Southern and Middle Belt Elders Forum has backed former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s comment that Nigeria was becoming a failed state.
The elders in a statement on Monday decried the response from the Presidency over the comment, insisting that President Muhammadu Buhari remained insensitive to the plight of Nigerians.
At an event in Abuja organized by the elders last week, Obasanjo had remarked that Nigeria was becoming a failed state under President Buhari.
The Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in their reactions on Sunday chided Obasanjo, accusing him of lowering himself “from the lofty height of Commander-in-Chief to the lowly level of Divider-in-Chief.”
But in their statement on Monday signed by Dr Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt Forum), Yinka Odumakin (Afenifere), Chief Guy Ikokwu (Ohanaeze) and Bassey Hensaw (PANDEF), the Southern and Middle Belt elders regretted that Buhari was not ready any longer to listen to wise counsel.
“We are even more worried at this stage that a responsible and constructive effort to douse tensions, build bridges and restore hope in the potentials for the survival of our country as democratic and united entity will attract the type of childish vitriol from the Presidency, including labelling us as terrorists.
“Clearly, our current leaders are living in very deep denial, if they do not recognise that our current situation represents an existential danger to the nation.
“We noted the commendable support of other leaders for the initiative, and the statesmanship of Chairmen of Nigerian, APC and PDP Governors‘ fora who attended the second day of the meeting and expressed genuine support for it.
“In contrast, we are alarmed at the insensitivity of the Presidency which will rather demolish patriotic and responsible action than take steps to address gaping holes in the manner it handles our national destiny, our security and our economy.
“Our fora is encouraged to pursue the time-tested strategy of engagement, dialogue and steadfast commitment to the future of our country as secure, united and just.
“We will continue to exercise our rights to meet and seek for solutions, and discharge our obligations to younger generations of Nigerians who deserve to live in a nation without its current frightening limitations.
“We believe that the Presidency, our legislators and all well-meaning Nigerians should be part of our initiative. If the Presidency chooses to stay out, Nigerians have the right to ask what it is doing to address our deeply-embedded problems itself.
“President Muhammadu Buhari should know that Nigerians can distinguish between Nigerians who care enough to do something, and those with responsibility who choose to do nothing,” the elders said.