PEOPLES DAILY, FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2012
Rise and rise of Cardinal Onaiyekan By Emmanuel Onwubiko In the last thirteen years, I have had an increasingly close encounter with a fine gentleman, Right Reverend John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, who is the Catholic Archbishop of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Abuja Ecclessiastical Province. Cardinal Onaiyekan has provided the needed moral fabric and a formidable spiritual background to our common fight and advocacy for the rights of oppressed Nigerians. Few years back, we bestowed on him the national award of human rights excellence and also enrolled him into our national human rights hall of fame. Long before we collectively gave him this award, we had always believed that His Holiness Pope Benedict the Sixteenth will surely reward this hardworking missionary of God with a higher calling and we are in no way shocked that our prediction was quick in becoming a reality when recently the Church raised him to one of the highest offices in the Worldwide Catholic Church as a Cardinal, making him eligible to participate in any future conclave to elect a new Pope whenever the By Justine John Dyikuk
ost parts of our country were recently submerged have by flood waters. The tidal waves are reminiscent of the flood that washed away the ancients of Noah’s time in biblical literature. Victims of this overflow have been humans and livestock, farmlands and property. To say this deluge is one of monumental proportions and a national disaster is to remark mildly. It made the rounds that Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, Governor of Delta State while visiting the Institute of Continuing Education, ICT, flood victim’s camp Asaba, Monday, invited Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme popularly known as Aki and Paw Paw as motivational speakers believing that some of the victims needed psychological support, which he was optimistic that they actors would provide for them. He was reported as urging, “…those who have ability to ease those in pains,” to “please help.” He concluded that, “it is not about food alone for victims – that will not ease their pains.” Pain-alleviation indeed! It will be recalled that the ‘hydro-hurricane’ swept across many parts of the country with an unstoppable speed. Questions that readily come to mind are; was this flood foreseen? Were there measures that would have been taken but were ignored? Are we giving any extrapolation about States yet to be affected and the dire consequences of this sad development as regards the food crisis in the coming year? Are verbal-palliatives sufficient? Historically, floods are as old as humanity. Perhaps it is because water accounts for
need arises. At that award ceremony of our organization, Cardinal Onaiyekan provided food for thought regarding how best human rights can be protected and promoted but never shied away from the controversial same gender sexual orientation of a section of the developed western world that is gradually finding its way into Africa and Nigeria particularly. He criticized this unnatural sexual orientation and called on Africans not to allow it to permeate our clime. Cardinal Onaiyekan who was the only black African to be so appointed among the six new Cardinals had proffered solution to the myriads of Nigeria’s constitutional problems made worst by the complete disregard by government officials and important business leaders of the concept of human rights and the need to mainstream the respect of the human rights of Nigerians as a necessary weltanschauung [worldview] of Nigeria as a political entity. On poverty in Nigeria which is widespread, he called for quick surgical operation to end this social malaise. ’’Over and above, there is the tyranny of poverty,
rampant and abject poverty which has rendered many people powerless and voiceless, incapable of resisting injustice, less still fighting for their rights. This practically makes whatever we may say about human rights in Nigeria a dead letter,” he said. On gay marriage he said: ‘’In particular, I have serious concerns on three points: first, there is the right to life which is clearly spelt out in our Constitution and in the Fundamental Human Rights to which we are signatories. Yet there is so much wanton killing going on and killings with impunity. “Extra-judicial killing by security agents is a regular occurrence. Then there are the frequent outbursts of murderous sectarian violence. As I am writing this text, we are hearing of over 500 villagers slaughtered in the middle of the night by marauding armed groups that seem to have dissolved into thin air. Besides, people are left to die through criminal neglect. “Condemning abortion and showing his support for the right to life of the unborn, Cardinal Onaiyekan said: ‘’The first and obvious example is where abortion
is being presented as a right of the woman which the state must fund from public resources. The eyes are deliberately closed to the fact that every abortion entails the killing of an innocent human being’’. “Every law that permits abortion simply means that your human life is sacred only when you can fight for yourself. For as long as the modern world tolerates abortion as a right, we are simply denying with one hand what we are proclaiming with the other.” Onaiyekan said pointblank that; ‘’Similarly, issues of sexuality for example, homosexuality and same sex marriage are all now being proposed as “rights”. This has never been so until recent years. The responsibility for this lies with a small but powerful lobby doing all it can to impose these things on the whole of humanity. The criminal aspect of this exercise is that some of the rich nations are pressurizing poor countries to adopt these inhuman positions as a condition for help and assistance. “Nigeria has no business giving in to these pressures because we have enough resources to feed our people. But I
am not sure that there is an adequate clear vision in these matters. I suspect that many of those who attend big International meetings on our behalf are often very much unaware of the agenda behind many programmes that appear on the surface very positive and good’’, Onaiyekan stated. “The tendency to use ambiguous terminology is often a way to deceive people into accepting things that they would not have accepted when presented bluntly. Thus expressions like “family planning”, “reproductive rights”, “safe motherhood” which are valid and wonderful on their own, often hide the gruesome crime of abortion, which is nothing less than the killing of innocent but defenceless human beings’’. In Onaiyekan we now have a Cardinal that can unequivocally stand up to challenge the antics of the big money spenders who support the spread of the same gender sexual orientation including gay marriage. However, he has a tough battle and ideological war ahead with these forces that are powerful and rich in the western world. Emmanuel Onwubiko is on Facebook.
