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Minority ethnic groups will lose more if Nigeria breaks, Obasanjo warns

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Deplores ransom payments to kidnappers, bandits
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, condemned the calls for Nigeria’s balkanisation, insisting that minority ethnic groups would suffer if the nation splits.

He urged the agitators to consider the interest of the minority ethnic nationalities.

Hosting members of Tiv professionals Group (TPG), led by Prof. Zacharys Anger Gundu, in Abeokuta, Obasanjo observed: “If you major tribes decide to break up from the country, where do you want the minority ethnic groups to stand. That, many Nigerians don’t know about, unfortunately.

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“Where do we want those minor groups to stand? Wherever they stand, now they are by virtue of Nigeria’s present situation a little bit protected. But if Nigeria breaks up and they are in a smaller country, they will be oppressed. They will always be exterminated. Are we thinking of that?

The ex-leader went on: “I believe that if we will get it right in Nigeria, any leader must look at Nigeria within the prism of our diversity. For as long as you look at Nigeria within the prism of your ethnic group, then you aren’t going anywhere, either your ethnic group or religious group.

“But is there hope? There is hope.”

The Owu chief charged those presiding over the country’s affairs to ensure that 2023 gives birth emergence of a new federation else the most populous nation might be “sliding into ground dissolution.”

Obasanjo, who bemoaned the insecurity in the land, stressed that 2023 must mark a watershed for Nigeria.

“I do believe that whatever else we do, we have to make the year 2023 a watershed for Nigeria. The year 2023 should give us the beginning of emergence of a new federation or we are going to be sliding back to ground dissolution. God forbid,” he warned.

The elder statesman said he does not believe in payment of ransom to kidnappers and bandits, stating that such practice indulges the criminals.

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