From Ben Dunno, Warri
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday insisted that the clamour for secession by the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) was unacceptable and urged Nigerians to rise against the agitation in the best interest of the nation.
Speaking during a courtesy visit to the palace of the Olu of Warri, Ogiamme Ikenwoli, the former president said calls for the dismemberment of the country would not solve the multifarious ethnic problems, even as he conceded cries against marginalisation by various sections were in order and should be addressed to give all a sense of belonging within the Nigerian state.
However, he cautioned that this must not be allowed to degenerate into demand for severance by any ethnic nationality.
Chief Obasanjo noted that Nigeria’s strength lay in the diversity of its people, stressing that sensitive issues that bordered on ethnic marginalisation, injustice, political imbalance and impunity in the country were better addressed through constitutional means.
He remarked that the call for restructuring was not bad in itself, but that there was need for reorientation of the people’s mindset. He said: “The point I’m making here is that in spite of history and in spite of the current situation, which is marginalizing your interest and desires as Itshekiri people, you never asked to be separated from Nigeria. As president, people from Ogun said they were marginalised. There is nothing wrong in asking for more share of the cake. Anyone saying the only way out is separation is unacceptable. We can solve all our problems through dialogue, debate, discussion, conversation and other constitutional means that are accommodated in our democratic process.
“I participated in the civil war. It was gruesome, destructive, and deadly. Those clamouring don’t know what war means. I swore never to be part of it. There is an adage in my place that he who sees Sango (god of thunder) strike or fight will never want to experience it again. May we never have another war in our lives.”