By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Olayinka Latona
Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has rejected the quota system being practised in the country saying it is detrimental to the progress of any nation. He therefore insisted that Nigeria must insist on merit in the conduct of our national affairs.
The Vice President also attributed the lack of development of the nation to corruption perpetrated by politicians in collaboration with the elite and religious leaders.
Professor Osinbajo spoke in Lagos during Greater Nigeria Pastors Conference, with the theme: “Towards A Better Nigeria” which was convened by the Senior Pastor and founder of Foundation of Truth Assembly, (FOTA) Pastor Yomi Kasali.
According to Osinbajo, Nigeria may never progress if successive governments continued with the quota system saying that adopting merit was the only way to develop the country.
His words: “It is important for us as a nation to change our idea and insist on merit. We must continue to advocate that there must be merit in our appointments and do away with sentiments and Nigeria will be where it ought to be. When our football teams are playing, we do not ask questions where the players come from because we want to win. In the same vein, if we want to win in Nigeria, we must insist on merit. We must insist on fair minded and just people in positions. That is how countries are run all over the world. It is only in this country that the first thing we do is to ask for quota system”.
Speaking against the backdrop of the agitation for the restructuring of Nigeria, Osinbajo said when there was rampant corruption that crippled Nigeria to what it is today “how many Christian leaders stood up to complain”, insisting that no nation could have survived the kind of corruption, which Nigeria went through in the recent times.
According to him, “It is my view that the Nigerian elite, religious leaders and politicians think alike when it comes to corruption and they were always very selfish playing religious and ethnic cards when it pleases them.”
Osinbajo added that “when you look at the high-level of corruption in the country, it has no ethnic or religious coloration, our elite and politicians are united when it comes to corruption. I have never seen a situation where an Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa and other tribes joined hands to steal money and they argued about it.” The vice president therefore suggested that in order to build a new nation men and women of integrity must be raised.
While he expressed confidence that Nigeria would take a new turn in the next few years, Osinbajo challenged the leadership of the church to eschew religious and ethnic sentiments in their approach to the issue of Nigeria, saying that the failure of Christian leaders by placing too much emphasis on Islamic Agenda as if they were looking for demon was a big mistake.
He asked, “Why can’t we have Christian agenda based on the principle of the Bible as the Lord Jesus Christ teaches. The Church must begin the process of uniting Nigeria by uniting itself. What Nigeria needs to survive are already contained in the Bible. We cannot practice two gospels. The reason the country is what it is today is because we (Christians) care to practice what the Bible teaches.”
He also debunked the sentiments that the crisis of the Fulani Herdsmen killing got escalated when President Muhammadu, who is of the Fulani origin became president.
According to him, “The Fulani Herdsmen crisis became rampant as far back as 1996 and it took a devastating effect in 2014 during the Libya crisis. On the agitation for restructuring, Osinbajo said the problem with the demand was that there was yet to be any concrete agreement even among those championing the cause.
He however said what the manifestos of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) says is devolution of powers, which he (Osinbajo) subscribed to.
He charged the church leaders to henceforth speak for the sanctity of human lives and not necessarily emphasizing that religious extremists were killing Christians or southerners.
He argued that if many of the people agitating in the southern region took their time to visit and see the kind of devastation in the north, the level of destruction and loss of human lives and even Muslims “our perception would change. We must be able to stand up and condemn whatever kind of killings”, he said.
Also speaking at the conference, Director-general, Institute of National Transformation, Professor Vincent Anigbogu, in his address, titled, “Towards a Greater Nigeria, the Role of Church,” lamented the current state of affairs in the country, declaring that the church had also failed to play its assigned role.
Also speaking, the Presiding Bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission(TREM), Bishop Mike Okonkwo, observed that Nigeria had not done much with the God endowed resources available to it, submitting that churches in the country were asleep and most times, their lights only shined in the big structures erected to depict their presence all around.
He equally lamented the poor state of the country’s road, health sector, leading to several avoidable deaths, and called on church leadership to help build synergy that would help the country out of its current challenges rather than building empires.
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