Nigeria May Lose Identity to Diversity, Says Obasanjo

Olusegun Obasanjo

Femi Ogbonnikan in Abeokuta

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday raised the alarm that Nigeria may lose her identity due to the mismanagement of the country’s diversity with impunity, adding that many Nigerians are not happy with the country and are ready to pull out of the union.

Speaking at the 9th Toyin Falola Annual International conference held at Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, Obasanjo said that Nigeria may not move forward if the country continued to lose its identity to diversity .

The former president who was a distinguished guest of honour at the conference with the theme: “Religion , the State and Global Politics,” also presented a paper titled, “Towards a re-unification of the sacred and secular: Religious interventions in politics.”

He argued that both religious leaders and politicians cannot be separated.

“You can’t take one and leave the other. You can’t take politics and leave religion and you can’t take religion and leave politics; they are together.

“We are so badly handling our diversity that we are losing our identity. As long as we are doing that, we are going nowhere.

“The management of diversity must be right – religion, politics and ethnicity are part of our diversity which must be well managed. “When you mismanage diversity with impunity, it is particularly annoying. It can lead to what we may not want it to lead to.

“I don’t know of any Nigerian who doesn’t wish Nigeria well, but, I know many Nigerians who are unhappy and want to leave Nigeria.

“Our issue is so because, what they expect from Nigeria they are not getting it”.

“The role of religious leaders and religion is to lead but, lead them also to also to let politicians learn a best lesson.

“God is a Nigerian because, what we have gone through in Nigeria and what we are going through, probably, Nigeria should not be on the map of the world. That’s why I say God is a Nigerian”.

While delivering his keynote address, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Prof. Mathew Kukah, argued that religion has failed in Africa.

“We are carrying Western identity whether it is Christianity or Islam. This identity has continued to play out in our daily lives.

“Only in Nigeria we can go to war because of religion, We are not going to go to war because, of no water; we are going to go to war because, we don’t have road . But, we are not going to go to war because we don’t have decent housing, we are not going to go to war because of lack of salary, we are not going to go to war because of injustice, but we can go to war in the name of God”.

The cleric lamented that most countries with substantial Muslims and Christians population have not known peace.

He said, “Nigeria seems to be like a polygamist who is married with two wives. Somehow, Christians are complaining that they are treating Muslims better, Muslims are complaining that they are treating Christians better. But essentially, my argument is that, unless religion through some of us who are leaders and practitioners find herself rescued from the clutches of politics and politicians the wrong notion will continue as it is in Nigeria .Somehow religion will be a problem”.