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Why Nigerians are angry – Onaiyekan

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The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, yesterday said anger and dissatisfaction expressed by people would continue in the country, when federal character principle leads to injustice and margina-lisation.

To address the ongoing agitation in Nigeria, the Onaiyekan advised the Federal Government to change the rules of governance in addition to yielding to call by Nigerians to restructure the country.

Onaiyekan, who stated this at a press conference on the Centenary of the Late Eminence, Ignatius Cardinal Ekandem, the first Episcopal Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Metropolitan, in Abuja, described him (Ignatius) as ‘a real man of the church’.

Speaking on the process entailed in the canonisation of Archbishop Ekandem, who lived between 1917 to 1995, Onaiyekan said Nigerians were displeased with the way and manner government runs the country.

His words: “We all know what is causing people to be angry, and if you want to be sincere, there is no part of Nigeria where there is no cause for anger, no part. May be some people are expressing their anger more than the others. But everywhere, people are dissatisfied. And this has nothing to do with who is president and who is not the president?

“It goes in my opinion to the rules of governance. How we governed ourselves, the whole area of justice system, equality before the law. The whole concept of federal character supposed to be that no part of the country is left behind. Federal character can not mean that some parts of Nigeria will be favoured over others.

“If the federal character leads to injustice and marginalization, then, it does not make sense. We must change the way we are doing thing, we cannot continue like this. Definitely, if we do, there will be more anger, more calls for change and we don’t know who will be able to mobilize more people to cause more problem. Don’t forget that this was the one of the major positions held by the Boko Haram.”

Onaiyekan maintained that the lackadaisical attitude displayed by some of those at the helms of affairs would do no good for the country; rather, they should look at the agitation holistically to correct the imbalance in the land.

He said; “The issue is, what are those things that are happening in Nigeria now, which we need to critically and effectively look at, in such that, this sense of dissatisfaction, exclusion, injustice that people are feeling will be reduced to the minimum? So, some people put it under big title of restructuring.

“Some people think that restructuring is to create more states, as far as am concerned if you create more states and the system remains the same, you will only have more problems. The problem is not about how many states or regions but how does government function? How do I as a Nigerian feels at home in this country? And how do I as a Nigerian expect that I will be treated with justice, respect and dignity?

“We need to restructure if we want the country to survive. The truth is that things are not organized properly and it makes the people to be dissatisfied. It is not only the Biafrans who are disgusted with this country; a lot of us are, even though we still are not thinking of that. It is like a father who is very angry with his son; you will still not throw him away.”










THE NATION