We must avoid another war, Okogie warns

The Archbishop Emeritus of Lagos, Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, has cautioned Nigerians against acts that could plunge the country into another civil war.

Okogie issued the warning at an occasion to mark his eighty first birthday in Lagos.

The cleric said Nigeria must avoid the grave mistake of allowing differences that should have been resolved peacefully to degenerate into a civil war.

Nigeria’s political class, according to him should stop pitting youth against each other, and the elders to stop fanning the embers of disintegration.

Okogie said, “We in Nigeria once made a mistake—a grave one for that matter—going to war when we could have resolved our differences peacefully. The scar of the war remains.

“To avoid another war is an obligation we all must assume. To avoid going to war is not cowardice. It is to have the courage to subdue our ego and negotiate. To go to war when we could and ought to have avoided it is not courageous but reckless.

To assume the obligation of avoiding a war, we must refrain from revisionist accounts of the 1967-70 war”.
According to him, similar circumstances precipitated the Rwandan genocide of 1994. “Would it not be wise to learn from past mistakes, ours and others? This is the time to stand back from the brink”, he stated.

Saying the quality of life of the average Nigerian is low, Okogie said: “Whether one talks of education, medical service delivery, security or the economy, every aspect of our life in this country is in downward motion.The extent of poverty experienced by our people is simply unacceptable.

“This country has more than enough resources to make life liveable. If there is so much discomfort, we must interrogate those who manage the affairs of our country. Why is it that government—federal, state and local—has failed Nigerians?

“We have said it before that we live in clear and present danger. We said it when herdsmen went on the rampage and arms were being brought into Nigeria by “ghost importers”.

“Now we should ask ourselves: is there a correlation between illegal importation of arms into Nigeria and the drumbeats and dance steps of war we are currently witnessing?”

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