The Catholic Arch Bishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan has appealed to politicians of all shades to bury their differences with the aim of addressing the current national security challenges.
Onaiyekan, in a sermon titled: “Let us choose life not death” to mark the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari for his second tenure, said: “this is no time for celebration of victory or for lamentation over defeat. Rather, it is time to pull efforts together, with the grace of God, to tackle the serious challenges before us.”
The Bishop, at the inter-denominational Christian service in Abuja, the nation’s capital, wanted Nigerians to acknowledge their failure to do things in the right way. “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 the highest, but especially at the highest levels. Empty boasts and bare-face denial of the realities around us cannot build a nation.
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 socio-economic disparity has led to anger, tension, violence and outright criminality in the land. All is not well.
“But all is not lost either. 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 adequate resources to achieve this, resources that we unfortunately turn into crises and problems. Ethnicity and religion are two cases in point.
“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 ” I’d you oh Lord should mark guilt, who would survive?” The blame game of pointing accusing fingers at other 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 bare faced denials of the realities around us can not build the nation.”
Bishop Onaiyekan said however that all is lost, saying: “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 in point.
“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. It is useful, and can even be worse than useless. If it does not promote good humma behaviour.(James 1: 27). We can not deceive God. We may, by our human failure, give religion a bad name. But God will always be the Holy and Religious One.”