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Obasanjo Warns Buhari “Don’t Let this Restructuring Agitation Lead to War”

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said the present government needs to heed the agitations of those clamouring for  restructuring before such agitations develop into self-determination.

Speaking in Lagos on Saturday at the first memorial lecture organised in honour of the founder of the Oodua People’s Congress, Dr Fredrick Fasehun, the former President advised the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) to heed the call now before it would be too late.

He said Nigeria could not afford to be plunged into another war because the nation might not survive the second civil war.

Obasanjo, who said insecurity was a major concern in Nigeria, commended the South-West governors for establishing the Western Nigeria Security Network popularly known as Operation Amotekun.

He particularly commended Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde “for his leadership on this matter and for sharing their thinking with me.”

The former President said no section of the country should think it would be easy to quell any other region  that might want to secede if the agitation for restructuring was not addressed.

He stated that the agitation while he was in office was for true federalism but now it had changed to restructuring.

He said, “President Goodluck Jonathan’s effort of a National Conference did not even get to the National Assembly. Today, the agitation has moved up to restructuring. Thanks to Buhari’s administration and its impunity and all. With the fractional political division, poor management of the economy, the non-protecting security and the politics of uncertainty in the land, we should not allow restructuring agitation to degenerate to self-determination.

“There is still a window of opportunity for us to nip in the bud a possible and indeed likely agitation for self determination that will be violent, destructive and all-empowering. We have descended to lack of civility bordering on uncivilisation, indignity, mutual disrespect and crudity in the language of our debate, dialogue, discourse, address, comments and remarks across tribe, section, religion, region, ethnicity and community.

“If not halted, it will degenerate and poison the atmosphere to the tipping point or point of no return.”

Obasanjo, who played an active part in the Nigerian Civil War, said the military then planned that it would crush the Biafran soldiers between three and six months. He, however, said Nigeria almost lost to Biafra but managed to defeat the agitators after 36 months.

He said, “And before we descend any further, let me warn, from experience, those who are beating the drums of war and domination from all quarters. I joined late Bisalla, under General Hassan Katsina, to write the appreciation and the operational instruction for the (Nigerian) Civil War.

“We estimated that Federal Government would suppress the Biafran rebellion within three months. To make allowances for the unforeseen, we allowed six months. But it took us 30 months, five times what we allowed for, and what is more, we nearly lost the war. And as a field commander at the end of the war, I can attest that we fought with all Nigerian tribes, including Igbos against Biafra.”

He said the National Assembly appeared to be aware of the lurking danger and wanted to be proactive but he said the constitution did not give them the power to write a new constitution but to amend the existing one.

“What is required is a new constitution to meet the agitation and aspiration of all Nigerians and to allay all fears. The executive and the legislature need to work together to establish a Constituent Assembly.

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