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Prominent pastor explains why Nigeria won't disintegrate after elections

The former entertainer turned pastor posted an article on his Facebook page on Thursday saying that the election “should never be regarded as a referendum on the corporate survival of Nigeria.”

Founding pastor of the Household of God Church, Chris Okotie, has decried the attitude of some politicians in the country, threatening to “to set the nation on fire ” should their candidate lose the oncoming presidential poll.

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The former entertainer turned pastor posted an article on his Facebook page on Thursday saying that the election “should never be regarded as a referendum on the corporate survival of Nigeria.”

Pastor Okotie said that the 'country’s oneness was settled during the Civil War; and that the next election would not break the country, just as past critical political upheavals that challenged its unity, including the aborted June 12, 1993 presidential election and the subsequent death of winner of the historic poll, Moshood Abiola, could not disintegrate it.'

The cleric, who insisted that the country’s “unity was purchased at a high price,” described the past ethnic crises, including the civil war, as sibling rivalries. Hence, he said, they were resolved internally without “violent separation.”

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The fact that no group tabled secession for discussion at last year’s National Conference, he argued, was an indication that Nigerians had agreed to put past differences behind them and forge ahead under the same national government.

“Clearly, it showed that the blood shed by our compatriots in Biafra was not in vain… But up till now, the wound has not fully healed. That is why we should not stir ethnic and religious hatred for cheap political advantage in these elections,” Okotie warned.

He, however, expressed concern at the degree of bitterness that marks the on-going campaigns, which, he said, “is polluting the political environment.” The situation, according to him, is robbing the polity of the benefits of a maturing political system.

He likened the country’s politics to the Super Eagles that is perpetually “rebuilding.” If the country remained at a learning stage after 16 years of unbroken democracy, he asked, when would it catch up with Indonesia, Chile, India, Brazil and other developing countries that have “continued to transit seamlessly to the admiration of the world?”

Whereas the tumbling economy should have been the issue, the cleric lamented that the leading candidates had resorted to “repulsive, hate-driven advertisements that dehumanise opponents and assassinate character.”

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He says, “Our sensibilities are assaulted, while our morality has been brought to a new level of denigration. This, certainly, is not the politics Nigeria deserves after going through a harrowing 24-year military rule and experiencing a 30-month civil war and the June 12 annulment crisis.”

Okotie called on politicians to take a cue from the America culture where, for instance, a winner hosts opponents to a post-election dinner. He regretted that Nigeria imported American political model but ignored the spirit of its democracy.

He wondered why the contestants had adopted a do-or-die tactics in an election of which the ultimate winner should be Nigeria.

“The first three democratic projects failed abysmally because of immaturity on the part of our key players and the refusal of an ambitious military to allow the democracy to grow at its pace.

“Although credit must be given to the armed forces for holding the country together after a terrible civil war, part of the sad legacy of that tragedy is the militarisation of our polity. But I dare say, that is not an excuse not to up the ante in the current process,” he insisted.

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