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Time to restructure is now – Archbishop Okoh tells FG

The Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, has thrown his weight behind advocates of true federalism and restructuring of Nigeria, saying  that for Nigeria to come out of the current recession it must encourage healthy competition among the six geopolitical zones in the country.
“This is  the best time for Nigeria to restructure its polity,” the Archbishop said on arrival for the just-concluded  2016 second bi-ennial Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Standing Committee meeting at Awka, Anambara State.
He pointed out that if the Federal Government had carried all sections of the country along in the scheme of things, the ongoing clamour for restructuring wouldn’t have come up.
The Primate appealed to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to stop the blame game over who caused the nation’s ills and work for the well-being of Nigerians.
He, however, urged government to broaden the base of administration before the restructuring.
“Government should embrace everybody because that is what is causing the critical issue of restructuring. They should reach out to everybody; they should broaden the base of administration. If everybody is there, the clamour for restructuring will be less’, he said, adding that restructuring does not mean Nigeria should be destroyed.
“What people are asking for, I think, is to reintroduce competition into the system because a situation where there is no competition, there can hardly be any progress.”
He insisted that to steer the nation out of its current economic woes, the power sector needs to be fixed.
“In the first place, we are late to diversify. We ought to have used our oil earnings to produce better in¬frastructure for our country. By now, we ought to have efficient railway system, air transportation system, stable electricity power supply and so on but we are still struggling. I even learnt that our electricity supply will go down soon.
“They said that because a particular power station is closing down, we will be losing over 1,000 megawatts. It means that soon Nigeria will be in total darkness. That is according to the news. But I know that if we had spent our money very well, by now, our country will be a place that generates hope for the young people. But it is better late than never. So, diver¬sification is the song of the mo¬ment. Whatever the leaders can do to diversify our economy and lead us out of this monocultural economy, the better for us. But it is going to be tough because how do you diversify without light?”
The summit, which held at St Faith’s Cathedral Awka, between Monday, September 19, and Friday, September 23, was attended by over 170 Archbishops and Bishops of the church. The meeting presided over by Primate Okoh with the theme, “Who is on the Lord’s side?”, made recommendations that would be ratified by the General Synod which sits once every three years.
The Province on the Niger, comprising about nine dioceses, hosted the Standing Committee but Awka diocese, led by Bishop Alex Chibuzor Ibezim, played a major role. Awka diocese had hosted the Standing Committee in the year 2012.
Before the summit, the Vicar, Church of Holy Spirit, Awka, Rever¬end Canon Jason O.Z On¬yeakagbusi, while leading his congregation in prayers for a successful meeting by the delegates, revealed that it would be a challenge for the visitors from across Nigeria to access Awka as the federal roads from Enugu to Awka and from Onitsha, especially at Umunya axis to Awka are bad.
He said the visitors had been briefed to ply the old roads as the federal roads along the expressway were impassable. He led his congregation to pray for hitch-free arrival of the delegates.

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