Nigeria’s former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed worry over the continued threat of national disintegration occasioned by many activities of armed groups in different regions of the country which are demanding for a breakup.
The former president stated that except for the country’s civil war period between 1967 and 1970, Nigeria has never been as divided in history as it is now.
Obasanjo said this yesterday through his representative Peter Okebukola during the maiden edition of the Nigeria Union of Journalists’ national summit held at Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta.
He warned the media not to be instrumental to fanning the embers of disunity but instead, be at the fore-front in promoting activities that will move the nation towards greater national integration and development. In addition, he condemned those calling for the breakup of Nigeria, arguing that the activities of the Niger-Delta Avengers, Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen had fractured the country.
“At no time in our history, except probably during the civil war, has Nigeria been so fractured in the feeling of oneness and belongingness by the citizenry. In the last four months, we have an average of twenty hotspots across the country with huge potential for national disintegration.”
“The press should mobilise the masses to strengthen the democratic process and play a crucial role in promoting a culture of tolerance, non-violence and mutual co-existence.
“For me, this Summit will only be successful if we find a niche for the press in our march to ensuring greater national cohesion, especially at this time in our history.
“Our strength as a nation lies in our unity and national cohesion and I want to entreat you (the media) to begin to preach the gospel of unity in diversity and unity of purpose and cohesion.”
Obasanjo also charged the Nigerian media to pay close attention to investigative journalism, as most news headlines in recent times lacked credibility and were based on rumours.