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Exploring the theme of forgiveness in the post-Abia governorship tussle - by Okechukwu Keshi


Exploring the theme of forgiveness in the post -Abia governorship tussle
L-R: Governor Ikpeazu and Uche Ogah exchanged pleasantry after 
Supreme Court verdict on Friday, 12th May, 2017
By Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu

When wars, elections or any other forms of tussles and 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 followingOt 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”.

Other religions of the world do not spare strong emphasis on the subject of forgiveness.In Islam, forgiveness is the prerequisite for genuine peace .The religion holds forgiveness as a better course of action whenever possible. It is ideal in Judaism for a person who has caused harm to sincerely apologize, and then the wronged person is religiously bound to forgive.

It is a strong belief in Buddhism that forgiveness is a practice for removing unhealthy emotions that would otherwise cause harm to our mental well-being. While hatred leaves a lasting effect on actions, forgiveness creates emotions with a wholesome effect. It is a strong belief in Buddhism that forgiveness is a practice for removing unhealthy emotions that would otherwise cause harm to our mental well-being.

While hatred leaves a lasting effect on actions, forgiveness creates emotions with a wholesome effect. In Sikhism, forgiveness is viewed as the remedy to anger because you forgive an offender when aroused by compassion. Compassion generates peace, tranquility, humility and co-operation in human interactions. Like the antithesis explains” To err is human, to forgive is divine, “The act of forgiveness is considered a divine gift, not the work of human agency”.


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”.


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