Nigerian must address restructuring now or may disintegrate – Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed fear of Nigeria disintegrating under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The former president said, Nigeria needs to address the matter of restructuring now.

He said failure to do this might lead to grave consequences.

Obasanjo who disclosed this at Frederick Fasehun 1st Memorial Lecture on Saturday February 29, stated that there is still a window of opportunity to stop a “possible and indeed likely agitation for self-determination that will be violent, destructive and all-empowering.”

Obasanjo lamented the increasing rate of insecurity in the country, saying Boko Haram had continued to wax stronger over 12 years.

He said Nigeria could not afford to be plunged into another war at this time because such might not be easy to win.

The former President who also took a swipe at those beating “drums of war and domination”, recalled how they planned to suppress the Biafran rebellion within three months. He disclosed that they nearly lost the Biafran war which took thirty months, as he insisted that Nigeria may not survive another civil war

He said, “When I was elected President the agitation was true federalism but now it is restructuring.

“If we don’t address it they may go from restructuring to self-determination and this will be a serious problem.

“If Boko Haram can get external support, any group that decided to go will get support from within and outside. So we must address the issue now.”

“Are all these people speaking the truth enemies of the government? Are apologists just telling the President what they believe he wants to hear? Do they believe that they are being fair to Nigerians and indeed to President Buhari?

Do they remember that there is a day of judgement when they have to render account before God? I know for sure that God has the best in stock for Nigeria. And do they consider the present situation as the best for Nigeria?

The language we are using to address ourselves across the region now is uncouth and it must not continue

“I will continue to fight for Nigeria’s unity until I die. But this fight is not to make my children and my race second class citizens.

“Ti owo o ba se san a ka leri ( If you can no longer swing your hand, then you put it on your head),” he said.

“It would appear that the National Assembly is fully aware of the lurking danger and wants to be proactive which is commendable. But the Nigerian Constitution does not give the National Assembly the power to write a new Constitution but the power to amend existing one. What is required is a new Constitution to meet the agitation and aspiration of all Nigerians and to allay all fears.

“The Executive and the Legislature need to work together to establish a Constituent Assembly. The exercise must not be compromised like the present Constitution; it must have full legitimacy of ‘we the people’.

Talking of a new Constitution, maybe we should try a hybrid Constitution of President and Prime Minister sharing executive power in a Presidential cum Parliamentary system.

And before we descend any further, let me warn, from experience, those who are beating the drums of war and domination from all quarters. I joined late Bisalla, under General Hassan Katsina, to write the appreciation and the operational instruction for the Civil War.

“The unity and integrity of Nigeria will be defended with all that I can muster but surely not at the expense of my liberty, human dignity, freedom of choice, and human rights. I will not relent by exerting effort, ability and capability to make a contribution to the development and progress of my land of birth.

If I allowed myself to be enslaved in Nigeria, I would have left a shameful legacy for my children and their succeeding generation forever. May God forbid!

My existence in life would amount to naught. “If the hands cannot be swung”, the saying goes, “they are better held above the head perpetually”.

My services to my country and to humanity would have ended in total failure as I would have lived not to carry out the divine mission of making better what I found.

If I fought racial and tribal injustice and oppression in South Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and South Sudan tenaciously and successfully, it would be remiss of me to do any less in Nigeria. It is a divine duty and responsibility which must be attended to, if necessary.

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