Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has said Nigeria is slowly becoming a failed, divided state, and the poverty capital of the world.
Obasanjo specifically said 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 President stressed that he has never seen the country in such a bad state and therefore pointedly put the blame of the current state of the country on poor management of the nation’s diversity.
Obasanjo stated these in Abuja at a consultative dialogue attended by various socio-cultural groups including Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo and Pan Niger Delta Forum.
He however warned against calls for war and secession, saying that for Nigeria to successfully tackle its challenges, the problem of disunity must first be addressed.
According to Obasanjo; “I do appreciate that you all feel sad and embarrassed as most of us feel as Nigerians with the situation we find ourselves in today. Nigeria is fast drifting to a failed and badly divided state. 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.
“And these manifestations are the products of recent mismanagement of diversity and socio-economic development of our country. 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,” he noted.
Obasanjo also said that if Nigerians are ready to live together in understanding, mutual respect and love with equity, justice, inclusiveness while engendering sense of belonging and unity of purpose, internal issues of terrorism, organised crimes, banditry, kidnapping, human trafficking, drug, money laundering and corruption will be dealt with.
The former president described the proposed review of the Nigerian constitution as a money-gulping activity and veritable source of waste without end, adding that one of the major problems, is the lack of dialogue as leaders keep old prejudices and biases. Obasanjo commended groups like the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) for openly opposing the constitutional review as well.
He further said; “That ray of hope was somewhat manifested in the last 10 days or so when the Northern Elders Forum and Yoruba Summit Group complemented each other in their separate press releases on the Senate’s 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 said.
Obasanjo expressed optimism that the consultation among the several groups would enlarge the circle from the mini-dialogue group in bits until a national dialogue that could save Nigeria from disintegration was reached.
Obasanjo said that only self-deluded people would claim that all is well in Nigeria as he wondered why leaders are more fixated on the 2023 elections rather than addressing the ills ravaging the nation.
He further said; “I believe Nigeria is worth saving on the basis of mutuality and reciprocity and I also believe it can be done through the process of dialogues rather than talking at each other or resorting to violence. It will amount to dangerous and destructive self-delusion for anybody to claim that all is well in Nigeria today.
“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.” – Curled From PREMIUM TIMES