2023 must lead to a new federation, else Nigeria may disintegrate – Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday said that leaders in Nigeria must ensure that 2023 births a new federation.

OBJ who spoke in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State, while playing host to members of Tiv Professional Group (TPG) led by Prof. Zacharys Anger Gundu, said that if a new federation does not emerge, the country may slide into dissolution.

“I do believe that whatever else we do we have to make the year 2023 a watershed for Nigeria. The year 2023 should give us the beginning of the emergence of a new federation or failing that, and the rot continues, then we are going to be sliding back to ground dissolution. God forbid,” he said.

He further noted that those beating the drums of division in Nigeria don’t think about the interest of minority ethnic groups.

“And he would say to me if the Yorubas can stand as a country, if the Igbos can stand as a country, if the Hausas/Fulanis can stand as a country, if you major tribes decide to break up from the country, where do you want the minority ethnic groups to stand. That, many Nigerians don’t know about, unfortunately.

“Where do we want those minority groups to stand? Wherever they stand, now they are by virtue of Nigeria’s present situation a little bit protected. But if Nigeria breaks up and they are in a smaller country, they will be oppressed. They will always be exterminated. Are we thinking of that? ,” he said.

The former president further kicked against payment of ransom to kidnappers. He accused President Muhammadu Buhari of paying ransoms to kidnappers, which encourages the criminals.

“Government has always paid ransom. Not only this government, even during Jonathan (administration). They paid ransom, but they deny it,” he said.

He however admits that fighting insecurity requires a carrot and stick approach.

“Some people are still reaching out, and hoping that lives can still be saved. But a situation whereby anybody thinks paying ransom is the way out, that person is folly. He is a folly. This is because when you pay ransom, you encourage. But if you are not going to pay ransom, you must have the means to deal heavily with it. You must have the stick to deal with it,” he said.

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