Nigeria must restructure now or risk disintegration, Obasanjo warns


…says ‘govt at all levels has failed’

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on Friday, warned that Nigeria should either take urgent steps to restructure its federating units or risk disintegration.

Obasanjo warned that without restructuring its Federal system, the country “will remain insecure, unstable, non-progressive and stagnated at best or disintegrate at the worst.”

He noted that the Federal Government had become overwhelmed by worsening insecurity, making restructuring imperative.

The former president spoke in Abeokuta, Ogun State, at the 2020 Annual Sobo Sowemimo Lecture held virtually and organised by the Abeokuta Club on the topic, “COVID – 19 Pandemic and Nigeria Security Issues: The way forward.”

Obasanjo accused governments at all levels of ineffectiveness, calling on Nigerians to launch and promote a crusade with the slogan, “Security Matters To All; No security, No Nigeria.”

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

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“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.

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“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.”

On the post COVID – 19 time, Obasanjo called for proper attention to food availability, security, employment and economic diversification.

He said, “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.

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“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.”

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