Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said the oil and gas sector can no longer sustain the nation in the face of burgeoning population.
Obasanjo said this when he hosted the leadership of the apex socio-cultural group of the Tiv from Benue State, Mzough U Tiv (MUT) at his Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) penthouse in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, at the weekend.
He urged fellow Nigerians to see the country as one for all “to save it and restore to what God has created it to be”.
The elder statesman, who was responding to a speech by MUT’s President General, Chief C. P. Iorbee Ihagh, noted that only more farming and modernised agricultural businesses could solve the food needs of Nigeria’s growing population.
In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, the former President and renowned farmer advised the Tiv nationality to focus on farming and agricultural businesses.
The elder statesman said he had treated the burning of his farm in Benue State as an act of fate, hinting that he might establish an industry in the state next year.
Obasanjo said he supported the change of the country’s leadership from the North to the South while, adding that the Middle Belt should continue to call for rotational presidency.
“If Nigeria is ready to get it right, the 2023 election should be a turning point. We should not go for emotion that will destroy us,” he said.
The ex-President, who was conferred with the title of a “Great Warrior” of Tiv land by MUT, warned that voting for candidates on the basis of emotions would be destructive.
Ihagh said the group’s friendship visit “is basically to interface with you as our former Head of State, a political pillar, a nationalist, and an elder statesman, to appreciate your overwhelming love, passion and he concern you have demonstrated over the Tiv people”.
The MUT president general listed three prayers for the former President’s consideration, including the need for the establishment of a fruit juice industry in Benue State and inclusive national politics.
He reminded Obasanjo of Fulani herders’ attacks on TIV land and the group’s position on the need for a power sharing formula among the nation’s diverse ethnic nationalities.
“With regard to the current power equation in the country, we in the Mzough u Tiv, in conjunction with the Middle Belt Forum, had unanimously resolved for power shift from the North to the South for fairness, justice and a true federalism.
“We want to call on Your Excellency and other well-meaning Nigerians to strictly adhere to the principle of rotation and distributive justice.
“If this is enforced, the Middle Belt would also be assured of producing the next President in Year 2031,” Ihagh said.