“Many statesmen and citizens of honest disposition agreed with the views of Obasanjo, except this government. It is unfortunate that the presidency missed a vital point the former president made on the need for this government to make nationwide consultations and engagement with transparent intention bordering on national interest with a view to finding lasting solution to the country’s overwhelming security, political and economic problems”
The ongoing squabble between the Presidency and former President Olusegun Obasanjo over the latter’s constructive assessment of the current precarious situation in the country has come as a rude shock to many well-meaning Nigerians. Why should a candid observation of the state of poor governance of the country that most Nigerians, including the mammoth supporters of the APC-led government of President Muhammadu Buhari, have been lamenting about degenerate to assaulting the former president by this government. This is baffling to discerning Nigerians.
Obasanjo had observed last week in a speech titled, “Moving Nigeria Away from Tipping Over” at a consultative dialogue attended by various socio-cultural groups, including Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Ohaneze Ndigbo and Pan Niger Delta Forum, and pointed out the obvious about the state of the nation ,acknowledged by anxious Nigerians and members of the international community.
According to him, “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”, he stated characteristically in a matter-of-fact manner.
But instead of embracing this dark reality staring the nation in the face, the present administration has chosen not to accept any wise counsel from any quarter, opting instead for belligerent approach to President Obasanjo’s genuine statesmanship by describing him as “Divider-in-Chief”. This is not how to respond to such important intervention.
In his acidic reaction to Obasanjo, the spokesman of the president, Garba Shehu, stated that “As some commentators are already suggesting, Chief Obasanjo should, in accordance with his mantra as a statesman, get involved with problems solving, when and where they exist instead of helping the mushrooming of a poisonous atmosphere of ethnic and religious nationalism”.
Many statesmen and citizens of honest disposition agreed with the views of Obasanjo, except this government. It is unfortunate that the presidency missed a vital point the former president made on the need for this government to make nationwide consultations and engagement with transparent intention bordering on national interest with a view to finding lasting solution to the country’s overwhelming security, political and economic problems.
Is it not true that the country is more divided along ethnic and religious lines more than before? Is it not true that the diversity of the country has been grossly mismanaged in a horrid manner by the present administration? This government should learn to embrace truth, search inward and carry everybody along in the act of governance. It should learn to tolerate constructive criticism from citizens who indeed have a say in how they are being governed.
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