Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has declared that the structural and governance problems facing Nigeria could lead to self-determination by aggrieved groups warning that Nigeria is nearing what he called the tipping point.
He made this known at the 25th Anniversary celebration of Odua People’s Congress (OPC) and one year Memorial of Late Dr Federick Isiotan Fasehun, held on Friday in Lagos.
Obasanjo who said the time to restructure Nigeria is now however warned that the agitation if not well managed could degenerate to calls for self-determination.
“We should not allow the restructuring agitation to degenerate to self-determination agitation. Thanks to Buhari’s administration and its impunity and all. With the fractional political division, poor management of the economy, the non-protecting security and the politics of uncertainty in the land.
“The agitation at the end of the last century was for ‘true federalism’ substantially brought about by Abacha’s autocratic and pernicious rule and self-succession and perpetuation and the process by which the democratic Constitution emerged. My administration was an inheritor of part of that agitation.
“The product of the political conference set up to address the agitation in part, if not in full, and which was personally handed over to the National Assembly was not advanced to the conclusion by the National Assembly.
“President Jonathan’s efforts of a National Conference did not even get to the National Assembly. Today, the agitation has moved up to restructuring.
“There is still a window of opportunity for us to nip in the bud a possible and indeed likely agitation for self- determination that will be violent, destructive and all-empowering.
“We have descended to lack of civility bordering on uncivilization, indignity, mutual disrespect and crudity in the language of our debate, dialogue, discourse, address, comments and remarks across tribe, section, religion, region, ethnicity and community.
“If not halted, it will degenerate and poison the atmosphere to the tipping point or point of no return. If the issue becomes conceptualized as an issue of freedom or liberation, there will be no wall or gate to effectively prevail against it.
“Some well-meaning Nigerians are worried and understandingly so. Threats and intimidation do not build a community, they rather destroy” Obasanjo said.
Obasanjo harped on professionalism and adequate equipment for the successful operation of the Amotekun security outfit.
“I will strongly advise that Amotekun and other measures put in place should continue to be refined and improved upon to serve as adequate complement and enhancer of the present, disappointing and inadequate, national security architecture and provision.
“We must learn from the past particularly from Native Authority Police. Professionalism and adequate equipment for the job are imperative for a serious security apparatus.
“Security is the foundation of all human development and progress. Common assured security should lead to common and shared prosperity and development.
“There has been embarrassing paralysis and katakata in the present nation’s security house as if we have nobody in charge. If it had happened before, it was not so brazenly in the public domain.
“This type of situation cannot do credit to us as Nigerians and it can only sap confidence in the security architecture for people to say, ‘no wonder,” He said.
Speaking also, a former Governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola emphasized on uniform application of the law in order to keep up the spirit of unity of the country.
Oyinlola explained that It won’t be correct for us to say that we are citizens of Nigeria and we don’t have equality or treated equally.
He congratulated the OPC leadership for a successful event, admonishing the group to keep the flag flying.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, was represented at the event by The Osanya of Sanya, Oba Muraina Adebanjo.
The General Secretary, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Anthony Sani noted that restructuring, as widely proposed by many in the society, is not the panacea to the challenges confronting the country.
Sani, therefore, called for negotiation amongst the ethnic groups in the country in order to jointly proffer solution to the problems confronting the development of the nation.
“I am tempted to say that the problem might not be restructuring but the issue might be moral value,” he said.
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