A former presidential candidate in the 2019 general election, Mr.Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, has called on all patriotic Nigerians to unite and avoid the very tempting campaign by desperate forces for the separation or breakup of the country.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja, he said given the current security situation in Nigeria and the reality of almost total helplessness, the propaganda from ethnic warlords was gaining increasing attention, with many people of various ages questioning the sanctity of the union and the concept of indivisibility of the Nigerian state.
“The truth must be told that despite the increasingly frustrating realities in Nigeria, a united Nigeria still remains our best alternative. Separatists’ advocacies are always ever seductive during moment of crisis but they never deliver good results afterwards.
“Ask the people of Southern Sudan – after about 30 years of war they seceded from Sudan, they are still embroiled in factional wars between their leaders. Despite their oil wealth, their people are still in poverty and the GDP of their economy is lower than that of Ogun State,” he stated.
He explained that ethnic or regional homogeneity of a state does not necessarily guarantee peace, saying there are countries like Somalia that are dominantly Muslims with one language but embroiled in unending war for over 30 years.
Citing the case of Ireland, one of the founding fathers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) added that the country is just trying to recover from internal division, where a predominantly Christian country was divided along denominational lines of Catholics and Protestants.
He argued that separatism and division do not bring justice, adding that it is good governance, sound policies and fear of God that ensure justice in the polity.
Olawepo maintained that Nigeria remains God’s gift to Africa, to every black man and woman in the Diaspora.
Speaking further, the global energy executive further explained that now is the time for an executive-led initiative to immediately amend the exclusive, concurrent and residual legislative lists in the 1999 constitution in order to ensure decentralisation of power for the people to effectively manage the nations’ democracy.
Olawepo also urged the federal government to increase dialogue with all interest groups, as well as ensure that the Federal Character Commission deals with any genuine claim of imbalances in the distribution of federal offices with a view to addressing them.
“The founding fathers of our Republic in the Lancaster Conference of 1957/58 agreed on a Nigerian state, which is indivisible and should exist in perpetuity.
“Any group of persons who claims otherwise must have their positions re-examined because they are at variance with solid historical records.
“ I quite agree that there is frustration in the land as a result of the problems which over centralisation of powers in the hands of the federal government has caused since the unfortunate military coup of 1966.The solution is not the dismemberment of the Republic but decentralisation of power to the component states which must start now.”
He added that Nigeria will do better if the country immediately takes steps to devolve powers to the states and local government in areas where there is a clear national consensus.
He listed some of the areas where there exits clear national consensus to include creation of states and local government police, side by side with the federal police so as to make policing more efficient and to bolster national security.