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It’s ordinary Nigerians that can decide whether we’ll live together or not, says Onaiyekan

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Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan

• Urges Citizens Not To Allow Politicians Push Them Into Anarchy
• True Federalism Will End All Agitations, Says Attah

The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, yesterday said it is ordinary Nigerians who can decide whether we can live together or not and urged Nigerians never to allow anybody to push them into a situation of anarchy and chaos.

He, therefore, appealed to Nigerians to avoid politicians who are using them to beat drums of disintegration and chaos, and never forget that when things get hot, such politicians would always fly their families abroad, leaving the poor people to suffer.

Meanwhile, former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, has said that true federalism is the only thing that can bring Nigeria back together and called for physical restructuring and rearrangement of the finances of the country to end all agitations in the country.

He argued that nobody wants Nigeria to disintegrate, but they want wrong things to be corrected.

Speaking at the Mass to mark the Centenary of the late Eminence, Ignatius Cardinal Ekandem, the first Episcopal Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Metropolitan, in Abuja, Onaiyekan noted that the Acting President has no magic wand that he would use to stop all agitations, stressing that he can only take positions and make statements that will calm down nerves.

He said: “I think he is making efforts in that direction but, at the end of the day, it is the ordinary Nigerians who can decide whether we can live together or not.

“The politicians, when they start playing their games, forget the people on the ground. We on the ground ought to remember that when things get hot, there are certain people up there who always find a way out, fly their families abroad and leave the poor people to suffer. So we better take that seriously and not allow anybody to push us into a situation where there is general disorganised chaos.”

Onaiyekan, who observed that there is anger in the land, stated that the Federal Government cannot prevent Nigerians from expressing their dissatisfaction, as they have the right to speak out whenever they are being shortchanged by their leaders.

He said: “People are angry and when they are angry, they have the right to say so. Therefore, I don’t think government can stop people from making pronouncements explaining what is annoying them. But in doing that one should count the consequence of what one says.

“We have the freedom of speech but cannot say everything. So, let us live together in peace and be patient,” he said.

Attah, while answering questions from journalists said: “People shouldn’t confuse themselves when they talk about restructuring or physical restructuring. We always had a federation where the regions looked after themselves and contributed certain percentage of their earnings to run the centre and that was the basis for forming the federation.

“We have to accept the existence of the states because of the people talking about regions. The states were demanded by the people and they came into existence by the will of the people and everyone of them was sure they will be viable and they are, the only thing is that they are not producing.”

According to him: “Even if you bring five or six states together as a region, so long each one of them is not producing, the ratio of what they get from the federal government compared to what they generate will still be what it is.

“We need to go back and accept the fact that each state must look after itself, what is contributed to the centre will be on the basis of need.”

Delivering his Homily at the Mass, the Catholic Archbishop of Calabar, the Most Rev. Joseph Ekuwem, emphasised the need for Nigerians to live in harmony.

“God said He will give us rest if we come to Him. So, if God loves us so much like this, we also must love one another,” he said.



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