By Ugochukwu Alaribe
Methodist Bishop and co-chair of the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace, IDFP, Dr. Sunday Onuoha, has called for the abolition of state of origin from bio-data in Nigeria.
He stated that the abolition of state of origin will stop hatred, disunity, and agitations among people of different geopolitical zones.
Bishop Onuoha, who spoke at the inauguration of the Interfaith Dialogue team in Umuahia, decried the level of disunity, hatred and stated that if the country can surmount the challenge posed by state of origin, Nigeria would cease to be divided along religious and ethnic lines.
He noted that the level of development in some developed countries stand out because there exists no state of origin as individuals are engaged in responsibilities without considering their state of origin.
In his words; “I have a strong suggestion that Nigeria must remove state of origin from our biodata. If Nigeria can surmount this challenge, the country will cease to be divided among religious, ethnic and political line. State of origin is a violation.
“And if you are talking about one Nigeria, why do you want me to write my state of origin? People who came to Abia, their grandmothers came to Abia and their mothers were born in Abia, and they were born in Abia and you ask them their state of origin and you want them to write Zamfara. It is a lie because their state of origin is Abia. Your state of origin is where you were born. If you want me to declare my state of birth, it is okay. I’m a bonafide citizen of this country; I should be able to live where I want. In America, nobody asks you your state of origin because it is an aberration. You move to Arkansas, you can run for Senate from there. You move to Louisiana, you can run for Senate from there.
“So, if we want to build one country, state of origin should be moved. We thought that we need to do more, not only in the crisis prone states, but identify states that may appear as if there is no crisis, but something may be brewing and you may not know, to identify it before it happens.”
He explained that the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace, IDFP, engaged faith leaders, government and interested groups to unite and salvage Nigeria from selfish people who instigate crisis in the society.
The cleric urged Christian and Muslims not to allow selfish people to take advantage of religion to cause problem in the society
“In Nigeria, we have decided that we shall no longer allow people of selfish interest to take advantage of our vulnerable followers. We must do something; this is why we have engaged faith leaders; both Christians and Muslims, government and interested groups to come together and work as a team to salvage our nation from selfish people who are bent in bringing crisis to our land.
“Just yesterday, we celebrated 51 years after Nigerian civil war and we are saying no more shall we allow such foolishness to happen in our land because the war Nigeria fought was a foolish war; it was avoidable, it was unnecessary.
“If Nigeria had gone back to the negotiation table, we won’t have lost 2 million lives. And since after the civil war, some people out of selfish interest have continued to use religion. Religion itself is not the problem but it is the people who have taken advantage of religion in order create selfish interest and make money out of us. What we are doing is to try to create a safe space and freedom where people can come and share their feelings and aspirations before it becomes a problem.
In his remarks, Co-chair, Central Coordination Council, Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace, IDFP, Ameer Muhammad Jamil Muhammad, urged Christians and Muslims to work together to ensure a peaceful society.