To ignore secessionist agitations is dangerous, Onaiyekan tells FG - Full Gist NG


Sunday, 25 June 2017

To ignore secessionist agitations is dangerous, Onaiyekan tells FG

... Mentions problem with last National Congerence
The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, His Eminence, Cardinal John Onaiyeka has said any attempt by the Federal Government to ignore the ongoing secessionist demands from various ethnic groups in the country is dangerous.

John Cardinal Onaiyekan

Onaiyeka pointed out that the outbursts from ethnic jingoists from the Southern and Northern parts of the nation were signs of “unease” in the Nigerian polity.

The Cardinal spoke on the sideline with journalists at an event organized by the National Association
of Catholic Lawyers at the weekend in Abuja.

He, however, commended the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo for meeting with interest groups and monarchs from the land in trying to resolve the issues.

“The outbursts whether from the South or from the North, from demagogues, faceless individuals, is a symptom of an unease within the system, that is a way of showing that things are not going on well. And people are angry, frustrated. Most people quietly tolerate what they are going through and a few people come out and shout anything.

“It will be dangerous to pretend not to see that there is problem, or even to neglect or to try to cover down those outburst. By the outbursts I mean what we are hearing from Nnamdi Kanu and Biafra, from the Arewa Youth and the Niger Delta, and that more will be coming up.

“Therefore, that the government at the highest level is now taking it serious and calling meetings of one group after the other is a good thing. We hope that it will continue and be the beginning another way of finding an effective forum for a serious discussion about Nigeria,” Onaiyeka said.

Commenting on why the last National Conference that took place under President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration failed, Onaiyeka said the conference failed because the political climate under which it held was suspicious.

“People have been talking about the National Conference; the problem with the last Conference was that it was during a situation when politically it did not generate confidence.

“Most Nigerians are not happy with the Nigeria that we have today, but most of us want a Nigeria that is better. The issue is how do we get a better Nigeria? I believe it is possible, if we all agree on some basic principles and values like running the country in such a way that nobody is left out, which will make sure that peace, justice, honesty and truth are held seriously. That the era of impunity should be gone because everywhere in the world, there are people who run fowl of the law, but in most countries if you do the wrong thing you will pay for it, but in Nigeria if you do the wrong thing you get rewarded for it, that should stop,” the Cardinal said.

Earlier, a guest speaker at the event, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu said the ongoing tense atmosphere in the country was being fueled by political rulers who had failed to deliver good governance to their people.

Odinkalu who was Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, who spoke on the topic, “Separation of Powers: An Imperative for Modern Day Democracy,” noted that the country was suffering from the problem of “disarticulated principles and values”, which are manmade and require the intervention of government agencies rather than God.

He blamed Nigerian citizens for abdicating their responsibilities of holding government accountable.

“Politicians have failed to deliver good governance to their people, therefore, they have jumped on the bandwagon of secessionist agitations in the country,” Odinkalu noted.

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