Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that Nigeria is more divided compared to the period of the Nigerian-Biafran Civil War.
The War, in which Obasanjo took part as a military officer from 1967 to 1970, resulted in an estimated killing of up to three million people of Igbo descent.
Most of them died due to hunger and disease as the Nigerian military under General Yakubu Gowon battled to keep the country undivided.
And speaking at a one-day ‘2019 annual retreat/conference and general meeting’ of members of Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN) held at Park Inn, Abeokuta in Ogun state, Obasanjo, a retired general, called for unity among Nigerians.
He said Nigerians should partner one another at home, within communities, states, countries, sub-African region, and the African continent, adding that Nigeria was in danger if “we don’t take partnership seriously.”
“When we look at this country today, even during the civil war, we were not as divided as we are now. Today, we are in danger if we don’t take partnership serious. That partnership should be within our people, Africa and the rest of the world,” the elder statesman said.
“As chief audit, it is defined by virtue of what you are doing as a profession. If the audit is awry, banking business will not be right.
“What I want to emphasise is that it is a must as Nigerians and Africans that we have certain elements that we have to take very seriously which I put as 5Ps.
“The first is politics which is governance. Unless we get governance right, any other thing we are trying to do will not be right.
“The second is population. Our population at independence was estimated to be 45 million, but today we are almost 200 million. By the year 2050, we will be over 400 million. Normally, population should be an asset but looking at the condition we are in now, when in the North-east of Nigeria, the percentage of adult literacy is about 53 percent, and education being the basic of all human development, you can see that we have a problem.
“How do we think of setting education to be useful? Those people who will make our education over 400 million people in many years’ time are already born, and you cannot unborn them. So the problem is here, what do we do?
“We must provide education for them, housing, healthcare and most importantly, employment for them.
“One thing that I believe will help us is to provide employment is agricultural business. And you in the banking business must pay attention to how we build the agriculture sector. I am not talking of horticulture, I am talking of the whole value chain, from land preparation to the end product. And if we are able to get that right, maybe we will be able to get the issue of employment for our teeming youths right as well as rural development right.
“The next one is prosperity. I am not being bothered about Nigeria or Africa’s poverty. We have everything to generate wealth. We have God-given resources under our soil. We also have human resources. If we bring these together, then we will definitely get prosperity
“Another one is security. People must be protected in all aspect. Protection of lives and property is most important.”