kidnapping, human trafficking, drug, money laundering and corruption. We will then be able to deal successfully with any incoming attack of terrorism, organised crimes, etc, from outside.
“Today, that is a sure threat dangling over the heads of all of us, no matter our tribe, religion, geographical location, social standing, age or gender. That ray of hope was somewhat manifested in the last ten days or so, when the Northern Elders Forum and Yoruba Summit Group complemented each other in their separate press releases on the Senate idea of inviting submissions from Nigerian public for Constitution amendment which had been regular money-gulping activity by every National Assembly Session since 1999, a veritable source of waste without end.
“I believe one of our major problems in the past was that we did not dialogue enough, we talk at ourselves and selfishly, keep old prejudices and biases. If we show understanding, give-and-take, love of one another and commitment and love of the country, we will do what is right and stand firmly together for the good of all.”
He further warned that “Frustration leads to desperation and nobody can be sure of what desperation can lead to. We are here to start the process of putting those other measures together and to continue to enlarge the circle from this mini-dialogue group bit by bit until a national dialogue that can save Nigeria from disintegration is reached and when that is done, this initiative will come to an end.”
“Fixing Nigeria is the duty of all Nigerians and even the duty of friends of Nigeria. Some people are obsessed with 2023, I believe that with death, destruction, debt, disease, deceit, disbelief, disenchantment, doubt and suspicion around, we need to see our way through to 2023 and beyond in some form of unity of purpose, reasonable security, shared values, true democratic practice, inclusiveness and shared society. That is why we are here. No constitution is even permanent; it is dynamic with time and experience.
“We may not need to re-invent the wheel. If 2023 is critical, I believe that there are sufficient documents in the confabs of 2005, 2014, the works of both the Senate and the House of Representatives and other works by other groups on fundamental way of Nigerians living together as good brothers and sisters in love, mutual understanding and respect, equity and fast development and growth in security, safety, cooperation and healthy competition”, he canvassed.
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