Yakubu Dogara, former speaker of the House of Representatives, has warned that Nigeria could be plunged into war and famine if it fails to get it right in the 2023 general elections.
According to The PUNCH, Dogara said this while speaking on Saturday at the 10th convocation of Achievers University, Owo, Ondo State.
Dogara lamented the insecurity across the country, stressing that the present challenges confronting the nation had long been foretold, but the warnings were ignored.
The former speaker said Nigeria is at war with itself and that Nigerians must change the way they think and act if they want to see a change.
The federal lawmaker stressed that the southern part of the country is also gradually becoming a hot bed for criminality.
“The South-West and South-East are fast becoming Nigeria’s new zones of instability. Added to this is the long list of other protracted conflicts, including but not limited to Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East that has left scores of people dead and millions displaced, banditry in the North-West, piracy and organised crime in the South-South, and farmer-herder clashes in much of the rest of the country.
“With an unemployment rate of over 30 per cent, epileptic economic growth, overburdened and overwhelmed security agencies, coupled with weak institutional capacity within the security agencies, extreme inequality-cum-poverty, and citizens’ alienation from the government, you need not look no further for compounding factors”, he said.
Dogara noted that experts had linked insecurity in Nigeria to government failure to deliver public services and provide for basic needs of the people, adding that the situation has created a pool of frustrated people who are easily ignited by any event to be violent.
“Also, inequality and unfairness in appointment and distribution of public utilities create a perception of marginalisation by a section of the people, especially the youths, who have a sense of disaffection and/or resentment.
“Our inability to place the youths on sustainable career paths has turned this useful demography from dutiful labourers to disaffected rebels”, he also said.
On the next general elections, he stated that the country needs a team that can unite on the path of peace and progress.
“Our most immediate challenge now is to bring our disparate peoples together and pull down our barriers, otherwise we cannot build. Issues of development, although absolutely important, are not the most immediate.
“Make no mistake, if we dare get it all wrong in 2023, we would have succeeded in hastening the days of the first four – the famous horsemen of the apocalypse on ourselves – days that will be marked by conquest, war, famine and death. May God forbid,” Dogara said.