SWITZERLAND, JULY 15 – Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of mismanaging Nigeria’s diversity,
In an open letter written to the president on Monday, the former Head of State complained about the continued insecurity in the country which he says is “eroding the root of our Nigerian community.”
“The issue I am addressing here is very serious; it is the issue of life and death for all of us and for our dear country, Nigeria,” Obasanjo said in the open letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari and signed by Obasanjo’s spokesman Kehinde Akinyemi.
“This issue can no longer be ignored, treated with nonchalance, swept under the carpet or treated with cuddling glove,” Obasanjo added.
“A very onerous cloud is gathering, and rain of destruction, violence, disaster and disunity can only be the outcome,” Obasanjo said.
Frequent violent crimes have grown to form a major threat to Nigeria’s national security. These include instances of militancy, insurgency and banditry such as kidnapping for ransom. In fact, Nigeria has one of the world’s highest rates of kidnap-for-ransom cases.
The Islamist militants, who operate chiefly in Nigeria’s restive north, have carried out numerous deadly attacks on mosques, churches and businesses and even on the Nigerian troops.
Listing out the “four avoidable calamities” looming, Obasanjo said he is deeply worried about abandoning the country to the “hands of criminals” suspected to be Fulanis and terrorists of Boko Haram.
He said the conflict may lead to a “planned reprisal attacks against Fulanis which may inadvertently or advertently mushroom into pogrom or Rwanda-type genocide that we did not believe could happen and yet it happened.”
“Violent uprising beginning from one section of the country and spreading quickly to other areas and leading to dismemberment of the country,” Obasanjo pointed out this to make his four avoidable calamities list.
Obasanjo wants the Buhari-led government should open up discussion, debate and dialogue as part of consultation at different levels.
He suggested that Buhari should contacts “traditional rulers, past heads of service, past heads of para-military organisations, private sector, civil society, community leaders particularly in the most affected areas, present and past governors, present and past local government leaders, religious leaders, past Heads of State, past intelligence chiefs, past Heads of Civil Service and relevant current and retired diplomats, members of opposition and any groups that may be deemed relevant.”
“The President must be seen to be addressing this issue with utmost seriousness and with maximum dispatch and getting all hands on deck to help,” Obasanjo noted.
Obasanjo and Buhari, both former military heads of state in the country, were allies in the run-up to the 2015 polls that brought in the latter into power.
But their relationship went sour in 2018 with Obasanjo labelling Buhari incompetent and accusing him of nepotism.
Obasanjo has doubled down on the criticism of his former ally in subsequent statements and open letters.
Weeks before Nigeria’s last general elections, he accused Buhari of desperation to retain power, comparing him to the late Nigerian despot General Sani Abacha.