The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, has lamented that Nigerians are getting poorer and having a feeling of hopelessness under the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
He urged the President to change his style of leadership if Nigeria must recover from its current social-economic crisis.
Onaiyekan, who stood in for the President, Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Augustine Akubeze, stated this while delivering a message at the inter-denominational church service for the 2019 presidential inauguration ceremony at the National Christian Centre, Abuja over the weekend.
Speaking on the theme: “Let us chose life, not death,” Onaiyekan said it was expected that the blame game by the administration was over, adding that, “As we embrace a new term of government, it should be for us a new opportunity to change ways and review habits of governance, for a better Nigeria.
‘’We can and we should do this, God has endowed us with resources to achieve this, resources that we, unfortunately, turn into curses.
“The blame game of pointing accusing fingers at others will not carry us far. For a positive change to take place, we must all be ready for a sincere change of heart, from the lowest to highest, but especially at the highest levels. Empty boast and barefaced denials of the realities around us cannot build the nation.
“At this moment, we should do well to acknowledge our failure to do things the right way. Here, the words of the Psalmist should challenge each of us.
“The truth is that our nation is not in a state for us to rejoice. The ranks of the poor are swelling by the day, hopeless and helpless, as they watch in frustration the affluence of the very few cruising in a different world. Such wide social economic disparity has led to anger, tension, violence and outright criminality in the land. All is not well. But all is not lost either.
“Again, here we must tell the truth. For too long, we have been seeing what seems to be a policy of polarisation of the nation along primordial fault lines of ethnicity and religion. The result is that we have been indulging in the risky game of ’dancing on the brink of chaos’.
“We do not know for how long we can continue to get away with this. But the handwriting on the wall is quite clear for all who cared to see. It is sad that no condition is permanent: certainly not the present state of our nation.
“Our ethnic diversity is God’s will and gift that we ought to appreciate and celebrate. We should beware of those who seek to manipulate this in a game of divide and rule, for selfish interests.
“In our emerging global world, we should be building on our long experience of living together across ethnic lines, if we are not to allow ourselves to be left behind in our fast developing modern world.
“We are living in a world where many are abandoning faith in God, at great cost to humanity now and in the future. We do well to commend ourselves for our generally high level and of religious fervor.
‘’But if this is to translate into a righteous nation, we must all seek the will of God for good human relations. This cuts across our religious differences and affiliations. Religion is good, but not enough.
“Religion evokes a strong emotions that ought to be deployed for solving the ills of our nation, not compound them. Those who manipulate religion for their selfish political interest end up destroying religion and harming the nation. Our constitution is not perfect.
“But its basic provisions about freedom of religion are valid and must be scrupulously respected by all, especially by those who control state instruments of coercion,” said the Archbishop.