From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Bishop of Ibadan Diocese, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Joseph Akinfenwa, has warned that every region will lose if Nigeria disintegrates, which will cause a setback of 100 years.
He gave the warning in an interview with newsmen during the ordination of deacons and priests at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, Nalende, Ibadan, yesterday.
In the sermon delivered during the ordination, the Vicar, St Anne’s Church, Molete, Ibadan, Venerable Collins Babalola, tasked the newly ordained ministers, drawn from Nigeria, Togo, and Liberia, to pursue excellence in ministry.
But, Akinfenwa advocated consideration of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference and dialogue by the Federal Government, to chart a way forward for a united Nigeria, instead of drumbeat of war pervading the atmosphere.
Arewa youths gave October 1, 2017 deadline for Igbo resident in the northern part of the country to quit the region.
The quit notice followed agitation for secession by Igbo, to form Republic of Biafra.
The federal government has, however, warned against hate speeches and insisted t hat Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable.
“It is from one area that quit notice was given, and another area desired to be independent.
“The whole thing boils down on injustice, poverty, suffering of the masses, some few carting away the goods of the land, whereas a lot of people are suffering.
“The fruit that our diversity has borne is more than the division that we are lingering for. Our unity and our being together, has borne so many fruits. If we say this marriage should be divorced, everybody will be a loser from whatever angle. It is going to set us back 100 years.
“Where is the good in and in encouraging the labours of our heroes past? We want to destroy it overnight? That is what the agitators are doing.
“Agitating for this and that is not the way to go, not through the drumbeat for war, but through dialogue.
“Let us go back to the table. If there is separation now, and there is war, God forbids, after the war, it is still dialogue we will go back to. So, why don’t we go for dialogue now? Let us sit down and discuss it.
“Let the federal government bring to the open the conference report, and whatever they have discussed.
“Let us discuss Nigeria to the betterment of everybody and to the glory of God. That is the only way out.
“Let our leaders initiate discussion. We thank God for Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, who has encouraged state governors to speak out; that is the way out.
“Leaders of thoughts must speak out because, to begin to separate and disintegrate, we are going to lose so much than what we are going to gain, whether it is being politically motivated or otherwise, it does not matter.
“The way forward is going back to the drawing board. Let us go back to dialogue table and discuss the project, called Nigeria. Then, it will be settled. If we were regions before, is it possible to look at that? If it is to decentralise power from the centre and let the areas have more power, it is through discussion, not through giving quit notice or taking guns and whatever,” Akinfenwa said.