Obasanjo Calls for Restructuring of Nigeria to Avoid Disintegration

Obasanjo Calls for Restructuring of Nigeria to Avoid Disintegration

…Says Papering over Obvious Cracks in Nigeria’s Polity, is Not the Answer …Wants Forthright Citizens Imbued with Courage to Spearhead Crusade for New Nigeria Former President, Dr Olusegun Obasanjo says without restructuring of Nigeria’s federating units, the country “will remain insecure, unstable, non-progressive and stagnated at best or disintegrated at the worst.”  He argues that

…Says Papering over Obvious Cracks in Nigeria’s Polity, is Not the Answer

…Wants Forthright Citizens Imbued with Courage to Spearhead Crusade for New Nigeria

Former President, Dr Olusegun Obasanjo says without restructuring of Nigeria’s federating units, the country “will remain insecure, unstable, non-progressive and stagnated at best or disintegrated at the worst.”  He argues that papering over the obvious cracks in Nigeria’s polity is not the answer nor tearing up or seeking disintegration the solution.

Speaking at the virtual 2020 Annual Sobo Sowemimo Lecture in Abeokuta, Ogun state, Obasanjo noted that the Federal Government is overwhelmed with the spate of insecurity, making restructuring imperative.

Delivering the lecture titled “COVID – 19 Pandemic and Nigeria Security Issues: the way forward”, organized by the Abeokuta Club, the former President accused governments at all levels of ineffectiveness, calling on Nigerians to launch and promote such a crusade on the slogan “Security Matters To All; No security, No Nigeria.”

Obasanjo said, “There is no time to stand and stare or just to continue to call on governments that are ineffective.

“Let us take initiative and spearhead actions that will involve governments and the governed and will devolve security architecture, apparatus, arrangement and responsibility in subsidiarity.

“Papering over the obvious cracks in Nigeria’s polity is not the answer, tearing up or seeking disintegration is also not the solution, remaining silent makes us accomplices and irresponsibly so.

“The solution lies in men and women imbued with courage, nationalism, patriotism, commitment, foresight and love in critical mass, to spearhead the crusade for new Nigeria.

“Let us launch and promote such a crusade on the slogan “Security Matters To All; No Security, No Nigeria”. And the time is now. “Delay is postponing the evil day. “Failure to act now will lead to more frustration, greater despair and larger mentality and feeling that may lead to action of ‘break it all up’.

“May God forbid that! And may God, who I have always described as a Nigerian, save Nigeria.

“But we should be mindful that God’s patience has limit of elasticity. Hence, we must not continue to tempt Him.

“May God save and bless Nigeria which is His creation and which He endows with adequate human and natural resources for the security, development, welfare, well-being, progress and happiness of ALL its inhabitants.

“God is not to blame, He has played His part as He has well catered for us, and what we make of it is ours and if we fail, we must blame ourselves.”

Speaking on post COVID – 19 era, he called for proper attention to food availability, security, employment and economic diversification.

“The second is employment and job security. “The third is change in the pattern and style of living including travelling. “The fourth is innovation, science, technology, digitalization and Artificial Intelligence. “The fifth is local content, raw materials and substitutes. “The sixth is diversification of the economy and enhancement of export commodities. “It is up to us to take these six areas very seriously.

“With good leadership and right policy and with the public and private sectors working together, and the civil society joining hand, all the six areas can be taken care of and we can safely put the pandemic behind and move the country forward.

“I hope that Africa, as a continent, will emerge economically stronger from COVID-19. “For us in Nigeria, we have no alternative but to get it right. “Otherwise, the future will be worse than the present that is uncertain and bleak with economic downturn and pervasive insecurity,” he said.

The former President warned Nigerians not to mistake the lifting of restrictions on lockdown for the end of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Obasanjo described COVID-19 as a disease that Nigeria in particular and Africa in general was ill-prepared and poorly equipped for.

The elder statesman commended the federal and the state governments for the efforts and measures they had taken to deal seriously with the virus.

“The idea of leaving the states to deal with the issue mainly at their level on the principle of subsidiarity was a good one.

“It allowed each state with its limited resources and facilities to gear itself up and to issue instructions and regulations on restrictions based on the reality of the state,” he said.

Obasanjo, however, warned that while the federal and various state governments had relaxed the restrictions, Nigerians should not think that the nation had survived the pandemic.

“Although restrictions are being lifted, we are not out of the woods yet,” Obasanjo said.

He, therefore, stressed the need for continuous awareness and measures “to disabuse the minds of ordinary people who may still believe that COVID-19 is not real or that it is the disease of the rich”.

“They must be conscious of the fact that the disease has no social or economic limitation or barrier.

“It can afflict anybody no matter his or her age, gender, profession or trade, social or economic standing.

“We must not let down our guard because we may not have reached the peak yet.

“If the epicentre has moved from China in Asia to Europe to North America and now to Brazil in South America, Africa may or may not escape being an epicentre.

“And even then, we must be prepared for the possibility of a second wave,” he said.

Obasanjo counselled that the virus might not disappear from the surface of the earth, but that it could only be rendered weak and feeble and preventable with vaccine.

 “With good leadership and right policy and with the public and private sectors working together and the civil society joining hands, all the six areas can be taken care of and we can safely put the pandemic behind and move the country forward,” he said.

The former President also called for serious attention towards the country’s economic challenges, saying that “I see it as a matter of life and death for our country which must not be toyed with”.

“Insecurity brought about by widespread criminality of Boko Haram, insurgents, herdsmen/farmers conflict, terrorists, bandits, armed robbers, militants, kidnappers, abductors and human traffickers is a new phenomenon that is ravaging the entire country.

“The causes are many but the solution is beyond the capacity of the government .

“Prompt action is required from all well-meaning Nigerians from across the board as we are all victims and hostages.

“We must not adopt position of mindlessness ‘do nothing’ and allow a few to wreck our present and our future.

“Together, we can have Nigeria of our dream and I believe that there are Nigerians in all walks of life, from all ethnic groups, religious groups, cultural groups, political groups and across age and gender who will work genuinely and sincerely for emergence of a new Nigeria.

“I mean a new Nigeria based on principles of democracy, equity, justice, mutual respect, egalitarianism, good governance, federal character, and extol merit and competence,” he said.

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