AFRICA/NIGERIA - Cardinal Onaiyekan seeks to renegotiate national unity

Tuesday, 17 October 2017 bishops  

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "In politics everything is negotiable, also the way of living together" said His Eminence, Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, in his speech at the 18th annual lecture of the Catholic Brothers United of St Agnes Catholic Church.
Cardinal Onaiyekan has opened up the possibility of renegotiating the form of national unity. "We must be ready", he said, "to renegotiate the terms of our unity, to show that indeed we are serious about staying together, not just as a group of captives locked up in a prison, but rather as a nation of diverse people who have freely decided to live together in unity".
"In recent times - the Cardinal added - a lot has been said about Nigeria’s unity and how a national cohesion is non-negotiable. But such a statement does not seem to make much sense to me, because in politics, everything is negotiable".
Cardinal Onaiyekan also pointed out and added that although such unity had a cost, separation would carry a heavier cost. He stressed that in most countries that allowed themselves to disintegrate, they had gone with heavy hemorrhage and abiding wounds and scars, citing India and Pakistan.
"If we decide that we shall remain together, we should have the courage to do what it takes to build a united country. To do so, we need to build upon the massive resources that God has endowed the country with", concluded the Cardinal.
After the Biafra War (1966-1970), the Nigerian Federation underwent several territorial remodeling until reaching its present configuration of 36 federal States. A new political-administrative distribution and a different distribution of powers between the Federal State and individual federal States could meet the demands of the southern populations, who demand a better redistribution of oil yields extracted from their lands.
In Nigeria, the Biafra issue has been replicated by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), whose leader Nnamdi Kanu seems to be on the run, accused of betrayal and attack on State security. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 17/10/2017)