Former President, General Olusegun Obasanjo (Rtd.) has expressed concern over the rising cases of killings and kidnappings in Nigeria and called on President Muhammed Buhari to pull back the country from plunging into an abyss of insecurity. Obasanjo, in an open letter to the president, released in Abeokuta, warned the president that Nigeria was on the edge of the precipice and urgent steps must be taken to find lasting solutions before Nigeria witnesses the Rwandan-type genocide or turn to another Yugoslavia.
His letter, which detailed the security challenges confronting the nation and his suggestions on how to resolve them, including a national conference, elicited varied reactions from some critical stakeholders. The leadership of the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF); pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere; and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have all aligned with Obasanjo’s position, calling on Buhari to take the former president’s warning seriously before it is too late.
But a former Liaison Officer to Second Republic President Shehu Shagari and a founding member of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, was reported to have dismissed the content of Obasanjo’s letter, describing it as not only selfish but also unpatriotic, ill-conceived and a clear invitation to national disaster. Obasanjo, in the letter dated July 15, 2019 and addressed to Buhari, a copy of which was made available to journalists in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, by his media aide, Mr. Kehinde Akinyemi, said security challenges could no longer be ignored, treated with nonchalance, swept under the carpet or treated with levity.
Obasanjo had in the letter told Buhari that if there was failure, the principal responsibility would be that of the president and no one else, adding that the blame game among Buhari’s appointees must be avoided. He said: “The issue is hitting at the foundation of our existence as Nigerians and fast eroding the root of our Nigerian community. I am very much worried and afraid that we are on the precipice and dangerously reaching a tipping point where it may no longer be possible to hold danger at bay.