… says Sovereign Nigeria bigger than IPOB, Northern Youth Coalition
By Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA: The general overseer of Our Sanctuary Gospel Church, Bishop Azogu, Thursday, condemned the recent ultimatum by Arewa youth groups on Igbo to evacuate the North by October, this year, and urging the aggrieved youths to sheathe their sword and allow the sleeping dog to lie.
He said Nigerians must be very careful on the issue of secession, insisting that issues can always be discussed rather than resorting to violence.
The GO said dialogue remains the best tool to resolve issues no matter how intractable they may appear.
‘‘Let us honestly compare the quality of political leadership in the 60s with what obtains today. Yet, there was no circumspection in killing these great statesmen in cold blood when a little restraint and dialogue could have saved Nigeria from the trauma she went through. Today, most protagonists of secession did not witness the last civil war in Nigeria.
‘‘They do not and cannot understand the futility of war. Nigeria was at par with some Asian Countries in the 60s. Because of the civil war that ravaged the entire Country Nigeria is much behind those Countries today in every ramification of life.
‘‘Sovereign Nigeria is bigger than IPOB and the Northern youth coalition. When the chips are down both sides of the divide will fizzle into oblivion, while innocent and law-abiding Nigerians will be drawn to pay a heavy price in protecting Nigeria from the ravages of anarchy as nobody may be spared.
‘‘Let the sleeping dog lie while our political leaders and elders of the nation put their heads together to find ways of extricating the country from the present challenges,’’ he added.
Continuing, Bishop Azogu said, ‘‘Those who want a change of political leadership should subscribe actively to democratic process. The conclusion by some elements of the northern youth coalition that the south east is supportive of IPOB because they stayed indoors on the directive of IPOB does not hold water.
‘This is largely because of the precarious security situation in the Country. No sane individual will risk his or her life in such circumstance the same way that substantial parts of the north was cowed by Boko Haram insurgency that short down the region’s economic activities for several years. Today, we are still grappling with the bitter effects of Boko Haram that slaughtered thousands of innocent Christians in cold blood.
‘‘Nigeria witnessed more traumatic situations when several militant groups in the Niger Delta region successively and at different times short down economic activities in the South South region. Can we say that the entire North East has sympathy for Boko Haram or South South region has sympathy for violent militants just because the defenceless and vulnerable citizens of the areas were plunged into a situation of helplessness until the security forces made a coordinated intervention? When a referendum is conducted in these regions you will be surprised that majority of the citizens will opt for one united and indivisible Nigeria.’’
He however, posited that to insult the entire Igbo race and threaten their lives for the actions of IPOB is most uncalled for, stating that ‘‘in war nobody knows where the mortal bullet may fly. Those who promote xenophobia and stoke ethnic tension should have a rethink because it is an ill wind that can blow in any direction.
‘‘Remember, God spoke and told Nigerians to pray for the recovery of President Buhari from his ill health warning that if Buhari dies a satanic organization with black and white banner will attempt to take over government.’’
For him, the xenophobic utterances openly threatening the lives of citizens from a particular geopolitical zone is not what the country wants and described it as a case of Jacob’s voice with Esau’s hand.
‘‘Who are their sponsors? How can such a meeting of divers belligerent youth formations with a treasonable agenda go unnoticed by the nation’s security agencies? After the South East another region will follow suit and so on until the whole Country is cowed into submission.,’’ he queried.
He called on all Nigerians to rise above sentiment and obey the word of God and pray for the recovery of President Buhari in order to avoid a situation where the entire nation will be plunged into uncontrollable political turmoil.