By Adebayo Waheed, Ibadan
The Anglican Bishop of Ibadan Diocese, Most Rev. Joseph Akinfenwa, has warned people to desist from hate speeches, saying that if Nigeria disintegrates, every region will experience a setback of 100 years.
The cleric who gave the warning during an interview with newsmen at the ordination of deacons and priests at St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, Nalende, Ibadan, said, “It is from one area that quit notice was given, and another area desired to be independent.”
Akinfenwa advocated consideration of the 2014 National Conference and dialogue by the Federal Government, to chart a way forward for a united Nigeria, instead of drumbeat of war pervading the atmosphere.
He said the fruit of “our diversity has borne is more than the division that we are longing for. Our unity and our being together, has borne so many fruits. If we say this marriage should be divorced, everybody will be a loser from whatever angle. It is going to set us back 100 years.
“Where is the good in encouraging the labours of our heroes past? We want to destroy it overnight? That is what the agitators are doing.
“Agitating for this and that is not the way to go, not through the drumbeat for war, but through dialogue. Let us go back to the table. If there is separation now, and there is war, God forbids, after the war, it is still dialogue we will go back to. So, why don’t we go for dialogue now? Let us sit down and discuss it,” he said.
He called on the federal government to bring to the open the conference report, and whatever they have discussed.
“Let us discuss Nigeria to the betterment of everybody and to the glory of God. That is the only way out. Let our leaders initiate discussion. We thank God for Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, who has encouraged state governors to speak out; that is the way out.”
He also urged leaders of thoughts to speak out “because, to begin to separate and disintegrate, we are going to lose so much than what we are going to gain, whether it is being politically motivated or otherwise, it does not matter.
“The way forward is going back to the drawing board. Let us go back to dialogue table and discuss the project, called Nigeria. Then, it will be settled. If we were regions before, is it possible to look at that?
“If it is to decentralise power from the centre and let the areas have more power, it is through discussion, not through giving quit notice or taking guns and whatever,” Akinfenwa said.