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Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo says Nigeria is fast drifting into a ‘failed and badly divided state’ under President Muhammadu Buhari.
This, he said, 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,” Obasanjo said.
Obasanjo spoke while delivering a paper titled “Moving Nigeria Away From Tipping Over’ at a consultative dialogue in Abuja.
The dialogue held behind closed door took place between September 9 and 10, according to the information made available to NewsWireNGR..
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.
Obasanjo said “Let me welcome all of you to this initiative of rubbing minds among the key socio-cultural political organisations with a view to harmonising our thoughts on Nigeria, the only country we have for now. I crave your indulgence for taking the liberty to invite you for this mini-dialogue because I know that you are all concerned patriots and nationalists.
“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.
“It would appear that anybody not dancing to the drum beat nor joining in chorus singing would be earmarked as ethnically unpatriotic or enemy of its tribe or geographical area. In short, the country is fast moving to the precipice. But happily, I observed that the five socio-cultural political groups gathered “here have been getting together to find common ground, areas of agreement or accord for moving Nigeria away from tipping over.
“Before continuing, let me say that 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.
“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.”
Continuing, Obasanjo said “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.
“In the process of consultation and informing people about this initiative, in spite of general disenchantment with what is going on as far as the performance of the present administration is concerned, most people still give Nigeria a chance of puling through to a united and wholesome, fast-developing and progress-making country provided we take care of what some term as restructuring and others term as devolution of power, responsibilities and resources. And even those that may be called hardliners maintain that self-determination, disintegration, separation is a last resort when other measures have been prevented or other measures have failed to materialise.”
He expressed concern that some Nigerians have been obsessed with 2023, despite the challenges of debt, death, destruction and disease.
According to him, Nigerians must see their way through to 2023 and beyond in some form of unity of purpose, reasonable security, shared values, true democratic practice, inclusiveness and shared society.
Obasanjo said Nigerians’ objectives is to make 2023 a watershed and the beginning of a true and genuine new Nigeria.
He said “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.
“Our plurality and diversity are meant to give us all strength, courage and power to excel and to go forward and go far together. When we mismanage plurality and diversity which is the creation of God, we act against the purpose and will of God which, to me, is sin. We weaken ourselves rather than use the power of our number for the good of all of us. We are here to begin the process of finding the best mechanism to manage our plurality and diversity for unity of purpose, love of one another and love and fear of God.
“We must make each of us one another’s keeper. Our objective should be to make 2023 a watershed. 2023 should be the beginning of a true and genuine new Nigeria.”
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