By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI—As Nigerians join their counterparts all over the world to celebrate the New Year, some clerics and royal fathers in Imo State, have expressed divergent views on the Nigerian project.
While the Chancellor of Federal University, Birnin Kebbi and royal father of Obinugwu autonomous community, Eze Cletus Ilomuanya, appealed that “the diversity in religion, culture and language among Nigerians should be used to the comparative advantage of the country,” the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, however, wants Nigerians to determine if “we are truly a nation and whether we genuinely want to be one nation.
“As we thus look forward to the 102nd anniversary of our cobbled nation since 1914, in the face of continuing bloodshed, inter-ethnic tension, uneasy public relationships, suspicious and subtle moves and maneuvers, it is necessary to ask ourselves whether we are truly a nation and whether we genuinely want to be one nation.”
Saying that Nigerians would generally answer in the affirmative that we are a nation, the cleric, however, opined that “our body language, our political, religious, ethnic, social and local preferences and intrusions often deny what is affirmed.
“The repeated constitutional sittings and national conferences up until the year 2014 and the present uprisings in the North and South of Nigeria are clear indications that Nigeria has not been truly unified, neither have Nigerians become unified in the sense of patriotically upholding their personal identity within Nigeria’s macro-identity.”
Arguing his position, Eze Ilomuanya, who is also the Chairman, South East Council of Traditional Rulers said: “It should be our strength rather than a divisive phenomenon, though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we must always stand.”
Continuing, the royal father explained that leadership was not an easy task, especially in a heterogeneous society like Nigeria, stressing that constructive criticism rather than destructive inclinations would be better appreciated by the current administration in the country.