Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
The Methodist Church Nigeria, has warned that the ongoing clamour for restructuring of the Nigerian polity should not be ignored, saying that the nation risks disintegration if the current imbalance is allowed to stay.
The warning was contained in a communiqué read by the Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria, his Eminence, Dr. Samuel Uche at the end of the weeklong 46th biennial conference of the Church held at Wesley Cathedral, Aba.
According to Prelate, although Nigeria has been able to weather various economic, social and political challenges arising from the state of insecurity and still remains one indivisible nation, “it would be expecting too much to think that it would survive under this present structure.”
“Methodist Church Nigeria is of the view that Nigeria needs restructuring and not disintegration,” the prelate said, adding, “this has become necessary in order to practice true federalism where each state is allowed to tap from resources available to her and make agreed contribution to the federal Government of Nigeria.”
He recalled that when true federalism was practiced during the pre-independence and post-independence era, the nation witnessed rapid development in the first republic hence there was no reason for the present crop of political leaders to jettison true federalism.
The Church vehemently condemned “the mindless killing of citizens and wanton destruction of properties in some parts of the country, especially North Central, North East and North West”, pointing out that the bloodletting was caused by an unwieldy political structure.
According to the Methodist Church, the insecurity in the land could be addressed in a true federal system where the federating zones or regions would have their own security apparatus to tackle any security problems.
“We advocate the creation of state police under the command of the state governor, who constitutionally is the chief security officer of the state ” Prelate Uche said, suggesting that cattle ranches should be set up in the home states of the cattle breeders.
He further added: “Cattle colonies or grazing fields should not be used as a means of colonisation , religious proselytising and forceful acquisition of the ancestral lands of other people.”
The Prelate posited that no political party or any section of the country should think that Nigeria is their personal property and therefore is free to misbehave and treat others as second class citizens.
He declared: “Nigeria is our own. We can’t run away from this country (and) that’s why we say: live and let live. A well absorbed, well integrated and equitably empowered South East would quell would quell separatist sentiments for Biafra ” .
On the groaning of workers and pensioners under the weight of non-payment of salaries and pensions, the Church stated that it would be foolhardy for government to believe that the war against corruption could be won under such situation.
The Church noted that “one of the ways to discourage financial corruption in both public and private sectors of the economy is for government and other employers of labour to handle the welfare of workers and pensioners with care.”