The former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo has sighted a ray of hope for Nigeria as regards salvaging the country from disintegration.
However, this ray of hope is based on certain conditions which in his words are, ” If we are ready to live together in understanding, mutual respect, and love with equity, justice, inclusiveness while engendering a sense of belonging and unity of purpose and all hands on deck, we can deal with internal issues of terrorism, organised crimes, banditry, kidnapping Hu Mn, human trafficking, drug, money laundering, and corruption.
He analysed this at a dialogue organised on Friday, September 11 by some socio-cultural political organisations to harmonise their thoughts on Nigeria.
According to Obasanjo, if those conditions are met then the country will be able to successfully combat any incoming terrorism attack, organised crimes and the likes from outside.
He stated that the disintegration of the country is undoubtedly looming as a potential threat to everyone, regardless of tribe, religion, geographical location, social stanfing, age or gender.
He explained, “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 the 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.
Nevertheless, while reviewing the present state of the country, he stated that Nigeria “is becoming a basket case and poverty capital of the world.”
He added that socially, the country was “firming up as an unwholesome and insecure country.” He attributed this phenomenon to the recent mismanagement of diversity and socio-economic development in the country.
He warned those inciting disintegration, bitterness and anger, saying, “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.”
But he urged caution on the part of those beating the drums of disintegration and singing choruses of bitterness, anger, and separation, because according to him,
He added: “And those who prevent justice to be done invite violence to reign.”
In corroboration of his hopefulness for Nigeria, Obasanjo said Nigeria still stood a good chance of weathering the storm.
“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.”
With a sense of optimistism, he said that the 2023 elections should be a watershed for Nigeria.
In his opinion, “2023 should be the beginning of a true and genuine new Nigeria. After over sixty years of independence, we should be able to settle for a united country where nobody would feel oppressed nor have a sense of alienation and where our youth are truth to know, in love and honesty grow, and living just and true, great lofty heights attained, to build a nation where peace and justice shall reign.
“It is long overdue and we should leave no stone unturned to achieve this… Nigeria has gained some experiences and learned some lessons which should stand us in good stead as we move along the process of establishing the fundamental ways of Nigerians living together in peace, security and harmony to satisfy the yearnings of all its population and particularly the youth and to make the necessary impact sub-regionally, continentally and globally.”
The dialogue consultation which was held at Shehu Yar’Adua Center, Abuja had in attendance, Chief Ayo Adebanjo who represented Afenifere, Chief John Nwodo, President of Onanaeze Ndigbo, and a representative of Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark.