Sylvester Idowu in Warri
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo Saturday warned that Nigeria edged close to the precipice of destruction, saying urgent measures are needed to pull the country back. Obasanjo said all the indices of political collapse were evident in the country, including corruption, insecurity, and lack of faith in the electoral system.
The former president spoke in a paper titled, “Mobilising Nigerian’s human and natural resources for national development,” which he delivered at the 2019 Synod of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, held at Oleh, in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State.
Obasanjo chronicled various efforts and policies by past administrations since independence to achieve national development, noting that nothing much can be seen as moving the country towards national development. He said nepotism, lack of continuity of policies by successive administrations, and corruption had hindered development, resulting in widespread insecurity, mistrust, nepotism, and electoral fraud.
He described electoral fraud as a killer of democracy, which undermined legitimacy, and destroyed democracy and hope.
According to him, “We must all appreciate that democracy that fails to deliver dividends to the citizenry in terms of security, safety, freedoms and general enhancement of livelihood will lead to frustration and desperation and all other dangers that can follow.
“Through division and alienation, wittingly and unwittingly encouraged by government, incipient factors of state destruction are observable everywhere in hate preaching and advocacy, upsurge in tribalism and sectionalism, silence and complacency among those who should care, and a dangerously rising feeling that your votes don’t count and elections don’t matter. And yet, we spend colossal amount of money on elections every four years with apparently not much to show for it.
“With other ills within our society, if these observable symptoms are not addressed, and speedily too, we are heading to self-destruction. It will not matter where the fire commences from, it will spread fast and widely, leaving no survivor on its trail.
“In the last three weeks, I have been close to two countries and learned how they self-destruct. I was in Somaliland to learn at first-hand the story of self-destruction of Somalia. And I was in Colombia to similarly learn the story of self-destruction of Venezuela. They both started with destruction of democracy.
“And Venezuela used democratic process to destroy democracy. Nigeria seems to be embarking on the path of Venezuela. With only a population of about 30 million, the Venezuela humanitarian situation today, heightened by drug trafficking, illegal mining, pervasive corruption and terrorism, is crying to the world. But the world can turn a blind eye and it would be our funeral.