Socio-cultural and ethnic organizations in Southern part of Nigeria has thrown their full weight behind former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s call for urgent restructuring of Nigeria’s security architecture amid rising wave of insecurity in the country.
Groups that endorsed his position include umbrella body of Igbo socio-cultural organisations, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere. The groups also called for restructuring of the country.
On its part, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said Obasanjo’s position vindicated its stand for the removal of Security Chiefs. The former President made the call at the 2020 Sobo Sowemimo Annual Lecture in Abeokuta, last Friday.
According to the National Publicity Secretary to Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, Obasanjo’s position on restructuring remained the only saving grace for the country.
“There is no doubt that Nigeria is a failed state at the moment. The state is drifting and the only thing that can keep Nigeria afloat at this moment is to restructure without any delay. “If we don’t do it, Nigeria as we know it is on its way to abyss”.
“In the first quarter of this year, we spent a large percentage of our earnings to service debts and we are still acquiring debts. It is no longer sustainable and the only saving grace is to restructure immediately. So, Obasanjo is right.”
On his own part, President of the Yoruba World Congress, YWC, Professor Banji Akintoye, threw his weight behind the former President’s call, noting that there was need to renegotiate the way forward for Nigeria.
The Emeritus Professor of History said: “The concept of restructuring to restore developmental competence to the various units of Nigeria is a good idea. The present over-centralization of everything in the hands of a government in Abuja is destructive. It is what has led Nigeria to a point that it is breaking up. “Therefore, to ask for restructuring makes sense and we must thank Obasanjo that he is adding voice to that now. The security structure in this country has broken down completely and people are being killed everywhere. Nigeria is in a state of anarchy. That is what Obasanjo meant when he said the security architecture has broken down.”
Adding voice to the debate, Ohanaeze Ndigbo said Obasanjo’s call for the restructuring of Nigeria’s security architecture has been the position of Ndigbo.
Similarly, elite Igbo group, Alaigbo Development Foundation, ADF, chaired by Prof. Uzodinma Nwala, said former President Obasanjo’s call was in order. According to Ohanaeze, it was restructuring that made the pan-Igbo group support Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the 2019 presidential election. The President-General of the apex Igbo group, Chief Nnia Nwodo, said the body is 100per cent in support of former President Obasanjo’s position.
Speaking through his Special Adviser, Media, Emeka Attama, the Ohanaeze leader insisted that without structuring, Nigeria would not make any meaningful progress. “We are 100 percent in support of Obasanjo. That has been the position of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
Nigeria is dying, and the President does not seem to see it. We are totally in support of the call. That has been our position and that was the reason Ohanaeze backed Atiku in the 2019 elections because he said he was going to restructure the country.
“We just have to restructure, let us start from the security architecture. It is a serious issue. It is not a child’s play. You have the entire security of the country put in the hands of a section of the country. You allow the service chiefs to stay beyond their tenure,” Ohanaeze said.
Alaigbo Development Foundation, through its spokesman, Abi Onyike, said: “Any opinion coming from former President Olusegun Obasanjo must be taken seriously and respected. “Obasanjo’s government from 1999-2007 was the most stable, purposeful and well-directed administration. It was after he left in 2007, that things began to go topsy-turvy.”
On their own part The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP said Obasanjo’s call for the overhauling of the nation’s security architecture is a vindication of its consistent call on the Federal Government to change the Service Chiefs for better service delivery.
Speaking to Newsmen, the National Publicity Secretary of the opposition party, Kola Ologbondiyan, noted that security under Buhari had worsened than he met it in 2015. He said:
“The former President has vindicated us. Across the country today, life has become so cheap to the extent that some criminal elements now kill for fun. “The Service Chiefs have simply failed to deliver. So Chief Obasanjo is right and he has said what the PDP has been saying for years. The Federal Government has failed in protecting Nigerians, many of whom have died either in the hands of bandits, armed robbers or Boko Haram. We have never had it this bad.”