Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has described the National Assembly’s fresh constitutional review exercise as a waste of time and resources.
Obasanjo stated this in Abuja on Thursday while delivering a speech titled, ‘Moving Nigeria Away from Tipping Over’ at a consultative dialogue attended by various socio-cultural groups including Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo and Pan Niger Delta Forum.
The former president praised the NEF and Yoruba Summit Group for describing the constitutional review as such.
Obasanjo said, “That ray of hope was somewhat manifested in the last 10 days or so when the Northern Elders Forum and Yoruba Summit Group complemented each other in their separate press releases on the Senate’s idea of inviting submissions from Nigerian public for constitution amendment which had been regular money-gulping activity by every National Assembly session since 1999, a veritable source of waste without end.
“I believe one of our major problems in the past was that we did not dialogue enough, we talk at ourselves and selfishly keep old prejudices and biases. If we show understanding, give-and-take, love of one another and commitment and love of the country, we will do what is right and stand firmly together for the good of all.”
He also berated the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, saying the country had never been so divided in its history.
“I do appreciate that you all feel sad and embarrassed as most of us feel as Nigerians with the situation we find ourselves in. Today, Nigeria is fast drifting to a failed and badly divided state; economically our country is becoming a basket case and poverty capital of the world, and socially, we are firming up as an unwholesome and insecure country.
“And these manifestations are the products of recent mismanagement of diversity and socio-economic development of our country. Old fault lines that were disappearing have opened up in greater fissures and with drums of hatred, disintegration and separation and accompanying choruses being heard loud and clear almost everywhere,” he said.
Obasanjo said those beating drums of war and calling for secession must remember that were Nigeria to break into several countries, the citizens would still be neighbours and would need to interact with one another.
He also said he could not understand why some are fixated on the 2023 presidential election despite the grievances among several units within the country.
Obasanjo said he was optimistic that the consultation among the several groups would enlarge the circle from the mini-dialogue group bit by bit until a national dialogue that could save Nigeria from disintegration was reached.