By Sam Eyoboka
BOGGED by the avalanche of demands on the Presidency, the umbrella body of Christians in Nigeria, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has advised politicians and all Nigerians to be patient enough to give the acting president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan the opportunity to properly steer the ship of the nation which before now appeared to be rudderless.
This advice was made by the Secretary-General of CAN, Engineer Salifu Samuel in a telephone interview, while reacting to the recent act of the National Assembly to bail the nation out of troubled waters by the empowerment of Vice President Jonathan as the acting president in the absence of the substantive president.
Arguing that there has been serious decay in the political system which will make it difficult for the new helmsman to tackle in a hurry, Engr. Salifu also appealed to the Federal Government to urgently move to arrest incessant religious intolerance in the country before the current unrest degenerates to an unmanageable crisis.
The CAN scribe described the legislatorsâ€™s action as a right step towards rebuilding a virile nation for the benefit of all citizens, stating that politicians who are currently threatening legal action should sheathe their war arsenal in the interest of the collective will of the people of Nigeria.
He urged all Nigerians irrespective of religion and creed to pray fervently for the speedy recovery of the president and his early return to perform his statutory responsibilities to the nation in accordance with the tenets of the constitution.
â€œNigerians should intensify their prayers for the presidentâ€™s speedy recovery rather than engage in divisive acts capable of further polarizing the already charged political atmosphere,â€ he said â€œwe should continue praying that President Yarâ€™Adua gets well even though there are insinuations here and there.
â€œI think that is what we should do at the moment as Christians and not to join issues here and there. It is the politicians who are bandying technical jargons to gain personal advantages, but for us Christians we will concern ourselves with advice and prayers for the nation and its leaders,â€ he added.
Asked if the recent action of the National Assembly in proclaiming Dr. Jonathan acting president was legal, the CAN scribe said â€œas far as we are concerned something good had happened to the country, because hitherto the nation had no direction.
â€œAs far as I am concerned what the National Assembly had done is highly commendable because it has saved the nation from the precipice. People can be talking their legal jargons but the action has given us a sense of direction now which was absent before,â€ Engr. Salifu stressed.
According to the CAN scribe, you donâ€™t have to be a lawyer to acknowledge a good thing, adding â€œyou donâ€™t have to be a lawyer; when something is right it is right. Anyone wishing to go to court is at liberty to do so, but for now we have a sense of direction because somebody is there who calls the shorts as a against a few weeks ago when there was a babel of voices without any sense of direction,â€ he maintained.
On the indictment of Nigeria by the American Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Clinton on the causes of violent religious crisis in parts of the country, the CAN scribe said what the woman said was not new to well meaning Nigerians.
According to him, â€œit is a pity that the international community is beginning to see the handwriting on the wall even as some of our leaders pretend as though nothing is wrong. These people are trying to destabilize the country and we know itâ€”the Muslims know it, the Christians know it, and the Government know it.
â€œSo it is not news to us. What we call on Government to do is to be bold enough to face the issue. The SSS operatives and the Police have making several arrests, they should prosecute them and make sure that the thing does not eventually degenerate to a very dangerous state we cannot manage,â€ he said.