Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has again restated his commitment to the continued unity of Nigeria, saying those who are calling for the dismemberment of the country are enemies of the nation.
Speaking during a courtesy call on the Olu of Warri on Friday, Obasanjo said Nigeria needs today is not physical restructuring, but restructuring of the minds of the individual Nigerian.
Obasanjo, who was in Warri, Delta State for a facility tour of Lee Engineering and Construction Company, lamented the agitation by certain elements in the country for the dismemberment of Nigeria, stressing that those advocating separation through violent means have not seen the effect of war.
He said: “The answer to our problem is mindset.
“If we need restructuring at all, it is the restructuring of our mindset.
“How can anybody say the answer to our problem is separation?
“It is diversity that makes us great as a nation.
“The beauty of Nigeria is in its diversity.
“The greatness of Nigeria is in our diversity.
“There is nothing wrong with Nigeria, but a lot is wrong with Nigerians.
“What we need to do is to change.”
The former president maintained that there was nothing wrong in people agitating for equity, justice and fairness in the distribution of the nation’s wealth, adding however: “When we speak up that things are not good enough, we must be prepared to offer something better and not dismemberment.”
Obasanjo said when we substitute injustice, inequity and marginalization with equity, justice and fairness Nigeria will make progress.
He called on the Federal Government to give the needed support for indigenous companies in the country to thrive.
“Nigerians who have visions like Chief Leemon Ikpea must be encouraged and supported to grow their businesses. This country of ours must be developed by ensuring that that we grow businesses and entrepreneurs who have visions like my brother and friend must be supported,” the ex-Nigerian leader said.
He lamented that Nigeria over the years have failed to harness her best human assets, adding: “What we do wrong in Nigeria is that we do not make use of our assets.”
While encouraging the management of the company to continue to work to improve on the standard it has set over the years, Obasanjo said it is only through commitment and dedication that Nigeria can make the needed economic progress.
The Chief Executive Officer of Lee Engineering and Construction Company, Ikpea described Obasanjo as a great patriot and nationalists who helped in laying the foundation for the development of local content in Nigeria.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the inspection tour, Ikpea said he was inspired by some of the patriotic acts of Obasanjo in establishing Lee Engineering.
Citing Obasanjo’s Operation Feed the Nation and the technical crash programme, Ikpea said: “We are indeed inspired by some of these patriotic acts to venture into establishing a full production factory, dedicated to in-country manufacture of plants and equipment for the oil, gas and power sector.”
While seeking the support of the former president “in our national quest to meet with current global standards in technological advancement, and the drive to increase indigenous capacity utilization in the oil, gas and called industry”, Ikpea said such support will help indigenous companies excel and help contribution to the overall economic progress of the Nigeria.
Ikpea, who is one of Nigeria’s indigenous fabricator in the oil and gas sector as well as a representative of major offshore technology companies in the world, said: “The Local Content Act was a boost for those of us in the sector who are Nigerians but more still need to be done by the government to give indigenous companies in the oil and gas strength so that we can continue to support the government in boosting the Nigeria economy.
“What the government has done with the Local Content Act is to lay the foundation for Nigerians in the sector to build a stronger and better oil and gas industry but it still needs to do more so that we can have enough financial muscles to go into research and development of modern day offshore technologies in the country.”