71.11% percent of the world. The flooding began in early July of this year. According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), since July the inundation has taken a rude ride across the country over close to 30 out of the 36 States of Nigeria being affected. Some of the affected States are: Lagos, Plateau, Borno, Nasarawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Katsina and Kebbi. In the litany include; Taraba, Adamawa, Benue, Niger, Kaduna and Kano States. Kogi, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Delta, Edo, Ebonyi, Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers states were among the last hits. The causes of these torrents are very obvious. They range from climate change to heavy rainfalls or seasonal flash floods which started around May through September. Others include; poor drainage systems, indiscriminate dumping of refuse, building on waterways, improper town planning, overcrowded slums and lack of precautionary measures. These floods came about as a result of heavy downpour and release of water from Lagdo Dam and Lake Nyos in the Cameroons which started affecting towns bordering Nigeria. The devastating effects are more than obvious. The loss of lives and property worth millions is a painful cliché. The floods have killed hundreds of Nigerians in various states and displaced countless. Over 120,000 Nigerians are displaced and homeless - leaving in camps across affected areas. According to NEMA, ”Some 2.1 m Nigerians
have been displaced and 263 have died in what the authorities say is the worst flooding in over 40 years...” (http:// reliefweb.int/report/nigeria/ worst-flooding-decades). Farms crops and seedlings like cassava, rice and maize meant for the next farming session have been galloped away by the flood. The struggle to get what they can of those food items while courageously keeping their heads above the water to avoid being drowned! Five women who gave birth at camps of the flood victims in Idah, Ibaji local government area of Kogi state with the sixth, one Philomena Victor, delivering hers in a boat. It took the extra courage of her mother and the compassionate enthusiasm of the Catholic Diocese of Idah led by Fr. Elias Ojoma (rescue-team chairman) to bring mother and child to safety. Horrific scenes similar to this are legion: the upsurge of endemic diseases, hunger plus plundering waves, sight of women with babies at the breast, people brawling to cross over barefooted or barely dressed, others struggling with valuables, food items, goats and bicycles
epitomizes the flood cruelty and its devastating effects on humans. Aside from the environmental hangovers of the floods, the economic impact on the country as regards food security is the most severe. The effort of the Federal Government is so far commendable especially as President Goodluck Jonathan in his last national broadcast announced the release of N17.6 billion to aid the affected states and some Federal Government agencies responsible for disaster management to provide succour to flood victims. Equally, the bold step of setting a National Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation, chaired and cochaired by Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, respectively, is admirable; same for Mr. President’s inspection tour of States affected by the floods. However, NEMA and the Flood Relief and Rehabilitation Committee must be up and doing in giving a human face to this daunting yet humanistic national assignment. Many may be thinking it will be business as usual – the national cake
syndrome. Perhaps the pecuniary pedigree of personages in the latter group ‘will suffice for fuel.’ Government cannot do it alone, spirited individuals, NGO’s, multinational corporations, captains of industries, religious leaders and traditional rulers and other major stake holders must rise up to bring assistance to the flood victims and strategize in salvaging this country from impending food shortage come next year. We must learn to revamp the agricultural sector and support farmers as in the days of the green revolution! The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwumi Adesina, recently at the opening ceremony of the National Agricultural Show held at National Agricultural Foundation of Nigeria, Keffi Abuja road, made a frantic defense that we shall not have food crisis or famine despite the farm losses caused by the widespread flood disaster. This, surely, is oversimplifying the matter! This time, one would think that the claim by him that the Federal Government has made adequate preparations not only to help the affected people, but to boost irrigation in the area is a white elephant project/ promise. As a people, we must learn to move from taking curative measures to concrete preventive measures, the likes of food storage! Fr. Justine John Dyikuk, a Catholic priest, wrote in from the Catholic Institute of West Africa, Port Harcourt.
Flood cruelty and food crisis
The devastating effects are more than obvious. The loss of lives and property worth millions is a painful cliché. The floods have killed hundreds of Nigerians in various states and displaced countless. Over 120,000 Nigerians are displaced and homeless - leaving in camps across affected areas
Peoples Daily Newspaper, Friday 09, November, 2012 Edition