The former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta at his investiture as a member of the Nigerian Institution of Surveyor (NIS) organized by the Ogun state chapter of the Body on wednesday expressed concern over the current state of the country.
“I am a strong believer of one Nigeria, but not one Nigeria at any cost, but one Nigeria where every Nigerian can feel proud that he or she has a stake in this country,” he said.
The retired general and former head of states made it known that “though Nigerians would fare better staying together than breaking up, the nation’s unity should not be at any cost.”
He further called on agitators for the disintegration of the country to do away with the thought, and work towards the unity of the country.
According to him, ”it is better for Nigeria to remain as one indivisible nation than for each tribe to go its separate ways.”
Mr Obasanjo, who acknowledged that Nigeria is passing through challenges, insisted that “disintegration is not the solution.”
“Any Nigerian who does not feel concerned about the challenges of the country is a human being without being humane. It is better that Nigeria stays together and find solutions to its challenges than for each tribe to go its separate way, I am a strong believer of one Nigeria, but not one Nigeria at any cost, but one Nigeria where every Nigerian can feel proud that he or she has a stake in this country.” He explained.
While trying to explain why they fought in the war earlier, he said,
“Those of us who have shed part of our blood and sweat for this country did so because we wanted a country where every Nigerian can claim as his or her own. I believe that if we talk among ourselves the way we should and if we change the narrative, I believe this is a great country. One thing that gives us strength is our diversity. If all that we have is Republic of Oduduwa for those who say so, members of that country will be diminished compared to being a citizen of Nigeria.”
“Citizens of Oduduwa Republic or any other republic borne out of Nigeria will be diminished compared to being citizens of Nigeria.” He added.
He further made it known that “in this age and time that we are talking about the reintegration of Africa for economic development, disintegration of any country will be almost idiotic. If we have Igboland as an independent country, Yorubaland as an independent country, and Fulani/Hausaland an independent country, where will the Jukuns or the Gbasama belong? The only reason they can raise up their heads is because they belong to Nigeria.”
“Are we thinking of them or are we are just being selfish? We should note that. It doesn’t matter what we do, we will still be neighbours.”
“We have seen it before. India was broken into India and Pakistan, they are still at war till today. Yugoslavia was broken into different countries, they haven’t sorted it till today. Sudan was broken into Sudan and South Sudan, I don’t believe South Sudan is better for it and that is the truth,” he said.
The former president, who described Nigeria’s challenges as correctable and surmountable, counselled that it would cost less for Nigerians to work together for the unity of the country than to break up and be perpetually in war against each other.
“When that happens, we will be spending our money on building armies. I know what is involved in building and maintaining an army which may not necessarily be productive. Let us think about it,” he said.
Mr Obasanjo, who stressed the importance of surveyors, said the entire country should be surveyed in order to achieve economic development and transformation.
“The fact that we are not making Nigeria what God wants it to be is not the fault of God, but our fault, particularly the leaders,” he added.