Reacting to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s recent remarks describing Nigeria as a country drifting towards a failed state status and divided under Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, some Nigerians have taken a swipe at the Presidency and Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) over knocks on the former president.
Citizens Newsroom monitored the reactions of Nigerians on some media platforms both on and off lines.
It will be recalled that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo while delivering a speech titled, ‘Moving Nigeria Away from Tipping Over’ at a recent consultative dialogue in Abuja attended by representatives of Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo and Pan Niger Delta Forum made the assertion that Nigeria is becoming a failed state and deeply divided under Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s watch.
Obasanjo also said the country is becoming a ‘basket case’ economically.
“Today, Nigeria is fast drifting to a failed and badly divided state; economically our country is becoming a basket case and poverty capital of the world, and socially, we are firming up as an unwholesome and insecure country.
“And these manifestations are the products of recent mismanagement of diversity and socio-economic development of our country.
“Old fault lines that were disappearing have opened up in greater fissures and with drums of hatred, disintegration and separation and accompanying choruses being heard loud and clear almost everywhere,” he warned.
Obasanjo further warned people beating drums of war and calling for secession, to remember that if Nigeria breaks into several nations, the citizens would still be neighbours and would need to interact with one another.
The former president also called for a national dialogue, saying it would save Nigeria from disintegration.
He expressed concern that some Nigerians had been obsessed with the 2023 general elections, despite the challenges of debt, death, destruction and disease across the country.
Daily Trust however reported on Sunday that a certain “top official” who did not want to be named had said: “Obasanjo is yesterday’s man. After he had come against President Buhari and lost the election, you don’t expect anything positive from him.”
The paper also reported that reacting to the comment, the Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said in an exclusive interview that “Advertising us as a failed state is not mature. Let me in all fairness say something to Obasanjo.
“There is a tendency for him to always think that if he were there, there would be perfection. He had his own challenges. What about Zaki Biam and Odi? Were those democratic expeditions? You are not a prefect appointed by anybody to supervise the conduct of other heads of state”, he added.
Reminding Obasanjo that he (Ogbeh) was chairman of the then ruling party (PDP) when he was president, he said:
“I think if Gowon, Abdulsalami and Shagari (before he died) continued lashing out at incumbents the way Obasanjo does, people would have tagged them irresponsible.
“I think he enjoys this policy of mischief, going around and looking for audience that would applaud him saying nasty things about those who came after him.”
Admitting that Nigeria has problems and has to deal with them, Ogbeh said:
“I respect him (Obasanjo) as a former president, he is a very intelligent man, but he should also avoid mischief.”
On the other hand, spokesman of the pan Yoruba socio-cultural group, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, agreed with Obasanjo that Nigeria is drifting towards a failed state, saying, “All the indices of a failed state are very apparent in Nigeria.”
He said this was made worse because of the leadership of the country which he noted is not “unifying” and “treats some sections of the country as if they don’t matter.”
“There is a clear and present danger in the country now which we must address,” he said.
He said the president had in the past five years failed to fulfill his promises anchored on three cardinal programmes to Nigerians, wondering how he would achieve the nine-point programme he recently unveiled in the about two years left for him in office.
He said the government must set its priorities right, adding that the president must bequeath in the country a “proper constitution that will make every part of the country productive.”
“Remember in 2015, he campaigned on three key areas which he has failed to deliver in five years. Now that he has two years to go, he said he wants to address nine. We must get clear priority areas,” he said.
Also recall that only recently in its latest update of failed states, the acclaimed free web-based encyclopedia project – Wikipedia has added Nigeria to its list of failed states which includes Syria, Somalia, Myanmar, Iraq, Yemen, Turkey, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Liberia, Yugoslavia, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Sudan and South Sudan.
Citizens Newsroom also monitored the responses of a cross section of callers into some radio stations in Abuja as well some social media sites and the story is same.
A caller on one of the radio stations – 95.1 Nigeria Info Abuja, Mallam Abubakar from Gwagwalada who concurred that Nigeria is indeed a failed by all standards blamed the situation on lack of leadership in the country:
“Without any iota of doubt, Nigeria is not only drifting but particularly under the current administration of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari the country has indeed become a failed state. The current government lacks honesty and fairness in its dealings with Nigerians resulting in increased hardships and poverty amongst the people in addition to worsening security situation all over the country”, Abubakar lamented.
A social media user in his official twitter handle @JGagariga wrote:
“Call it what it is, Nigeria is a failed state…”.