Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says though he strongly believes in the existence of Nigeria as a single nation, it should not be at any cost.
Obasanjo stated this on Wednesday during his investiture as a fellow of the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS), organised by the Ogun chapter.
The elder statesman called on those agitating for the disintegration of the country to shelve the idea and work for unity.
He said it is better for Nigeria to remain as one indivisible nation, noting that “disintegration is not the solution”.
“It is better that Nigeria stays together and finds solutions to its challenges than for each tribe to go its separate way,” Obasanjo said.
“I am a strong believer in one Nigeria, but not one Nigeria at any cost — one Nigeria where every Nigerian can feel proud that he or she has a stake in this country.
“Those of us who have shed part of our blood and sweat for this country, we did so 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.
“The fact that we are not making Nigeria what God wants it to be is not the fault of God, but our fault, particularly the leaders.”
Obasanjo further said disintegration will only result in “weak republics”, adding that if parts of the country secede, they may end up at war.
“One thing that gives us strength is our diversity. If all that we have is Republic of Oduduwa for those who say so, members of that country will be diminished, compared to being citizens of Nigeria,” he said.
“Citizens of Oduduwa Republic or any other republic borne out of Nigeria will be diminished compared to being 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.
“If we have Igboland as an independent country, Yorubaland, an independent country, and Fulani/Hausaland an independent country, where will the Jukuns or the Gbasama belong? The only reason they can raise their heads is because they belong to Nigeria.
“Are we thinking of them or are we just being selfish? We should note that 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. When that happens, we will be spending our money on building armies.
“I know what is involved in building and maintaining an army which may not necessarily be productive. Let us think about it.”