Sunday 24th September, 2017
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Forgiveness in the post -Abia governorship tussle

Forgiveness in the post -Abia governorship tussle

When wars, elec­tions or any oth­er form of tussle is lost and won, there are high expectations on the vic­torious parties to extend the pro­verbial “olive branch” to their op­ponents. Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu, as a devout Christian, did not hesitate to fulfill this obligation when Su­preme Court reaffirmed his man­date as the governor of Abia State on May 12 after a protracted le­gal tussle that weighed heavily on the state.
The governor dedicated the Su­preme Court victory to the people of Abia state who stood by him all through the period of litigations. While stressing that only God will take glory for the victory, he com­mended the judiciary for standing firm on the side of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In his passionate appeal, “the time for politics is long over, and I have forgiven all those that were bent on distracting me. Let all well meaning Abians, including my op­ponents, come and join us to grow and develop our state without dis­tractions as we ultimately have stakes in the growth and develop­ment of our state and people”.
“Today, there is the work of Abia to do and history will judge us by how much of that work we do, not by how much politics we play. My doors are open to all, my ears are open to hear and my eyes are strong enough to read sugges­tions on how we can best deliv­er greater dividends to those who really matter: the great people of Abia State”.
Forgiveness is a key compo­nent in the teachings of Christi­anity and is classically expressed in “Our Lord’s Prayer” thus:” And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Matthew 6:9-13). Je­sus Christ, who is the model of Christians, in his final words on the cross of Calvary laid strong emphasis on forgiveness: ”Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). We also find instruction to love your enemies and turn the other cheek .Also; we are enjoined in Luke 6:27-31 to” love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, pray for those who curse us, and pray for those who hurt us”. Forgiveness is a re­curring theme in scriptures such as Colossians 3:13” Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord for­gave you”;Matthew 6:14-15” For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heaven­ly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins;”Luke 17:3-4 “So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sis­ter sins against you rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you sev­en times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”
Gandhi’s commitment to non­violence and forgiveness of his enemies attracted huge following from the Indian populace and en­deared other notable rights activ­ist Dr. Martin Luther King in the United States, Nelson Mande­la and Steve Biko in South Afri­ca, and Aung San Suu Kyi in My­anmar to follow his lead. Gandhi would always proclaim “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”.
The theme of forgive­ness is beautifully expressed in the prayers of St. Francis of Assisi’s“Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console. To be un­derstood as to understand. To be loved as to love. For it is in giv­ing that we receive. It is in pardon­ing that we are pardoned. And it is in dying that we are born to eter­nal life”.
Now that Gov. Okezie Ikpea­zu has extended the olive branch to his opponents in the governor­ship tussle, there is a strong ap­peal to these opponents to accept this offer and rally round the gov­ernor for the collective interest of the state. In this post governorship tussle, there is neither the victor nor the vanquished- it is a victory for the good of all Abians.
It is time to “think Abia first”. Thank that the mantra: “Think Abia First” formed the campaign slogan of one of the major con­tenders in the last governorship election in the state. We owe pos­terity a lot of explanation if we act in the contrary. We will also be re­minded of this touching statement of Gov. Ikpeazu:” Today, there is the work of Abia to do and history will judge us by how much of that work we do, not by how much pol­itics we play. My doors are open to all, my ears are open to hear and my eyes are strong enough to read suggestions on how we can best deliver greater dividends to those who really matter: the great peo­ple of Abia State”. Today, there is the work of Abia to do and history will judge us by how much of that work we do, not by how much pol­itics we play. My doors are open to all, my ears are open to hear and my eyes are strong enough to read suggestions on how we can best deliver greater dividends to those who really matter: the great peo­ple of Abia State”.
– Ukegbu is a public affairs commentator

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