Nation in search of peace, security, cleric affirms
Nigerians are hungry and they urgently need succour from President Muhammadu Buhari. They want him to fulfill his campaign promises by providing good leadership that will check hunger and poverty in the land. This was the message contained in a letter that Emeritus Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Cardinal Anthony Okogie, wrote to Buhari.
Reminding the president that his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) promised to change the country for the better but has not done so, Okogie said: “Nigerians are still waiting for the promises to be fulfilled.” According to the cleric, “change is not real when old things that we ought to discard refuse to pass away.” He urged the president to take a critical look at his cabinet, as well as the policies and programmes of his administration, including those who help him to formulate and execute the policies with a view to making necessary adjustments that will help him deliver on his promises.
Okogie’s letter went viral on the social media last night. The Guardian made efforts to reach him and the Catholic Director of Communications Archdiocese of Lagos, Very Rev. Monsignor Gabriel Osu on telephone to confirm it. A subsequent phone call from Osu later confirmed that the letter actually emanated from Cardinal Okogie.In the letter to the President, Okogie said: “Last year, when you assumed office, the chant of ‘Change’, your campaign slogan, ushered you into the Presidential Villa. Today, cries of ‘hunger’ could be heard across the length and breadth of our vast country. Nigerians are hungry, not only for food, but for good leadership, for peace, security and justice.
This letter is to appeal to you to do something fast, and, if you are already doing something, to redouble your effort.“May it not be written on the pages of history that Nigerians died of starvation under your watch. As President, you are the chief servant of the nation. I, therefore, urge you to live up to the huge expectation of millions of Nigerians. A stitch in time saves nine.”
The archbishop emeritus, in suggesting the way forward for Nigeria, said: “This is the second year of your administration. You and your party promised to lead the masses to the promised land. It is not an easy task to lead. But by campaigning for this office, you offered to take the enormous task of leadership upon yourself. Nigerians are waiting for you to fulfill the promises you made during the campaign. They voted you into office because of those promises.
“The introduction of town hall meetings is a commendable idea. But in practice, you, not just your ministers, must converse with Nigerians. You are the President. You must be accountable to them. The buck stops on your desk. Even if your administration has no magic wand, at least give some words of encouragement. On this same score, please instruct your ministers, and insist that they be sincere and polite at those town hall meetings. Their sophistry will neither serve you nor Nigerians.
“Mr. President, if you want to leave a credible legacy come 2019, in all sincerity, please retool your administration. Change is desirable. But it must be a change for the better. Let this change be real. Change is not real when old things that we ought to discard refuse to pass away. You will need to take a critical look at your cabinet, at the policies and programmes of your administration, and at those who help you to formulate and execute them.
You will need to take a critical look at the manner of appointments you have been making. It is true that commonsense dictates that you appoint men and women you can trust, but if most of the people you trust are from one section of the country and practise the same religion, then you and all of us are living in insecurity.”
This article was first published on Guardian newspaper website