Amaechi & Odili: Fasten Reconciliation With Forgiveness

Written by Odimegwu Onwumere

In an article by one Barrister Oleka titled "Amaechi, Wangbu and their critics" published Dec. 11, 2009, the writer said that the Americans say "it goes with the territory." He added that you cannot distinguish yourself in any field of endeavour in the world without the attendant criticism ÔÇô especially in Nigeria. To me, I quite knew that it is an incontrovertible right of free will to exercise a choice to forgive or not.

My concern in this essay is not that the once strained relationship between Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State and his predecessor and mentor, Dr. Peter Odili, was reconciled in the Church or Shrine (after all, they didn't start the skirmish in the church), but that they have finally reconciled. They have finally reconciled, perhaps leaving their barrage of supporters and critics behind. I am yet to agree that because they reconciled in the Church, therefore their reconciliation was sealed in the presence of God, as many were wont to saying. I am rather of the opinion that God had reconciled their minds and sealed their reunion before they finally set out to showcase that before the church. So, what people should be praying for them is that such scenario that made them parted ways for no fewer years of four years should not reoccur; and not believing that because the reconciliation was "sealed before God" they will never quarrel again. Even husband and wife that go to celebrate their marriage in the church in the name of "sealing their marriage before God" even quarrel, sometimes they divorce.

That, apart! My major concern since I heard that the dudes have finally reconciled is whether their supporters reconciled alongside with them; even if they could not make their own reconciliation official as Amaechi and Odili did, it is essential they reconcile. But I am yet to know if this reconciliation will bring about maladministration, as many of us told Odili off that Amaechi should stay aloof from him because the former's administration in Rivers State was allegedly characterized by ineptitudes. However, this reconciliation calls for a big party as it's a reconciliation made blissfully before celebrated by us the canals. People like the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who robbed Amaechi of the PDP gubernatorial flag in Rivers State in 2007 should also be reconciled with. Notwithstanding, reconciliation is one thing, forgiveness is another thing. Amaechi, Odili, Obasanjo and all of us who were involved in the imbroglio in one way or the other should forgive.

Odili's wife, Mary, now a justice of the Supreme Court, is a mighty woman in battle, for having helped her husband to achieve this reconciliation with Amaechi. Though, it is not in the news the role she played before they set out for the Corpus et Sanguis Christi Cathedral located on Kaduna Street in Port Harcourt, where it was said that the reconciliation took place. This church was the venue of Amaechi's inauguration thanksgiving service, before he headed to the Liberation Stadium, Elekahia, where the oath of office for another four-year term was administered on him. Aside been reconciled, perhaps due to political calculations, forgiveness is another thing; and I urge that total forgiveness takes place.

Mary Odili has every justification to be eulogized in this achieved feat once regarded as impossible, because we know the power of women over their husbands and children. If she had refused Odili to reconcile with Amaechi, perhaps nothing could have been reconciled. Forgiveness does not take one to be a religionist. I wonder sometimes why Amaechi and Odili ÔÇô these two renowned religionists ÔÇô did not take away pride for the number of four years they were in trenches and allow forgiveness to reign. Say they were TRADITIONALISTS, criticism would have been awash from the fanatics religionists we have in Nigeria, saying that "they do not know Christ" that was the reason they quarreled. But what did religionists say that prolonged Odili and Amaechi quarrel? They only saw the quarrel as Politics, not a sin, because they were Church people. Holly Onwumere!

I understand that if you have little or big trouble in forgiving people whether they pleaded or not you are worst than an infidel. We should know that reconciliation is easy said than forgiveness is done. This does not take being a Christian or what have you into account, as far as human beings still occupy this globe; what it takes is FORGIVENESS. Period! So, Amaechi and Odili reconciliation "sealed in the house of God" is over glamorizing the issue.

It was Fredrick Buechner who quoted that when you forgive somebody who has wronged you, you're spared the dismal corrosion of bitterness and wounded pride. For both parties, forgiveness means the freedom again to be at peace inside their own skins and to be glad in each others' presence. Amaechi and Odili should let "freedom again to be at peace inside their own skins and to be glad in each others' presence."

On the matter that played before their reconciliation, we and they should always walk with the words of Martin Luther King: "Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude." Anger and resentment should always be abrogated on the issue pertaining to Amaechi and Odili and us. We once wasted enough energy in side or in support of the duos when they were bickering; and let us not harbour again these ill-feelings against us, because of political gains.

According to Naomi Drew, M.A., author of Hope and Healing: Peaceful Parenting in an Uncertain World, we are warned thus: The freedom to be at peace in our own skins ÔÇô that's what forgiveness allows. We relinquish this freedom when we hold onto anger and resentment. Enormous amounts of energy are wasted when we hold back our love, hold onto hate, and harbor acrimonious feelings. The only remedy is letting go, and being willing to forgive....Sometimes we need to forgive without reconciliation: forgiving for the mere purpose of forgiving. Certainly, what we strive for is to reconcile all conflicts, clear the air, and understand one another. But there are times this is impossible ÔÇô with a parent who has passed away, with someone who has wronged you and is long gone, with someone who is unwilling to communicate. These are the times we must dip deep into our own souls and see if we are willing to forgive anyway.

Amaechi and Odili henceforth should wear Unconditional Love and forgiveness as a garb, because of its essence to humanity, while we embrace the ability to forgive and eliminate judgment unconditionally. These will make us make powerful progress in our ability in having a Rivers State of hitches-free ÔÇô physically and spiritually, relationally and emotionally. In the Amaechi and Odili brouhaha before the reconciliation, we should not again struggle with the ability to forgive one another.

Odimegwu Onwumere is the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV).