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Nigeria won’t split, says U.S. envoy

By Chuks Nwanne and Daniel Anazia
09 February 2015   |   11:57 pm
• Adefarasin preaches peace, unity  A CHEERY prediction came yesterday from the United States (U.S) Ambassador to Nigeria, James F. Entwistle that Nigeria would not split in spite of her current socio-political problems.   Speaking in Lagos at a news conference on the premiere of the award-winning movie, Selma, which chronicles the true life story…

AMBASSADOR-ENTWISTLE10-2-15

• Adefarasin preaches peace, unity 

A CHEERY prediction came yesterday from the United States (U.S) Ambassador to Nigeria, James F. Entwistle that Nigeria would not split in spite of her current socio-political problems.

  Speaking in Lagos at a news conference on the premiere of the award-winning movie, Selma, which chronicles the true life story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr, Entwistle dismissed the widely rumoured insinuations that the U.S government had predicted that Nigeria would split anytime from 2015.

  Entwistle said that Nigeria was not different from all other countries in the world with various degrees of challenges but that would not make them split. He noted that the U.S had had her fair share of political challenges and that did not make her split.

  The ambassador said that Nigeria was a strong country that had not shown any sign of disintegration. He queried why people predicted doom for the country rather than work towards its strength. ‘Do you want Nigeria to break up?’ He asked.

 Speaking at a news conference before the screening, the Founder, House on the Rock, Pastor Paul Adefarasin, noted that Nigeria was going through arguably one of the most defining moments in her 101-year post-amalgamation history, even as it prepared for the 2015 polls, where tens of millions of Nigerians would perform their civic responsibility throughout the nation by voting for the candidates of their choice. 

  He said: “The history of elections in Nigeria is fraught with incidents of violence, before, during and after, but two elections (1923 and 1959) are remarkable. The House on the Rock, as a centre for social justice, reformation and equity has consistently advocated the peaceful co-existence of all Nigerians (indeed, all residents of this nation), regardless of race, tribe, tongue, gender or location.

  “The stark reality of this present age is that the rapidly changing world we live in has rendered many of the ways we used to do things obsolete. The imperatives that confront us demand that whilst we hold fast to the principles of Godliness, integrity, justice, equity and value for humanity, we must continue to learn from the mistakes of yesterday and embrace the opportunities of today,” he added.

  According to Adefarasin, peace was not the absence of tension, but the presence of justice, therefore everyone must ensure that peace, justice and equity, were enshrined in the country. 

  He added that there were a recorded 1800 recognised languages spoken on the continent of Africa with well over 500 of these in Nigeria alone. 

  “With its multi-religious populace, it is evident that true equity in Nigeria cannot be attained without representative dialogue between the majority stakeholders and the citizens of this nation. Clearly, interests in Nigeria cannot be determined along religious lines nor according to political, ethnic or social indices alone,” he stated.

  Adefarasin further explained that the tragic events in parts of the country were a harsh reminder that dialogue, peace and religious tolerance were crucial to the continued co-existence of Nigeria.

  He said: “In our bid to foster and promote non-violence, the Rock Foundation has partnered with the United States Mission to Nigeria to premiere, the movie Selma, which chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Luther King, Jnr. led dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition.

  “As Nigeria embarks on this critical task of further entrenching its nascent democracy, we are using this movie, Selma, to speak to and embed in the consciousness of all Nigerians the benefits of employing non-violent methods to achieve a credible transition in a peaceful atmosphere devoid of fear-stoked actions.” 

  Also speaking at the news conference, the lead actor, David Oyelowo, said that what Dr. King was advocating for before he was cut down was love, oneness and equity. “One thing I admire in him was the sacrificial love he consistently preached. He believed that we are all people and must love one another. 

He believed that love is incredible and conquers all, and he believed that if we exhibit the sacrificial love in life there would be peace. 

  While condemning the many lies about Nigeria and its people, the actor of Blood and Oil, said: “My father comes from a part in Oyo that is called Awe, and he had tribal marks (four) on his cheeks and another (Baale) on his stomach, this is his identity. It is no accident that God chose Dr. Martin Luther King. King as a reminder to a people that have been lied to about their identity and broken by slavery; they have told by centuries that they are lesser than, their bodies broken, and their spirit broken, but a man came along by the name of King to remind them that they are God’s children of equal treatment. There were accidents with God, I truly believe that.”  

  He noted that God used the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, adding that he was more than honoured to play the lead role of Dr. King in the movie, Selma.

  “The lie out in the world now is that Nigeria is place of dysfunction, corruption and a place of religious unrest, but we know that we are kings. The greatest thing I gained living here for seven years is that everyone feels like a king. You can’t tell Nigerians that they are not royals. We know what is ours, and we know how, when to take it. 

  “We know that we are transcendent and bursting with culture and we are great, this the devil does not like. We are transcendent everywhere we go to in the world. I have made a commitment to be transcendent as a Nigerian everywhere I go. Let us break this lie and deal with this election, and go forward into future as a great nation that we have been called and known for.”  

  He said that it was a thing of joy for him to make a movie that would speak to the need of the country’s social and political development.