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Nigeria’s Democracy turning into nightmare, CAN raises alarm

President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Daniel Okoh, has lamented the state of democracy in Nigeria, saying instead of being the best form…

President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Daniel Okoh, has lamented the state of democracy in Nigeria, saying instead of being the best form of government like in other climes, it has become a “nightmare”.

Addressing Church and Mission Leaders’ Summit organized by Gideon and Para-Mallam Peace Foundation on Monday in Abuja, the CAN President said over 250 ethnic nationalities are plagued by religious, ethnic, communal and resource conflicts.

He said even the benefits from oil wealth could not touch the lives of the people equitably and this has fueled both resource control and secessionist agitations.

In his keynote address entitled “Peace Building within the Context of Nigeria’s Multi – Religious and Multi-Ethnic Reality”, the Archbishop said, “Allegiances to ethnic groups come first before the Nigeria state. The rise of separatist groups, bandits and the Boko Haram extremists threatens our corporate existence and growth as an indivisible entity.

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“Unfortunately, in our time, democracy that proves to be the best form of government anywhere in the world is fast turning to a nightmare for us. The February and March 2023 polls were characterized by manifest irregularities and a lot of ordinary people are fast losing hope in the democratic system of government in Nigeria. This in itself is a major conflict that will require peacebuilding efforts to persuade the different political parties that participated in that election to embrace peace for the good of the nation.

“If this is not done, it may take a long time to restore the confidence of the majority of Nigerians to keep faith in government institutions again, particularly, the electoral body.”

He said efforts by local and international peace bodies, “have culminated in the fragile peace we now have today. Peace building is actually an endless project as issues likely to trigger conflict continue to confront the nation on a daily basis. Ability to douse these tensions and persuade the aggrieved parties to seek a peaceful solution to their contention is the hallmark of peacebuilding efforts.”

He however said he was glad that Rev & Prof. (Mrs.) Gideon Para-Mallam had dedicated their lives to the onerous task of peacebuilding and they had made tremendous impact on the nation, particularly in the North.

He said Nigeria is delicately polarized along ethnic and religious lines and must tread cautiously and always make concerted efforts to build, nurture and sustain peace.

“Peace will not come if we do not leave our comfort zones to engage people of other religions and ethnic groups. In this, we have no other choice. It is not too late for the Nigerian state to deliberately seek genuine reconciliation and resolution of the contentious religious and ethnic crises militating against our progress and development.” He said.

In his address, the Convener Reverend Dr Gideon Para – Mallam said Sustainable Peace in Nigeria is never to be taken for granted as Global peace continues to be threatened.

“Persecution and violence against the Church have become an easy trigger for attacks in Christians communities all over Nigeria,” he said.

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