Former President Olusegun Obasanjo (left) and President Muhammadu Buhari
By Andrew Onyejuruuwa
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo a former President of the Federal republic of Nigeria who has been fearless and consistent with his strong criticism of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration in the country especially as it concerns the deplorable state of insecurity of lives and property has again called on the Buhari government to change its ways and restructure the security architecture of Nigeria.
Obasanjo made the call for the reorganisation of the nation’s security architecture at the weekend, which he said will make the country to overcome her security challenges. Obasanjo spoke in a lecture he delivered at the 2020 Sobo Sowemimo Annual Lecture organised by the Abeokuta Club. He maintained that the handling of security situations by the present government do not give any individual or group any assurance of a secured nation. The lecture was titled “COVID-19 and Nigeria Security Issues: The Way Forward.”
He said, “Federal security architecture as organised and operated by the present government cannot give any individual or group hope, let alone assurance of security within Nigeria. Our destiny is in our own hands. In reform and restructuring, security architecture, structure and arrangement must devolve more security responsibility on the community, local and state authorities.”
“Unfortunately, I have recently observed from some writers on the security situation in the North, the feeling or attitude of ‘it serves them right’. We must not gloat at the difficulties or misfortune of others, rather we must emphathise. Wherever there is insecurity in Nigeria, it must be of concern to all of us. It should not be the attitude of ‘am alright Jack’ or ‘it serves them right’. I believe it should be ‘we are all in one bad boat and we must put all hands-on deck to fix it’.
“Maybe now that we are all feeling the pinch, the collective fixing will be understood and be easy to accomplish. I will not hesitate to say that in this statement, Arewa message, spoke the minds and made presentation on behalf of majority of right-thinking Nigerians and not Northern Nigerians alone. We are all bothered and burdened. The beginning should be seeking to know why the criminals are doing what they are doing and with that knowledge, we can begin to work out permanent solution that will move criminals from crimes, and take away insecurity for all of us.”
“Insecurity in any form and in any part of Nigeria is insecurity for us all. I have also heard it nuanced that the ‘North’ will not make the mistake of Jonathan again, meaning no Southerner will be seen as President of Nigeria again. And, of course, no Middle-Belter! What a dangerous and destructive idea and position for anybody to take! Such notion will prove those who regard 1914 as a mistake correct. But pursuing such an agenda may unleash colossal insecurity and violence of unimaginable proportion on the country. I know, for sure, it was such mentality that permanently divided Sudan.”
“We are all challenged to put our thinking caps on, join hands and seek solution together to insecurity, otherwise we will be destroyed piecemeal. There is no time to stand and stare or just to continue to call on governments that are ineffective. Let us take initiative and spearhead actions that will involve governments and the governed and will devolve security architecture, apparatus, arrangement and responsibility in subsidiarity,” he said.
OBJ as he is fondly called who ruled Nigeria as both military and civilian presidents in the no holds barred lectures continued when he said, “Papering over the obvious cracks in Nigeria’s polity is not the answer, tearing up or seeking disintegration is also not the solution, remaining silent makes us accomplices and irresponsibly so. The solution lies in men and women imbued with courage, nationalism, patriotism, commitment, foresight and love in critical mass, to spearhead the crusade for new Nigeria.
“Let us launch and promote such a crusade on the slogan “Security Matters To All; No security, No Nigeria. And the time is now. Delay is postponing the evil day. Failure to act now will lead to more frustration, greater despair and larger mentality and feeling that may lead to action of ‘break it all up’. May God forbid that! And may God, who I have always described as a Nigerian, save Nigeria. But we should be mindful that God’s patience has limit of elasticity.
“Hence, we must not continue to tempt Him. It is evident that no ethnic group nor geopolitical zone and not even the Fulanis in Nigeria are collectively satisfied with the present situation in spite of president Buhari being a Fulani man. I am, of course, discounting invidious and irredeemable Fulani fundamentalists and hegemonists. I believe that you find such people within any Nigerian tribal or ethnic group. We must not adopt position of mindlessness ‘do nothing’ and allow a few to wreck our present and our future.
“Together, we can have Nigeria of our dream. And I believe that there are Nigerians in all walks of life, from all ethnic groups, religious groups, cultural groups, political groups and across age and gender who will work genuinely and sincerely for emergence of a new Nigeria based on principles of democracy, equity, justice, mutual respect, egalitarianism, good governance, federal character, and extol merit and competence.”