Obasanjo & Babangida: Re-enforcing Peace with Joint statement – By Emeka ChiakweluArticles, Columnists, Emeka Chiakwelu, Ibrahim Babangida (1985-93), NNP Columnists, Olusegun Obasanjo (1976-79, 99-07), Presidency Saturday, August 4th, 2012
By Emeka Chiakwelu | NNP | August 4, 2012 - Henry Kissinger, the global geo-political icon furthered the thesis on what was called “Big Talk” and with Nigeria’s growing insecurity the joint statement by former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida can be rated in that important category.
Big talks can be consequential and when managed properly with necessary
implementation it can bear fruit. Henry Kissinger’s big talks pioneered
the policy on Détente with fruitful results on SALT (strategic arms
limitation talks) and the Helsinki Accords. It even gave birth to the
President Nixon’s opening of China and Henry Kissinger as the United
States Secretary of States and the chief facilitating strategist.
It is important to give these instances to buttress that words can have
consequential meaning when executed properly and given the opportunity to
germinate on a fertile ground.
Nigeria is in a delicate trajectory point but has not reached what
physicist calls an “Escape velocity” which literally means a point of no
return. Not yet! Nigeria can be salvaged even make whole again when
patriots and lovers of stability vow to restore the country to her lost
glory of 1970s and early 80s.
The former leaders of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida may
be up to something that maybe the beginning of the solution to the
eradication of the ills of insecurity and terrorism engulfing Nigeria.
But only time will measure the efficacy and effectiveness of their
commitments to their words.
Words are powerful and initiation of any viable project starts with words
and in this case “big talk” that could produce big result. The joint
statement highlighted an important statement below that cannot be divorced
from a nation in quest for progress and development:
“We need to reiterate that no meaningful development can ever occur in an
atmosphere of violence and hatred. History has shown that any society that
is built on the structures of violence and intolerance cannot prosper. We
need to appreciate that, God in His infinite mercy, has blessed our
country with abundant resources and talents, but we need peace and harmony
to harness them not just for our own well being but also that of our
children and grandchildren. We owe this future generations of Nigerians
This is the truth about nature and on the progress of a nation: without
peace and stability no nation can rise to become a developed entity.
Without doubt, Nigeria is resources rich including natural and human
capitals but without stability her quest of joining the family of
industrial nations will become a mirage.
Truth must be told, the most important function of government is the
protection of life and property and when those are found wanting the
potential of a nation cannot be realized.
Nigeria has formed the habit of begging foreign investors to send their
capitals especially in the non-oil sector of the economy. Inspite of the
public relation and campaigning which is anchored on rebranding by Federal
government of Nigeria, investors do their feasibility studies before
sending their precious capital to the country.
Nigeria must deal with this perception that the country is unstable, for
it is not good for business. Nigeria is losing billions of dollars to
tourists who have the desire to visit Nigeria but are deter by the
insecurity and fear that is checkmating the country’s progress and
Obsanjo and Babangida are right on the money to re-engage citizens of
Nigeria on this emerging trend: “A deeply worrying trend that is emerging
from this terrible situation is that a pervasive cynicism is beginning to
set in, so much so that millions of true Nigerian patriots are starting to
question the platform upon which the unity of this country rests. This is
simply untenable. The people of this country must not allow whatever sense
of frustration, fear and despair we are experiencing now to supersede our
hopes for a collective destiny which lies in our continued existence as a
nation. For us, and we believe for millions of other Nigerians, the
continued unity of this nation is not only priceless but non-negotiable.”
Nigerians as citizens should and be able to live in any part of country
without fear of being look as an intruder and unacceptable. When we lose
that bond and glue that hold us together the saltiness will lose its
It is imperative that men and women of goodwill must come together and
take a stand on the state of the nation. By this joint statement, former
presidents Obsanjo and Babangida have started the “big talk” and the rest
is on Nigerians to listen without being cynical and produce affirmative
Emeka Chiakwelu is the Principal Policy Strategist at Afripol
Organization. Africa Political and Economic Strategic Center (Afripol) is
foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden
the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote
and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment,
human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.
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