Obasanjo stated this while delivering a speech titled, ‘Moving Nigeria Away from Tipping Over’ at a consultative dialogue in Abuja on Thursday, September 10, 2020.
The event was attended by various socio-cultural groups including Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo and Pan Niger Delta Forum.
The former President said he had never seen Nigeria so divided like this, adding that many of the problems plaguing the country today were due to the recent mismanagement of Nigeria’s diversity.
He called for concerted efforts of all stakeholders towards “moving Nigeria from tipping over” from the brink of collapse. Obasanjo:
“I do appreciate that you all feel sad and embarrassed as most of us feel as Nigerians with the situation we find ourselves in. Today, Nigeria is fast drifting to a failed and badly divided state; economically our country is becoming a basket case and poverty capital of the world, and socially, we are firming up as an unwholesome and insecure country.
“And these manifestations are the products of recent mismanagement of diversity and socio-economic development of our country. Old fault lines that were disappearing have opened up in greater fissures and with drums of hatred, disintegration and separation and accompanying choruses being heard loud and clear almost everywhere.”
Obasanjo said those beating drums of war and calling for secession must remember that were Nigeria to break into several countries, the citizens would still be neighbours and would need to interact with one another.
He stated that if Nigeria was to successfully tackle its challenges, it must first address the problem of disunity because a house divided could not achieve much success.
The former President, therefore, commended all socio-cultural groups present at the meeting, describing their agreement to come together as a good sign.
“It would appear that anybody not dancing to the drum beat nor joining in chorus singing would be earmarked as ethnically unpatriotic or enemy of its tribe or geographical area. In short, the country is fast moving to the precipice. But happily, I observed that the five socio-cultural political groups gathered “here have been getting together to find common ground, areas of agreement or accord for moving Nigeria away from tipping over.
“Before continuing, let me say that we must remind those who are beating the drums of disintegration and singing choruses of bitterness, anger and separation that if even Nigeria is broken up, the separated parts will still be neighbours. And they will have to find accommodation as neighbours or they will be ever at war. And those who prevent justice to be done, invite violence to reign.”