By Joseph Kingston, Calabar
The Bishop of Calabar Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Bishop Tunde Adeleye, has declared that Nigeria “is deeply sick,” adding that democracy, which the founding fathers fought for was dead.
The clergy spoke during a press conference at the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity in Calabar to signal the commencement of the 2018 Synod of the Communion.
He said: “We do not need to tell a man who is just coming in from a heavy rain that he is wet. Nigeria is sick, deeply sick. Nigeria has derailed. Nigeria is failing as a nation, if not already failed already.
“The rail on which the foundation of Nigeria was laid is rusted under our feet. We left the path our fathers laid for us. We cannot now say that what we have is what Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, etc fought for. I said in a meeting recently that if any of these people should wake up from their graves today and see what is going on in Nigeria, they might prefer to die again.”
The bishop enumerated hydra-headed challenges confronting the country to include “corruption, kidnapping, nepotism, insecurity, wicked negligence, marginalisation of ethnic groups adjudged minority, thoroughly failed government institutions, non-functional economy, tribalism, bad leadership, demise of democracy and menace of herdsmen,” amongst others.
On what could be done to remedy the situation, Adeleye identified true federalism and prayers as solutions, saying the system of government being practiced in the country was not federalism but “pure unitary system.”
According to him, “Power must devolve to the federating states. The centre in Nigeria is too powerful. The power has to be divided between the national government and other units … between federal, states and local governments.”
On insecurity bedevilling the nation, he opined that the menace could be addressed if each state or even local government have their respective police, adding “this is done all over the world where true federalism is practiced.”
He explained that ingredients of true federalism include state police, resource control, financial autonomy of states, survival and prevalence of fundamental human rights, and education system based on states’ plan.
“Besides the federal constitution, the States should have their own constitutions running side by side, without interference with the federal government or national constitution.
“Separation of power should be respected and observed more than what we have now. There is a major claim that the police do not have respect for the legislature. This is not democratic. There should be no state religion, not even a resemblance or allusion of such. Criminal justice should be a combined responsibility of the state and federal government. States should own resources in their areas.
“Until and unless we begin a federal system of government in Nigeria, we may, unfortunately, continue to suffer in the ways we are suffering now. Nigeria should pray more than ever before. Prayer changes things. Prayer can deliver us from this grip of suffering,” he stated.