January 6, 2009

Yar’Adua’s govt visionless – CAN President

As Nigerians settle down into the New Year, President of Christian Association of Nigeria [CAN], Rev. John Onaiyekan has launched a scathing criticism on the government of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, describing it as visionless.

Speaking exclusively with Daily Sun in Abuja, the CAN president, who is also the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese said with regret “that it is difficult to know the particular direction, which the present administration is heading to.

“It is not the issue whether one is slow or fast, but the issue is which direction are you facing and where are you going to?
“You can be fast and running the wrong direction, and so the important thing is are we facing the right direction and are we really taking the right steps? Even if it is slow.

“ We rather prefer a slow movement in the right direction than a headlong movement to disaster. It is difficult to say – in the area of the rule of law, we can see from the situation, how often and how much that is being respected. We can see now that it is difficult to take things on their face value, and by their fruits you shall know them,” the clergy stated.

Bishop Onaiyekan berated the Yar’Adua government for not being open to all and sundry, noting that expectations was that the government should by now be ruling beyond party lines.
The CAN president said that it was undemocratic for Yar’Adua’s political party, the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] to continue to insult the nation that it would rule for 60 years in the face of the mirage of problems that had been left unattended to.

He advised the opposition parties to remain and give the people choice to make in the next election, while decrying the action of politicians who changed political parties because they lost elections.
On the Jos crisis, the Archbishop said the issue of strangers, settlers’ syndrome as raised by some people in the state as the cause of the mayhem was not peculiar to Plateau State but a worldwide problem, stressing that only an amendment to the nations’ constitution could solve the problem.

According to him, “ I don’t believe that the recent Jos crisis was really a religion-induced crisis, and by the way, it is politicians who always make any crisis look like a religious one so as to achieve their objectives. But it is clear to us that we are talking to issue of interest, socially and economically. Strangers \ settler’s syndrome is not only peculiar to Jos but all over the world.

“ When we went to Jos with the Sultan of Sokoto recently, an old Hausa\Fulani asked a pertinent question that his grandfather came to Jos and the father was born in Jos as well as himself. Then, how long are they going to be in Jos before stop being strangers? I said that is a pertinent question, which should be asked not only in Jos.

We should go and ask it too in Kano, Sokoto, Kebbi that how long will an Igbo man live in those places before they stop being treated as strangers or settlers? And how long must a Yoruba man live in Onitsha before he stops being a stranger.

“ The issue of citizenship enshrined in our constitution should be addressed squarely. But no matter what you do, there will still be rivalry over scarce resources, which happens everywhere,” Onayeikan stated.

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