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Tuesday, 15 September 2020

State of the Nation: Forget the Messenger, Heed the Message, Rep. Deputy Minority Leader tells Presidency

The Presidency has been advised to take seriously the issues recently raised by the elder statesman and Nigeria’s former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, saying it was wrong and unwise to discard both the message and messenger.

The Deputy Minority of the House of Representatives, Hon. Toby Okechukwu, gave the advise in his statement on the “State of the Nation” made available to newsmen on Tuesday.

He expressed surprise that the Nigerian Presidency failed to see the obvious dangers facing the Nigerian State, insisting that the nation was indeed in dire straits.

“Just yesterday (Monday), in Nasarawa State, gunmen attacked officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), who were traveling from their Sokoto and Kebbi State Commands to Enugu for a training. They killed two people and kidnapped about 10 others.

“On the same day, the media also reported gun attack on a passenger train headed to Abuja from Kaduna.

“So, the truth is that the country is indeed in dire straits as Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and some well-meaning Nigerians have continued to point out and it is unhelpful to continue to live in denial. Even if the Presidency does not like the messenger, they cannot just wish away the message, which is an honest assessment of the true state of the nation”, he stated.

Okechukwu also pointed out that global fragility and terrorism rating organisations could not have all deliberately rated Nigeria very poorly.

“It is instructive that the Fragile States Index (FSI), produced by the Washington DC, USA-based organisation, The Fund for Peace, following a analysis of 178 countries across 12 indicators of the risks and vulnerabilities faced by individual nations, ranked Nigeria on the High Alert category and as the 14th most fragile state in the world as well as the ninth in Africa.

“According to the Index, Yemen was the “most failed” state in the world, besting only Somalia. It should equally worry us that in Africa, we were only slightly rated better than nations Somalia, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Guinea, Nigeria, and Burundi.

“Also, The Global Terrorism Index 2020 rated Nigeria as the third most terrorised country in the world, only better than Afghanistan and Iraq. This means we are worse off than war-ravaged nations like Congo DR and Yemen.

“It is logical to conclude that Chief Obasanjo, other well meaning Nigerians, and these highly respected international organisations could not have been all wrong at the same time. Hardly a day passes without a harvest of deaths, destructions, and tears induced by marauding terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, and other bands of violent criminals, who are continually cashing in on our worsening divisiveness and vulnerability.

“Therefore, common sense demands that the Presidency dismounts the high horse of denial and brashness to take all necessary steps, including bringing all stakeholders and peoples of Nigeria together, to begin the process of pulling the nation from the brinks as promised by Mr. President before it is too late. It is now self-evident that there is no hiding place for anybody”, he concluded.

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