By Clifford Ndujihe
INSTEAD of calling for prayers and urging Nigerians to shun retaliation in the face of incessant killings, former Head of Head of State and National President of Nigeria Prays Movement, Dr. Yakubu Gowon, has been advised to lead the crusade for the restructuring of the country.
Speaking at a special prayers session at the Deeper Life Bible Church, DLBC, Headquarters in Lagos, on Sunday, Dr Gowon called for intense prayers against the menace of insecurity, killings, and corruption ravaging the country instead of resorting to violence and retaliation.
“Whatsoever the provocation, whatsoever the threat, for the sake of our country, Nigerian Christians should never resort to retaliation that could lead to a religious war. I call on the authorities to provide the necessary physical protection for all. We must continue to demand for the government to be alive to its primary responsibilities of protecting lives and properties of poor citizens,’’ Gowon charged.
We must address injustice, inequity for peace to reign – ECA
Speaking on Gowon’s advice, Evangelist Elliot Ugochukwu-Uko, who is founder of the Igbo Youth Movement; IYM, secretary, Eastern Consultative Assembly, ECA; and deputy secretary, Igbo Leaders of Thought, ILT, said it was unfortunate that Gowon and other leaders did not pray against injustice and inequity, which he said were at the root of the problems ravaging the country.
According to him, General Gowon contributed to the current problems through the creation of 12 states in 1967 and later setting up the Dina panel that handed over the resources of Nigeria to the central government, in order to prosecute the 1967-70 civil war.
Noting that peace was forcefully achieved in January 1970 through the wasting of three million lives, trading away the Bakasi peninsula, brutal deployment of British military advisers, Russian jets, Egyptian pilots and total blockade of Eastern Nigeria, he said ”Gowon also knows that the only peace that is sustainable is the peace that is collectively and wilfully agreed upon.”
Rather than prayers, he urged the former head of state to champion the restructuring of Nigeria to ensure equity and justice, and create a level playing field for all.
His words: ”Restructuring the polity remains the only panacea to the myriad of problems that are threatening to swallow the country. Men and women of goodwill throughout the land wonder in consternation, why General Gowon remains unwilling to convene a meeting of past leaders to seek for ways of implementing reports of past National conferences in order to save Nigeria.
”Gowon’s lack of interest in enthroning justice and equity by creating a level playing field for all, greatly undermines the integrity and sincerity of purpose of his national prayer movement.
”Gowon’s insistence on one unitary Nigeria built on an unfair, unkind and disrespected military constitution is unreasonable and unrealistic…
”Gowon should realise that praying for peace and unity while pretending that the evil unitary structure instituted under his reign can carry Nigeria much further is deceitful, laughable and worrisome. Nigeria will die if the structure is not reconstructed to a truly federal format, with more power devolved to the federating units. Gowon should rather work towards reducing the powers of the central government by restructuring Nigeria by implementing the reports of past National conferences. It is nauseating to watch the same man who abrogated the regions by creating 12 states through military fiat, pretending that he does not know that only restructuring Nigeria back to true federalism can save Nigeria now.”