Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar have at separate occasions weighed in on the challenges confronting Nigeria.
Obasanjo, yesterday, declared that although the country’s current situation is “very bad, it is not irredeemable”.
He spoke in Abeokuta, Ogun State, at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), while hosting National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Uche Secondus, and some members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC).
He called on politicians to prioritise the unity, peace and progress of the country before shifting their attention to the 2023 general elections. According to him, the polls are “important but not as important as the peace and unity of Nigeria”.
Speaking to journalists after a closed-door meeting with Secondus, which lasted almost two hours, Obasanjo described the visit as non-partisan, noting that the nation’s problems require “all hands on deck”.
Secondus said: “I am here with the members of my team as well as the PDP executives in Ogun State to tap from the wealth of Baba’s knowledge as a statesman.”
He added: “We have discussed Nigeria; Nigeria first before any other thing. Yes, we belong to a political party. But if we don’t have a country, where do we practice democracy? We need to have a peaceful country where democracy can thrive. And at this point, we need Chief Obasanjo to come in with solutions.”
On his part, Atiku warned that the nation could be heading towards disaster, even as he called for the need to heed agitations from the regions.
He stated this in Abuja at a national dialogue and public presentation of the book, ‘Remaking Nigeria: Sixty Years, Sixty Voices’, edited by Dr Chido Onumah.
There have been conflicts between farmers and herders before now, he said. He noted, however, that in the last five years, Nigeria has become a safe haven for kidnappers and bandits such that their activities have become a major industry.
According to him, they have been allowed to operate so openly and brazenly that it would surprise no one if they applied for registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission and listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Atiku, who was also the chairman of the occasion, lamented that provisions on federal character have been ignored, while symbolic gestures to make all groups feel they are part of the Nigerian family have been scorned as though they were signs of weakness.
He said: “We must restructure our country in a manner that allows various segments to develop at their own pace and not be held back by the centre or other segments. Developed segments will spur development in other segments because what they do will attract the attention of others. That may make the Nigerian union more attractive and nation-building easier. Our poor nation-building record should not be an excuse for developmental inaction or backwardness.”