Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Yorubas, Igbos will oppress, eliminate minority groups if Nigeria breaks up: Obasanjo

“If the Yoruba can stand as a country; if the Igbos and the Hausa/Fulani can stand as separate countries, where do we want the minority groups to be?”

• May 6, 2021
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Ayo Adebanjo, and Professor George Obiozor
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Ayo Adebanjo, and Professor George Obiozor

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday described calls for the disintegration of Nigeria as unmindful and insensitive to the plight of the minority groups in the country.

Mr Obasanjo also claimed that the Yoruba and Igbo would oppress and eliminate minority ethnic groups should the country break up.

“If the Yoruba can stand as a country; if the Igbos and the Hausa/Fulani can stand as separate countries, where do we want the minority groups to be?

“Now, by virtue of the present situation, they are a little bit protected. But if Nigeria breaks up, they will be oppressed and exterminated,” Mr Obasanjo asserted.

The former president stated this on Wednesday when he received the Tiv Professional Group (TPG) from Benue, who paid him a courtesy visit in Abeokuta.

He recalled the meetings he had with some socio-cultural organisations in September 2020. He noted that nobody at the meeting talked about disintegration or breakup, saying that “all they clamoured for was a change for good.” 

The elder statesman stressed the need for Nigerian leaders to be mindful of the ethnic diversity of the nation, adding that the country will not make any meaningful progress without such consideration.

Mr Obasanjo, who expressed hope that the country’s mounting challenges under President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime would not last forever, urged Nigerians to be patient.

The leader of the group, Zacharys Gundv, in a paper he presented to Mr Obasanjo, highlighted the nation’s challenges to include insecurity, poverty religious intolerance, kidnappings, and banditry, among others.

Mr Gundv explained that the Tivs were worried about the skewed narrative of insecurity in Nigeria.

Also, Mr Gundv called on well-meaning Nigerians to be united in serving the country, urging “intensified advocacy against nomadic pastoralism” and an “All Nationalities Summit” to discuss and proffer solutions to Nigeria’s challenges.

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