Okogie charges Nigerians, media to speak up on nation's ills
Jan 02, 2007
Special services were yesterday held in some churches to mark the beginning of the new year as several clergymen used the occasion to sue for peaceful elections come April and religious harmony among the two dominant religions.
(Vanguard, January 02, 2007) LAGOS — At the Holy Cross Cathedral, Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, urged Nigerians and the nation’s media to speak up about the ills of the country, pointing out that he cannot see hope for the nation the way things are going at the moment.
Addressing newsmen at the end of the service to mark this year’s World Day of Peace, Okogie urged the press to wake up to its watchdog responsibility in the interest of generations yet unborn, adding: “If we do not speak out now, I am afraid I do not see hope for this country.”
The cardinal was of the opinion that current war against corruption has not adequately addressed the issue, adding “we are not yet serious about the war on corruption. That is why the Press and well meaning Nigerians must now begin to speak up before something terrible happens, God forbid!”
Stating that the current face-off between President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Abubakar Atiku has adequately embarrassed the country, the cardinal maintained that both men are birds of the same feather and there is no way they can escape judgment.
Finding it difficult to believe why a civil servant should own several houses in choice areas and still live in government quarters, Okogie maintained that the only way forward for the country is prudent management of the nation’s resources.
“Are they serving the people or they are simply serving their pockets,” he queried. “The only solution is for Nigerians to seek for God-fearing leaders because no man can dampen the word of God.”
Okogie also enjoined politicians to play politics with a high sense of responsibility and shun any act of violence, because, according to him, no religion known to man preaches violence and the right to take people’s lives.
Earlier at the service, the Catholic Pontiff’s message to mark World Day of Peace was read by Mr. Tony Akhiotu. Pope Benedict XVI enjoined every Christian to be committed to peace-making and the defence of the dignity of the human person and his inalienable rights.
Outlining obstacles to world peace, the Pontiff maintained that the ability to live together and build relationships of justice and solidarity requires unfailing commitment on every individual’s part because “peace is a gift from God.”
“Let every believer, then, unfailingly contribute to the advancement of a true integral humanism in accordance with the teachings of the Encyclical Letters Populorum Progressio and Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, whose respective 40th and 12th anniversaries we prepare to celebrate this year.”
According to the head of the Catholic Church worldwide, “as far as the right to life is concerned, we must denounce its widespread violation in our society: alongside the victims of armed conflicts, terrorism and the different forms of violence, there are the silent deaths caused by hunger, abortion, experimentation on human embryos and euthanasia.”
Anglican Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Ephraim Ademowo, also called on politicians to conduct themselves in the most civilised manner so that the people of the country have the ample opportunity to vote for credible leaders.