Catholic Bishops within the Ibadan Ecclesiastical Province have cried out over what they term an unease around the nation, signaling the loss of Nigeria’s soul.
“Nigeria, our country, seems to have lost its very soul because it is no longer a healthy entity,” the clerics stated in a communique by the province Chairman and Secretary, Rev. Gabriel Abegunrin and Rev. Akin Oyejola, respectively.
They were of the opinion that the good health of any nation consists in its capacity to offer its citizens a territory where “they can feel at home, feel secure and enjoy the basic necessities of life” but lamented that in Nigeria, “armed conflicts, armed robbery, kidnapping for ransom, insurgency, banditry, and extrajudicial killing persist as the order of the day”.
The clergymen said the nation has lost its soul and as such its people have lost the cohesive elements of human relationships.
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“A nation that has lost its soul is characterized by inept, uncaring leadership which functions by selective allocation of posts, privileges, and resources and by selective application of justice.
“It is characterized by leaders who, rather than care for the citizens of the country, simply exploit and denigrate them.
“Such a nation takes food out of the mouths of its own citizens and watches them starve. It deploys its scarce resources to the advantage of the rich and powerful while offering mere crumbs to the poor and weak.
“A nation that has lost its soul, therefore, breeds a citizenry where nobody cares for anybody else. Nigeria exhibits all of these traits, no doubt. Its constitutive principles of justice, equity, and fair play have clearly fallen apart and the country is no longer at ease. No doubt, the very soul of Nigeria needs to be recovered,” the statement read in parts.
Reviving the soul of Nigeria
In proffering a solution as to how the country’s soul can be revived, the religious leaders declared that political and economic restructuring without moral revival is bound to fail.
They were of the opinion that Nigeria needs spiritual and moral revival which will restore common positive values to their rightful place in the nation’s polity.
The values to be restored include honesty, truthfulness, integrity, accountability, and the fear of God.
While emphasizing that only the truth can set the country free, the bishops wondered why “in the face of our current national crisis and encroaching chaos, the Nigerian government continues to demonstrate a disturbing allergy to the truth even when it is most evident”.
They expressed deep sympathies for the Nigerians who bear the brunt of Nigeria’s debilitating situation borne out of economic depression, hunger, armed robbery, banditry, kidnapping for ransom, unemployment, and injustice.
The priests also urged Nigerians to do all they can to help one another even in these hard times and work more assiduously to create a better society.