Ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo has warned that the country is in danger of disintegrating without restructuring.
Obasanjo said this on Friday during a virtual annual Sobo Sowemimo lecture organized by the Abeokuta Club entitled: “COVID-19 Pandemic and Security Issues in Nigeria: The Way Forward“.
He said he still firmly believes in the unity of the country and has never lived for the destruction or incapacitation of the country, but hinted that the reform of the federal units is the only way out of the current challenges.
He said: “The question of Nigeria’s future as a result of our current security situation must not be taken seriously, because I consider it to be a matter of life and death for our country, which must not be played with.
“My personal conviction is that with the experience we have had in working with the current constitution, where we have seen some important aspects of the constitution violated deliberately and wantonly, and with the fact that the centre seems to have been overwhelmed by the issue of security, with the need, lamented from various quarters, for reform of the basic structure of the Nigerian federal units, a repositioning of our country in terms of unity, equality, competence, good governance, security, stability, healthy competition, justice, rapid socio-economic development and an undisputed regional leadership role for Nigeria is required.
“And as a regional leader, Nigeria must always sit at the table, contributing effectively to the global decision-making process and having an appropriate share of the global division of labour and global resources.
I remain firmly convinced that without a reform of the federal entities, as I would like to satisfy those who may dislike the word “restructuring”, Nigeria will be insecure, unstable, not progressive and at best stagnant or at worst disintegrating.
“I have not lived for the downfall of Nigeria or for its destruction or incapacitation in any form. Rather, I have lived to create and see a great and united country.
“Papering over the obvious cracks in the Nigerian community is not the answer, tearing up or seeking dissolution is not the solution either, silence makes us accomplices and that in an irresponsible way.
“The solution lies in men and women who are imbued with courage, nationalism, patriotism, commitment, vision and love in a critical mass to lead the crusade for a new Nigeria“.