From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called on agitators for the disintegration to rethink the idea and work for the unity and oneness of the country.
He said it was better for Nigeria to remain as one indivisible nation than for each tribe to go its separate way.
Obasanjo made the call at the luncheon and his investiture as a Fellow of Nigerian Institution of Surveyor, organised by the Body of Fellow of the NIS, Ogun State chapter, yesterday.
He said though the situation in the country was not palatable, calling for the disintegration of the country was not the solution, declaring that “it is better we stay together.”
“If there is any Nigerian who does not feel apprehensive on the situation of the country, the person is a human being without being human. Any Nigerian who is human will be apprehensive, if not frustrated with the present situation in the country. We are apprehensive about security situation, apprehensive about economic situation, apprehensive about our political situation and the drum we are hearing is of disintegration of the country.
“I am a strong believer of one Nigeria, but not one Nigeria at any cost, but one Nigeria where every Nigerian can feel proud that he or she has a stake in this country/
“No Nigerian is born a slave in this country. No Nigerian is born to be oppressed in this country and those of us that have shared part of our blood and sweat for this country, we did that because we wanted a country where every Nigerian can claim as his or her own.
“I believe that if we talk among ourselves the way we should and if we change the narrative, I believe this is a great country. That we are not making Nigeria what God wants it to be is not the fault of God but the fault of ourselves, particularly our leaders.
“One thing that gives us strength is our diversity. If all that we have is Republic of Oduduwa for those who said so, their position is understandable. If that is all we have, members of that country will be diminished compared to be a citizen of Nigeria. Citizens of Oduduwa Republic or any other republic from Nigeria will be diminished compared to citizens of Nigeria.
“In this age and time that we are talking about the reintegration of Africa for economic development, disintegration of any country will be almost idiotic. Even if we have Igboland as an independent country, Yorubaland an independent country and Fulani/Hausaland an independent country.
“And as a friend of mine in the military used to say then, what will become of the over 300 minorities – the Jukuns, the Gbasamas? Where will they belong? The only reason they can raise up their heads is because they belong to Nigeria. Are we thinking of them or are we just being selfish? It doesn’t matter what we do, we will still be neighbours.
“We had seen it before; India was broken into India and Pakistan, they are still at war till today. Yugoslavia was broken into how many countries, they haven’t sorted it till today. Sudan was broken into Sudan and South Sudan, I don’t believe South Sudan is better for it and that is the truth.
“I believe it will cost us less to work for our unity. There are many things wrong but those things are correctable if we make efforts to correct them and hold us together than what it will cost us to break up and be perpetually at war and all our money will be spent in building an army. I know what an army contains, I know what it means to keep an army, an army that may not be productive. Let us think about it.”
On the importance of survey to the national development, Obasanjo said the entire country should be surveyed in order to achieve economic development and transformation.
He therefore charged the national body of the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors to draft a proposal on the national survey of the country to the federal government.
“When I was the president of the country, the project of surveying the entire country began, but it got stuck and I don’t know where the project is now,” Obasanjo noted.
The state chairman, Nigerian Institution of Surveyors, Ademola Adebowale disclosed the Ogun State chapter of the NIS had concluded plans to produce a unique digital map of Ogun State which will be updated regularly for meaningful and sustainable development.
“This will make us to become self sufficient in geospatial information which will affect all sectors positively and thereby increase the state internally generated revenue geometrically,” Adebowale said.
The event held at the Marquee of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) Abeokuta, also saw to the investiture of Kehinde Isijola as the new chairman of the Body of the Fellows.