NEW YEAR : Okogie, others task leaders on service
Jan 16, 2006
Nigerians yesterday trooped to different places of worship to usher in the New Year which has been described by various clergymen as a crucial year for the nation’s democratic experience. Churches across the country were full with the young, the old, men and women, particularly for the New Year eve services, if only to thank God for His mercies over the preceding year.
(Vanguard, January 02, 2006) LAGOS — At the Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos Metropolitan See, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, again called on the nation’s leaders to use the opportunity of the dawn of a new year to remodel themselves along the path of Jesus Christ.
Okogie, while responding to a controversy among Jesus disciples on who was the greatest, Jesus said: “Let the greatest among you be the least,” adding that our leaders have given us the impression that they are masters and not servants.
“This attitude of the leaders has resulted in disrespect of the led,” Okogie who was assisted by Rev Fathers Gabriel Osu, Julius Olaitan and another priest said, adding: “Are our representatives at the state and national levels really representing the people?”
Okogie said the true meaning of leadership is “caring deeply about the people we serve/lead, and being willing to sacrifice our own convenience to meet their needs.” He said the nation’s image abroad was very bad, adding: “We are cutting our nose to spite our face,” and urged the Federal Government to do “everything possible to protect the constitutional rights of the people at all times and not tailor it according to the whims and caprices of selfish and opportunistic people.”
The cardinal said the people were suffering and smiling while the leaders wallowed in affluence, adding that the gap between the rich and poor was widening on a daily basis.
He, therefore, urged government to address the perennial problems of the masses of the nation. According to him, every situation in the last few months in the country points to only one direction: change and urged all Nigerians to have a change of heart in the new year to attract God’s blessing, wisdom and courage to reign this year.
The Most Rev. Ephraim Ademowo of the Anglican Communion preaching the first sermon of the year, said Nigerians needed the strength of God, not only to face the challenges of the new year, but to use their God-given talents on creative ventures. The Archbishop of Province One and the bishop of Lagos Diocese assured Nigerians that God would give them fulfilment in the new year.
The cleric commended President Olusegun Obasanjo for setting up a committee to investigate the aviation industry, stressing that the committee should be a permanent one because most times, Nigerians act on the spur on the moment and most times things do not work out.
He urged Nigerians to be humble, especially the leaders because, according to him, it is God that puts leaders in the place of authority. According to him, the key word for the church this year is KLS—Know the Lord, Love the Lord and Serve the Lord.
In his New Year message, the Director of Social Communications at the Catholic Archdiocese, Rev. Father Gabriel Osu, admonished Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of tolerance, patience and endurance in the new year.