…Says Unless We Embark On Holistic Re-Engineering, We Won’t Get It Right

Rt. Rev. Barr. Utuekong Ukut, Ph.D, is the presiding Bishop of Atamunu Diocese, Methodist Church Nigeria, Calabar, the Cross River State capital. The cleric, in an exclusive interview with NSAN NDOMA-NEJI, states that given the ethno-religious and cultural differences that exist in Nigeria, with a particular ethic group dominating other groups as far as governance is concerned, insecurity will persist unless stakeholders of the Nigerian Project allow for re-engineering. Excerpts:

A new administration will be coming on board on May 29, 2023, what would be your advice for the incoming administration in the area of security?
Nigeria is a farce, the election was a farce; what we need to do in this country is to re-engineer our country, but people are afraid to reengineer it. We need a situation where several countries that are embedded in Nigeria are difussed and released so that their potentials can manifest.
What stops Akwa Ibom and Cross River states from becoming a country. The biggest and most developed countries in the world are very small countries like Signapore, Iceland, Sweden, Switzerland, with little population. How do you merge several countries. A mistake made by the British government in 1914 and we still call it a country, because people that are benefitting from it do not want it to reach it’s full potentials because of their benefits.
Unfortunately the people are not benefitting from it, because the mass is so large for policing or any contingent to hold it down. The same thing with the army, give it a smaller nomenclature or smaller manageable size, you will see passports, see immigration, all very manageable. We have an amorphous configuration of countries being put into one because of a 1914 mistake of Lord Fredrick Lugard.

What solution would you proffer for Mr. President?
For security challenge, he cannot do anything; that’s what I am saying, none could, we have amorphous people of several discountenance, the Muslims must always kill the Christians, the herdsmen must always kill the pastoralists, so why put them in a country and then try to hold down, what will you try to hold down.

Are you advocating disintegration?
I am advocating for re-engineering, call it whatever name you want to. Some call it restructuring, but I call it re-engineering. Why are we afraid of it. Yugoslavia has done it, the USSR has done it, so why are we afraid. Even now the United Kingdom, UK, our former colonial master is undergoing it. Yugoslavia has over eight countries so why are we afraid of it?

Can you give insight of the significance of just concluded 47th Synod of the Methodist Church Nigeria?
Synod of any diocese is the final authority of any diocese and that is where decisions are taken and it is held annually, once a year and all activities of the local church, the circuit, individuals, fellowships, all submit reports, discuss it, the way forward, five years forward; you know this is Methodist Church, the first Church in Nigeria that brought Christianity in 1842; and so the ways of doing things and progressing has been laid down.
The Synod is the highest policy making body for that area, the ultimate is the conference, which is held once in two years; so you can imagine that it is absolutely crucial. Important people from all the sections of the church are always brought out as delegates, like a parliament, to come in and debate, discuss and proffer solutions to any challenge, way forward and also chart a path for the growth of that diocese.

What is the spiritual significance of this year’s Synod for the people of Cross River State?
Heavy spiritual significance, because one of the primary reasons for the Synod is the spiritual life of the church, not even the administrative, revival, evangelism, church planting, those are the issues that come up; worship, lithurgy, praise of God, modes of worship, to meet the present and future times, real-time online services, decisions of the Synod, highly spiritual.


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