IS NIGERIA A FAILING STATE?

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Olusegun Obasanjo
Olusegun Obasanjo

Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has stirred the hornet nest with his provoking, divisive and failed state narrative. Since Obasanjo left office to date, he has chided every government in power, including those he helped to install. One remembers with nostalgia his open abrasive letters to previous heads of state drawing their attention to matters of national importance. Did his criticisms start with the civilian governments? Actually, no. Even the military, the constituency Obasanjo came from has not been spared. From Ibrahim Babangida down to Abdulsalami Abubakar military regimes, they had torrent of criticisms during their days in office. Are Obasanjo’s criticisms borne out of passion for better Nigeria or are politically motivated?

Obasanjo is one of the beneficiaries of the Nigerian project. He served as military head of state and occupied the same position during the return of democratic government in 1999. It is not disputable to say Obasanjo’s years as Nigerian president were eventful and fruitful. He was able to carry out far-reaching economic reforms which stimulated growth and development. Think about the telecommunication, public service and agriculture reforms. These areas received greater attention and have provided millions of jobs to Nigerians. But there were shortcomings as well. It is on record that during his eight years as a democratically elected president, the country witnessed human rights abuses and cases of assassination. There were incidents of violence during elections. He was the architect of do-or-die politics. These glaring imperfections spoke volumes about Obasanjo’s administration. This is to say Obasanjo is not a saint as he wants us to believe. The problem he raised on divisiveness in politics or Nigeria being a failed state predated the present government. However, it got worse under its watch.

The occasion or venue in which Obasanjo raised these vexed national issues gave his narrative a political undertone. How can the former president in the midst of social cultural organisations such as Ohanaeze, Afenifere, Northern Elders Forum and Middle Belt Forum blame the present government for the current woes if not for political reason? Hear his conclusion: “2023 will be marked as a watershed in the history of Nigeria”. While it is true the country has been facing security and economic challenges, the former president has unfettered access to Mr President. Obasanjo should have reached President Buhari for an advice instead of unwarranted attacks on his government. There is time for politics and there is time to avoid overheating the polity. It seems the former president has chosen the latter.

Ibrahim Mustapha, Pambegua, Kaduna State