Emeka Anyaoku, former secretary-general of Commonwealth, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari and members of the national assembly to stop living in denial over the widespread killings in the country.
The elder statesman made the comment hours after Buhari told his supporters at Aso Rock that save for isolated cases, Nigeria is seen as peaceful.
The president said insecurity is not peculiar to Nigeria, describing those who have been raising the alarm over the issue as unpatriotic.
But speaking at a book launch in honour of Dadi Onyeama, a former judge of the supreme court, on Tuesday, Anyaoku said Nigeria is on the brink of a national disaster.
Describing the current state of affairs in the country as “extremely worrisome”, he said as a way out, the nation must have an inclusive central government where the component units have a sense of unity and patriotism.
“Let me now come to my message to President Muhammadu Buhari and all members of our national assembly. Nigeria is on the brink; and our foremost national challenge is the management of our country’s diversity,” Anyaoku said.
“I call on our president, the members of the national assembly, the governors, and indeed, on all our political elites not to continue to live in denial of the seriousness of these glaring facts, if not effectively addressed, are bound to push the country over the brink of a national disaster,.
“As I have stated on many occasions, I believe that the current travails of Nigeria will be more effectively tackled if the country’s diversity is managed with a structure of governance that draws not only from the present lessons of successful diverse federations but more importantly, from Nigeria’s own past happier experience during its immediate post-independence years.”
He added that adequate delegation of powers to the federating units will enable the government to handle internal security and significant aspects of their socio-economic development.
“Every diverse federal country throughout the world achieves political stability and socio-economic development through successfully managing its national diversity,” he said.
“There are two common keys to this. The first is having an inclusive central government which gives the people of the component parts of the federation a sense of belonging that in turn underpins the sense of unity and patriotism in all the citizens.
“The second is having adequate delegation of powers to the federating units to enable them to handle their internal security and significant aspects of their socio-economic development.
“However today, Nigeria is on the brink. For no objective observer, including those in the government, can deny that the current state of affairs in our country is extremely worrisome.
“We see an unprecedented diminution of national unity; we see an unprecedented level of insecurity of life and property with kidnappings and killings of human beings occurring virtually every day in many parts of the country including the seemingly unchecked violence by Fulani herdsmen which has spawned fractious controversies over the proposed Ruga policy by the federal government.
“For the sake of peace and integrity of the country, the Ruga policy must be handled with circumspection and strictly in accordance with our extant constitution’s provisions on the land tenure.”