Written by Okey Muogbo, Nigerian Tribune
THE Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, has contended that the recent riots in the North might not be as a result of the outcome of the recent presidential election.
In his Easter message on Sunday, the archbishop said it looked more like the riots were planned to take place regardless of the outcome of the election.
In his Easter message, the head of the Anglican Communion [in Nigeria] called on President Goodluck Jonathan to, therefore, investigate the riots properly and punish those who are found to have had a hand in it.
“I wish to say clearly that the recent killings, looting, burning, harassment of Nigerians in the North have no bearing with the largely peaceful, transparent and credible elections just conducted. It seems that the crisis had been planned to take place irrespective of the credibility and integrity of the elections and their results.
“I call on government not to gloss over the crisis, but to establish the root cause, the instigators, perpetrators and active participants and their motives and intensions, with a view to bringing justice upon them.
“As an accredited observer of INEC with nationwide network, I wish to commend Nigerians for their sense of duty in turning out in large numbers, first to register, and later to cast their votes. And they did it peacefully! In the three elections already held, the people were determined to get it right.
“I wish to plead with all winners to show restraint and humility in victory. I wish to appeal to all those who lost in the elections to take it in the spirit of sportsmanship and hope for another opportunity. We call upon all winners and losers as well as the generality of Nigerians to pray for a new dawn in our nation”, Archbishop Okoh said.
“I wish to use this medium therefore to congratulate the President-Elect, all Senator-Elects and all House of Representative-Elects. The remaining election on 26 April is crucial. I wish to call upon all to make the sacrifice and turn out in large numbers to cast their votes in order to complete the exercise appropriately”, Archbishop Okoh said.
Most Rev. Okoh said that Easter as foremost festival in all Christendom tells of Jesus victory over death and that human schemes and ingenuity cannot frustrate God’s plans for an individual or for a corporate entity.
According to him, “in the death of Christ mankind died, making room for a new life, new beginning in the new life of the resurrection” which he said speaks of boundless possibilities in God’s relationship with his children, Nigerians inclusive.
He said the resurrection of Christ will open a new dispensation in Nigeria where ‘it will not be possible for fellow countrymen to inflict on their neighbours, out of mere suspicion, unfounded allegations, such a devastating magnitude of destruction of lives, property and confidence in the Nigerian nation.
“Where economic growth and prosperity, employment and prudent management of resources will become second-nature of all Nigerians.
"Where peace will no longer mean just the absence of conflict, but full acceptance though tribe and religion may differ.
“Where the righteous rule, the tears of many are wiped out, the poverty of most citizens are reduced, and God-fearing faithful of all religions will worship God of their own choice without fear of intimidation and death from anybody.
“Where security will cover all Nigerians from being harassed so frequently by people carrying the same national I.D. card and International passport.
“Where youth Corpers (National Youth Corps members) will enthusiastically answer a national clarion call to duty without fear of “internal enemies” and where churches will no longer be burnt at the flimsiest excuses”, among others.
Okoh called for protection of people’s economic investments, made with heavy bank loans from being looted with impunity and without consequences and a Nigeria where the Government will be above all citizens, without some special breed dedicated to causing us pain and grief, unless they are indulged with what they want at all cost.
The Primate also drew attention to provision of functional infrastructure concluding that this year’s Easter should be “the resurrection of Nigeria from the grave.”