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Why I refused to celebrate Nigeria at 61 – Pastor Chris Okafor

Nigerians will only feel there is a need to roll out the drums and celebrate at any of the county’s Independence Day events once they know they are being loved and given a sense of belonging in their own country.

This is the view of Dr Chris Okafor, head pastor and founder of the Mountain of Liberation and Miracles Ministry, otherwise known as Grace Nation International.

The cleric who was speaking during the church’s service in Lagos on Sunday said the recent surge in violent killings and bloodshed in many parts of the country owes it’s origin to agitations for self determination by some ethnic nationalities, particularly those of the IPOB and the Oduduwa.

He believes years of trying to stifle dissenting voices asking for a change in the status quo, especially in the face of undisguised marginalisation of some sections of the country is now what is manifesting in the wanton killings seen across the country.

“I was supposed to cut a cake to celebrate Nigeria at 61. But I’ll not because there is nothing, really, to celebrate,” the well known cleric told a full house of worshippers on Sunday.

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” Is there anything to celebrate in a country where life has become so cheap that it can be taken in the most gruesome and barbaric manner?” he asked rhetorically.

He would also quarrel with the commonly used phrase of ‘one Nigeria’, saying it was a mirage.

“How can anyone say we are one Nigeria when we all know that in practice, it is not so.

“So long as a section of the country believes it is their God given right to continue to lord it over the other sections of the country in terms of the number of times they enjoy power at the centre, the concept of one Nigeria will continue to be a mirage.

“Look at the appointments into sensitive positions in government. It is lopsided. It favours only a section of the country to the detriment of others. Can we then say we are one? I obviously don’t think so,” he said.

“Again, how come some people are given so much latitude by the government of the day to make inciting, inflammatory statements that threaten the very unity of the country without being sanctioned?

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“These are some of the reasons why the level of agitations for self-determination by these ethnic nationalities have grown even louder in recent times,” he stressed.

Dr Okafor would therefore call on the Federal Government to do everything in it’s power to resolve the issues inflaming the calls for succession by these groups through re-structuring, referendum and the release of political prisoners like Nnamdi Kalu and Sunday Igboho held over the matter.

“One of the ways to douse the rising tension in the country is for us to sit down as Nigerians and decide our future. For instance, the issue of power sharing should be looked into. If power is made to rotate from region to region in an equitable manner, I tell you some of these agitations will die down”, he advised.

While calling for intensive prayers to avert further mayhem and bloodletting in the country, the firebrand minister advised the IPOB — the Indigenous People Of Biafra — to do a critical review of their current mode of operations if they are to achieve their goal quicker.

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“I agree with the cause they are pursuing. But I disagree with them in the manner they are going about it. I’ll like to advise them to stop the wanton killings and destruction of properties in the South East. They should stop killing their own people in order not to create another problem for future generations in that region. According to the Bible, the blood of the innocent do cry from the ground. 

“Rather than be killing their own people in the name of making a point, I’ll advise them to use the immense popularity they have garnered through the sit-at-home policy to buy political power that would ultimately be channeled towards the same goal they are trying to achieve now.

“If well articulated, they could get their wish of a Biafran country through the ballot, rather than the gun, in a peaceful manner in the next 8-12 years,” he added.

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