THREE eminent Nigerians – former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Gombe State Governor Inuwa Yahaya – on Tuesday warned about the consequences of worsening insecurity and other socio-economic crises in the land.
They urged fellow compatriots to work together to end the crises, instead of blaming one another as the bad situation escalated.
Obasanjo advised Nigerian leaders to stop blaming God for the rise in insecurity, the parlous economy, poverty and other challenges plaguing the nation.
The former President stressed that the hardship caused by the comatose economy and COVID-19 pandemic led to the death of many Nigerians.
But he argued that the nation’s woes were by the “choice” of the leaders and followers.
The elder statesman spoke yesterday at his Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, in his 2021 message to Nigerians.
He called for a change in the narrative as the country approaches a new year.
According to him, the economy is worsening because Nigeria is “not doing the right thing now”.
Obasanjo stressed that given the enormous resources in the country, Nigerians do not have to be poor and no citizen ought to go to bed hungry.
“I believe we need to work hard in this country as we pray hard so that the coming year, the Year 2021, will be a glorious year for us. But it will not happen unless we work to make it happen.
“We do not have to blame God for our situation; we have to blame ourselves. Nigeria does not have to be poor. No Nigerian must go to bed hungry.
“That we have a situation like that is a choice by our leaders and followers alike. My prayer is that God will make Year 2021 a better year for all of us. But it will not happen without work,” he said.
Lawan described the pandemic and the insecurity situations in the land as pathetic.
He called for prayers to enable the nation’s leaders to steer the ship of state to safety.
The Senate President spoke yesterday during a condolence visit to Gombe State on the death of Senator Sa’idu Kumo said this is very important so as to be able to steer the ship of the country.
“As leaders, we need the prayers of the people to be able to steer the ship of the country because the current situation the nation found itself is pathetic. Only prayers can redeem us. The issues of insecurity and COVID-19 pandemic are major concerns to all patriots,” he said.
Lawan described the late Senator Sa’idu Kumo as a humble and hardworking person with special interest in people-oriented projects.
He said: “Senator Sa’idu Kumo will be remembered for his humility, hard work. He was always there for the interest of his people.
“Some of us who were fortunate to work with him found him possessing rare leadership qualities. It is not only Gombe State that has lost a rare gem, it is the entire country that is crying for a replacement.”
Governor Yahaya warned that Nigeria may not know peace in the future unless the people collectively address the security challenges plaguing the country.
The governor spoke on Tuesday in Gombe while hosting the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
He said: “These days, if it is not the issue of banditry, it is the issue of rustling, kidnapping; crises in all ramifications. If we are not careful enough to make sure we address all these issues and curtail them from extending, Nigeria will not know peace in the future. The young people that are around are not well guided,” he said.
Yahaya said the establishment of a Nigeria Air Force (NAF) base in Gombe would reinforce the security architecture of not only the state but the country.
He said: “We are all aware of the current situation, not only in the Northeast; in fact, in the entire North; in fact, what the entire country is going through in terms of security challenges.
“Your coming will help to fortify our people in their vocations and professions so that they can produce more and Nigeria’s economy will be improved and the security of life and property will be guaranteed.”
Abubakar said 71 NAF personnel had been trained in China to equip the newly established Reconnaissance Group in Gombe State.
The CAS, who was on operational visit to the state, said the NAF would tackle banditry in the region.
*Read original copy in The Nation newspaper.