Obasanjo and Babangida: Re-enforcing Peace with Joint statement

by Emeka Chiakwelu

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 much.”

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 development.

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 taste.

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 results.

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