In a rare joint statement, two former Heads of State, Generals Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida, on Sunday called on Nigerians not to lose hope as a result of the current state of insecurity in the country.
They urged Nigerians not to give room for frustration, fear and despair, which are the fallouts of acts of terrorism to dampen their hope in the corporate existence of the country.
According to them, “the people of this country must not allow whatever sense of frustration, fear and despair we are experiencing now to supercede our hopes for a collective destiny which lies in our continued existence as a nation. For us, and we believe for millions of other Nigerians, the continued unity of this nation is not only priceless but non negotiable.”
They, therefore, called on governments at various levels to team up with the Goodluck Jonathan administration to provide political solution to the violence currently rocking the country.
First of all, we find the current position of the duo on the insecurity plaguing the country amusing. It is amusing because both Obasanjo and Babangida contributed a lot to the problem when they held power. If they had done the right thing and ruled according to the wishes of the people during their tenures, Nigeria would have moved past the stage where a band of Islamic extremists in the name of Boko Haram would hold the nation by the jugular and threaten its corporate existence.
Rather than serve the people by formulating and implementing programmes that would bring succour to the people, they chose to toe the wrong path. They left undone most of what should be done and instead promoted narrow, selfish interests to the welfare of detriment of the majority of the people.
Both Obasanjo and Babangida are not good examples of leaders to postulate to Nigerians that the corporate existence of the country is not negotiable. For eight years that Obasanjo was an elected president of this country, he failed dismally to initiate and implement programmes that will promote the people’s welfare. Instead, he was gallivanting all over the place and engaging in phoney crusade against corruption. For more than nine months during his administration, members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, went on strike, throwing the universities into disarray.
His eight years in office were characterised by planes falling from the sky like a pack of cards. Corruption was the order of the day. Nigerians couldn’t afford one meal in a day; roads were bad; education was in disarray; electricity supply was epileptic, the misery index was high and morale was low among Nigerians. He spent a large period of his second term in office fighting his vice president. By the time he left in 2007, the country was far worse than he met it. There was a total breakdown of infrastructure even though the revenue the country earned during his tenure was more than the total amount earned between independence and 1999 when he became president.
Babangida, in his own case, underdeveloped the country by adopting an IMF policy called the structural adjustment programme which impoverished a large percentage of the country’s population. During his eight-year military regime, corruption was the order of the day. Discipline and morality were thrown to the dogs. The moral fabric of the nation was battered; education was in shambles; fear pervaded the land while the prisons were filled with conscientious objectors who questioned some of his policies and programmes.
He failed to connect with the people. An Army general in his administration was so concerned about the general indiscipline and breakdown of military values which characterised the administration that he described the Army as an Army of anything goes.
During his tenure, Babangida played up one ethnic group against the other in order to achieve his selfish ends. To cap his inglorious reign, he annulled the freest and fairest presidential election ever held in the country and caused the winner, Basorun M.K.O. Abiola, to die in military custody.
And yet these are the same people now postulating that the unity of the country is non negotiable. To us, these despots have no moral right to dictate to Nigerians about the corporate existence of the country. It is our opinion that Nigerians should not take them seriously. Their statement should be treated with a pinch of salt and consigned to the trash bin because they are not sincere about the wellbeing of this country.
The present administration will do well to listen to the voice of the people. Nigerians are saying it is time to sit down and talk about the various problems bedevilling the country. If that will lead to a renegotiation of the corporate existence of the country, to end the violence in the land, so be it.
Source: P.M. News