Former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo say the country is badly divided because appointments in government had been lopsided on basis of nepotism and mediocrity and disregard for merit and competence.
Obasanjo said this while delivering his remarks titled, ‘The Quest For Unity In Nigeria And The Role Of Unity Schools,’ at the 50th anniversary of Federal Government College, Kaduna, on Saturday.
He said many leaders are more concerned about their selfish interests than the survival and health of the nation.
The former Presidet regretted that politicians and political parties were trampling on many of the things put in place to give all groups in the country a sense of belonging.
He said, “First, I am concerned that the current state of our nation’s economy has widened the gulf of inequality and left many people in despair. Inflation is on the rise; poverty and hardship have returned to many households. The last decade has reversed many of the economic gains that were made in the first decade of the century. There is a general sense of hopelessness across the nation with seemingly uncontrollable insecurity.
“In addition to the economic hardship is political mischief. Never have we been so politically divided along religious, ethnic and other fault lines and deliberately so. Appointments in government are skewed and lopsided on basis of nepotism and mediocrity and disregard for merit and competence. Elections are here and may compound the problem.
“Political parties and politicians have now been emboldened to discard some of the things that were put in place to give all groups a sense of belonging. Exclusion is being taken as normal. Disunity stares us in the face and many of our leaders are more concerned about their selfish interests than the survival and health of our nation.
“Let me reiterate that the concerns being raised about the nature of the options before us in the Presidential elections for instance are real and should not be trifled with.
“Nigeria belongs to us all and no part of the country should be left in doubt about their place in this union on any basis whatsoever; ethnic, religious, language, region, culture or social standing.
“If we choose to do nothing, we will only have ourselves to blame. If we choose to do the right thing, we will by so doing return this country on the right track; one which gives all our people a sense of belonging and a sense of unity of purpose and a stake in the project Nigeria; a project that will give all of us peace, security, stability, shared prosperity, hope and progress and a place within the comity of nations.”