A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, said the forthcoming general election might go on ethnic lines based on the way Nigerians were campaigning ahead of the 2023 presidential election.

The elder statesman said ethnic agenda was ongoing because the current Nigerian state does not make an impact on lives of individuals, alleging that the present administration in the country had failed to present itself as the government of the people.

He stated this in Akure, the Ondo State capital.

According to him, the major factor Nigerians should consider in choosing their next president is competence rather than ethnic or religious factor.

He said, “This (ethnic agenda) is inevitable when you have a government that does not present itself as the government of the people. If a government presents itself to be a champion of a section of the people, naturally the other elements in the country will defend themselves and will have to take care of themselves.

“My view might sound simplistic that Nigeria is not a difficult country to govern, because I have spent time in government, if we have a government or President who shows genuinely that he is for all Nigerians and shows that he cared for all Nigerians, they will worship him.

“For instance, Late Muritala (Muhammed) came in as a military Head of State and in six months we venerated him. He showed that he was not for the Hausa,  Yoruba or Fulani, but for Nigerians. That’s what we need, somebody that will know that Nigeria is multi-ethnic, multi-religious,  very complex country,  so you cannot afford to be sectional; that is recipe for chaos. We need a government that knows and act in perception that Nigeria belongs to all of us and that if he doesn’t please all Nigerians, he is destroying the country.

“That is what Nigerians want, a fair-minded leader and it doesn’t matter where he comes from. After all, whoever becomes the President must come from a particular family, one particular tribe or town. What he needs to do is to know that there are other Nigerians who have equal claim to the Nigerian patrimony and if he acts accordingly,  Nigerians will hail him.”

On the insecurity in the country ahead of the 2023 elections, the former Minister of Finance, expressed fear that the escalating security situation might affect the conduct and result of the election, saying the outcome might not be credible.

According to him, “I pray that the terrorists will allow the election to take place. Some few days ago they burnt down the INEC office somewhere in the South-East. They have been doing that for a long time, so we hope the election will even be possible.

“If elections take place at all, I hope that the outcome will be acceptable and credible because, if during voting, shooting takes place, the outcome may not be credible. So, all in all, I am hoping that we will be able to have elections that will be credible and I am praying that in that case the Lord Almighty will intervene and pick a government that can lead Nigeria out of the crisis in which we are. Nigeria is tottering precariously on the edge of the precipe.”

Supporting the call for creation of  State Police, the former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party said there was a need for every community to police themselves.

“In my view, security is a local matter and what I mean by that is that every community should mobilise its own people for its own security. Every village, every hamlet should mobilise its own people to defend itself. The police will do their work, the DSS will also do what they can do, but every community must have its own security,” he submitted.