Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has once again written an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari. Unlike his previous letter which criticised the Buhari led government, this one addresses the issues of insecurity and national unity. He points out causes, consequences, as well as solutions to a problem that if not handled swiftly and properly could be Nigeria’s undoing.
Below are five takeaways from Obasanjo’s open letter.
1. Continuous growth of insecurity
The letter addresses the growing concerns of insecurity in Nigeria. Obasanjo talked about the seemingly unending menace of terrorist group Boko haram in Nigeria, and how despite several claims by the Nigerian Army of defeating them, the group still remains a “daily issue of insecurity for those who are victimized, killed, maimed, kidnapped, raped, sold into slavery and forced into marriages”. He also discusses the rising prominence of the Fulani herds men who have become an emerging security threat and a cause for great concern. The Fulani herds men have evolved into armed robbery, kidnapping, and killings. He attributes this predicament to the lack of commitment as well government’s lackluster handling of the issue of insecurity.
2. Widening diversity
Obasanjo in the letter states that Nigeria’s diversity remains one of its greatest assets, however he also suggests that this diversity has been in recent times mismanaged, and this has led to a divide among among Nigerian citizens. He also points out that the dissatisfaction and disaffection within the country, and even among those in the diaspora, has led to hate speeches and violent agitations, which could have disastrous consequences on the unity of the nation.
3. Insecurity leading to paranoia and ethnic conflicts
The former president identifies four calamities that could emerge as a result of the growing insecurity. Among these calamities are: reprisal attacks against the Fulani’s, and even more attacks against other tribes as a result of rumors, paranoia, fears, intimidation, and revenge. All these could ultimately lead to violent uprising that could spread like wild fire and threaten the unity of the nation.
4. Consensus in handling national issues
As president Obasanjo proffered possible solutions to the problems of insecurity, he points out that a consensus is required for any solution to bring the desired results. He suggested a “National programme” that will include debates, dialogues, discussions and consultations at all levels and with groups such as traditional rulers, past heads of state, religious leaders, diplomats, private sector, amongst others. The deliberations collated from these groups will be used to form a national conference, from whence lasting resolutions will be made.
5. Stable policies
While solutions are put in place by the President Buhari administration, Obasanjo proposes that any such solution should be one that is a nationally accepted strategic road map that will last overtime and not change with a new government. He states that any policy enacted should be “owned by the citizens” and not the government.