By Onyedika Agbedo
FORMER governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, is a busy man on the political terrain even though he has taken the back stage and joined the league of Nigeria’s elder statesmen. His activism on the turf is rooted in the fact that he is ever at home with trending political issues in the country and is hardly left out of any national discourse. With his Igbo kinsmen moaning of marginalisation under the incumbent administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, he has constantly spoken against the development without minding whose ox was gored.
Off the beat, however, Ezeife is an avid reader of books that keep his mind in form. “Reading is what I enjoy very well. I read all kinds of books including books on different religious faiths, fiction, history and autobiographies. I have read the Qur’an for about four times,” Ezeife, who is a practicing Christian, noted.
He noted that the variety of books he reads expands his worldview and makes it possible for him to easily understand other people.
He said: “The books I read have made it possible for me to understand other people. In fact, if you give me connection and wealth, I can turn the world around. It is a big claim but it is something I can do. Given the chance, I can remove religious bickering from the world. I can remove religion as a problem from the world and make peace amongst all kinds of people. And that is what God wants us to do. It is total misunderstanding for people to be accusing, fighting and killing each other and making the other person to be unhappy. That is not what God intended.”
Ezeife explained further: “For example, I am a Christian. But did I choose to be a Christian? I was a Christian on arrival. Musa, who is a Muslim, was a Muslim on arrival. We did not choose to be either Christians or Muslims. We all became either Christian or Muslim based on the culture or religion we met at birth. Whatever you meet when you come is what you accept and it is difficult to change.
“The day I was born into my father’s family in Igbo-Ukwu, there was no single Muslim there. If you go beyond Igbo-Ukwu to the whole of Aguata Local Government Area and even the entire Anambra State, there were no Muslims. So, I was Christian on arrival and so was Musa. Where you are born to a large extent determines the culture or religion you practice. If you are born into a family in Kano, your chances of being Muslim are very high; the chance becomes even higher if one is born into a family in Sokoto. So, we as creations of God, do we have the right to question other people’s faith? The way we became Christians on arrival was the way other people became Muslims on arrival and only God could determine that. Do we now question God?”
The elder statesman, therefore, called for a reorientation among Nigerians. He submitted: “Nigeria has failed socially, politically and economically. The foundation for our failure is in monumental corruption, which has eaten deep into every element of our social structure. The only way out is to eliminate corruption by cleaning up Nigeria. We have bagged a ‘B.A’ as a country. The ‘B.A’ means “Begin Again” and we must begin again. We must fight corruption; we must remove all the institutions that created corruption. We must do away with APC, PDP, APGA and all the political parties in the country today and begin again. When we do that, we must make sure that anybody who wants to go into politics in the country is doing so with the aim of serving the people and not to serve himself. If that is done, we will begin to found a new nation, which will be able to accomplish its manifest destiny. God has a purpose for creating Nigeria and I suspect that that purpose is that she becomes a super power, big brother and rallying point for all Blacks. That is Nigeria’s manifest destiny. But from the way we are going, we have already failed. Nobody should be pointing at any person. We failed collectively and must rise collectively and fight to liberate Nigeria from corruption and allow her achieve her manifest destiny.”