Obasanjo flays clamour for disunity, says it’s counter-productive
• Igbo youths fault Osinbajo’s consultations over quit notice
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has flayed the calls for Nigeria’s disunity in the recent times, saying that it is counter productive.
The former president, who spoke to reporters in Warri at the weekend on the continued calls by the Igbos to secede from Nigeria, noted that no issue would be above resolution at the round table dialogue, especially the calls by the Igbos. He wondered why those beating the drum of war were doing so because they do not know its devastating effect.
He said “right now, what Nigerians need is restructuring of mind and not the nation.’’ He emphasised that the strength of the nation is drawn from our diverse ethnic nationalities, as there was nothing wrong with the cry against marginalization, it is legitimate in pressing home their demand.
While lauding the Itsekiris for their contributions to the growth of the nation, Obasanjo urged them to remain peaceful and law abiding in their quest for proper recognition in Nigeria’s scheme of things, adding that no meaningful development can take place in atmosphere of rancor and disunity. According to him, “the unity in diversity of the nation is sacrosanct for the overall development of the country and betterment for all regions.” He added that a constant crisis between the Nigeria army and host communities in Delta over areas of land acquired was not peculiar to Ubwie kingdom alone but an issue that has been between the army and various communities across the country.
He said, “the crisis is borne out of the fact that the army occupied a vast space of land that is now essential for development at a time when most town, cities and villages in the country were not fully developed.’’
Meanwhile, Igbo youths under the aegis of Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC), yesterday faulted the ongoing consultations between Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and some leaders of the north and southeast on the recent quit notice, saying it would remain unproductive without the youths involvement.
They said they were disappointed that such an issue affecting them could be discussed without an effort to carry them along, stressing that such clearly signposted how government regarded their welfare.
In a statement signed by the Publicity Secretary, Mr. Obinna Adibe, OYC stated that since the issues being discussed centered on the youths and future, they ought to be made active partners in the peace process.
They however saluted the South east governors, traditional rulers, Igbo leaders and religious leaders for their efforts towards making the zone peaceful, stressing that “such efforts should be sustained in order to ensure safety of lives and property and as well pave the way for the development of our region.
“We have decided to sacrifice our freedom and resources to ensure that lasting peace is achieved, as regards the safety of Igbos in the 19 northern states ahead of the October 1 ultimatum from the northern youths.
“We have built a bridge of dialogue for peaceful co existence. We will not allow this opportunity to pass us by if there’s any opening for dialogue with other ethnic nationality youth leaders across Nigeria,” the OYC declared.
Also, the Urhobo Youth Council (UYC) worldwide led by its President, Oremere Solomon has said that proposed talks by the acting president with various regional and ethnic leaders in the Niger Delta region may hit the rocks if it does not address the magnitude of the tension in Nigeria.
Oremere, in a statement, said that Nigerians have been deceived and Niger Delta region has suffered so much neglect, adding that it was time to face the reality and take steps to restructure Nigeria so as to satisfy the yearnings and aspirations of different ethnic nationalities that made up Nigeria.
And as tension continues to mount over regional agitations in the country, former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika, has said there was no alternative to one and united Nigeria.
To this end, he tasked politicians and other interest groups to begin to think of how to make Nigeria stronger rather than thinking of alternatives.
The ex-Army chief’s position came against the backdrop of agitations in some quarters for division of the country over perceived injustices.