Boko Haram: We should not push our luck too far – Onaiyekan
The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, on Thursday said it is time for Nigeria to tackle Boko Haram menace headlong and avoid pushing its luck too far.
He said Nigeria had been dancing on the brink of chaos for too long except for the grace of God sustaining it.
The Catholic Archbishop said the insurgency is a symptom of a wider disease which must be urgently addressed.
He also warned against sliding the nation’s democracy towards a one-party state.
He said one-party system had never worked in any part of Africa.
Onaiyekan gave the warning in an extempore address during a courtesy call on him by a delegation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) which was led by its National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
He said: “I believe that God has been with Nigeria for so long. We have been dancing on the brink of chaos and somehow He accepts us not to fall over. But we should not push our luck too far.
“Boko Haram in my view is a symptom of a wider disease and I hope we know that. And if we don’t tackle that wider disease, we might finish with Boko Haram and move on to another.
“Meanwhile, we should do our best to rid our country of this menace which, as Chief Oyegun said, has taken over all of us. Every part of Nigeria has been taken over even though the epicenter is in a particular angle.
“I am now 70 years old and I have seen the most important stages in the development of this our country. I was born into the colonial era. I schooled during the transition between the colonial and independent nation.
“And I have seen all the different changes, tumbling and fumbling that we are going through between the 1960 and to date. One thing that has become clear in my mind is whatever anybody is saying something has happened in this country. We do have a country called Nigeria, and I believe that it is a viable project. There are challenges of course no doubt. There are dislocations, no doubt about it. The fact is there are contradictions, it is very glaring.
” Often, deliberately, they injected the contradictions into the system to cause confusion, but once we believe that we want to live in one country, our efforts should be made towards arriving such a way that our differences can be appreciated, and we do all we can, not to disorganize ourselves.
“Above all, avoid utter chaos. We are looking television to see what happens when things fall apart. Unfortunately when that happens it is not people like you and I that will suffer most, it is the poor people, who have nowhere to run to and who don’t understand why things are not going well.”
Onaiyekan said Nigeria has every cause to have a viable democracy.
He also warned against the danger of rigging elections, claiming that such indulgence is worst than military dictatorship.
He added: “Democracy has its ways. It is not the only way for ruling. But it is considered the best way. We still have some kind of monarchy like in Britain, Netherlands and Spain. We also have modern democracy involving political parties presenting themselves to people with manifestos which constitute programmes for them.”
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