The Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has shared his thoughts on the efforts made by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to fulfill its 2015 electioneering promises to the Nigerian masses.
According to Onaiyekan, only a fool will expect Buhari to change every situation in Nigeria for good.
He stressed that real change took longer time to be achieved.
He, however, expressed the fear that Nigerians were no longer as enthusiastic about the All Progressives Congress (APC) government as they were two years ago, because they had hoped that the change that was promised them would be faster in coming.
The cleric maintained that if Nigerian electorates could vote out the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government in 2015, the current APC government should know that they too can be voted out in 2019.
Onaiyekan told DAILY SUN: “The reality is there. It is only a fool who will think that a change of government would change everything for good.
“It will take time. But you see, it takes time doesn’t mean that you will sit and do nothing. Like I said, we need time. People will patiently give you time when they perfectly see the line you are following and if they can follow the line you are following and they see the line in the right direction, they will be patient.
“I am afraid that the reason why many Nigerians were hopeful two years ago are no longer precisely because they had expected that things would move faster than what it is.
“The question about whether it is a failure of those who rule depends on how you look at it. But what I will say is that we should give them the benefit of the doubt that they are doing their best, and that is giving them benefit of doubt because they are people who think that they are doing their best.
“But suppose they are doing their best, then we won’t complain. But the fact is, if this is their best, then their best is not good enough. But isn’t it why democracy is very good; why democracy has terms of office?
“In another two years, they will face us and we will mark their exams of either pass them or fail them.
“And if the Nigerian electorate were able to vote out the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) government, I am sure that the All Progressives Congress (APC) people should know that they too can be voted out.
“Will they be voted out in 2019? I don’t know. It depends on what the situation will be in 2019. In order words, it is possible for a lot of things to change between now and 2019 in such a way that they wouldn’t want this thing to continue.
“But if by 2019 a lot of Nigerians are not satisfied, they will try another group or party which I think was the right situation in 2015. We will continue to try.”
The Cardinal further declared that the nation was in dire need of reorganization.
He said the Federal Government needed to urgently look at the various agitations across the length and breadth of the country and chart a way forward.
Onaiyekan added that engaging the nation in another conference or a committee to look into similar past conferences was not a bad idea only if it would meet the yearnings of Nigerians
He said: “A few things have been happening of recent which is indicating that things are more difficult to sustain. When you combine all these phenomena, you get a general picture of a nation that is very fragile and of the need to seriously address certain undermining and abiding causes of disturbance, dissatisfaction amongst our people.
“Let me just mention a few of those phenomena: first, there is a call for secession from the Southeast, which is the Biafra issue. Then we have had a call for secession from the Niger Delta who are completely dissatisfied with the way the Nigeria government is treating them and in whose land much of our foreign reserve is acquired. Then we should not forget too that even the Boko Haram phenomenon started off as a revolt against the status quo in this country. Finally, the statement and utterances of a group that nobody knew about before, that call themselves Arewa youths, who made a statement that has gathered momentum on its own, namely: giving a quit notice to the Igbos to leave within a given time.
“Each of these ones, on their own affair appears like a joke. But when you combine them all together, they indicate that the country needs to reorganize itself well. When people talk of restructuring, the only thing I can get from it is that we have a country that needs to be reorganized.
“And if you are talking on that line, I think everybody in Nigeria will agree that Nigeria, as it stands now, is not a perfect country. Things have to change. The discussion is generally not so easy. Also, because one man’s meat could also be another man’s poison, the changes that some people want, maybe is not the kind of changes other people want. So, how do we handle this?
“This is where I believe the government should look at all these ideas that are coming out; Suggestions that are of how best to run this country in such a way that people will have a sense of belonging.
“Then the feeling of an institutional injustice will be removed. We have gone through this before on issues of how Nigeria should be studied in various constitutional conferences. And some of those congresses, the results have been kept in idleness.
“If we want to really face this now, it is wise not to re-invent the wheel, but to go back again to some of the ideas that have popped up before and see which of them can be useful.”