Nigerians Must Not Give Up Hope – Cardinal Onaiyekan

The Catholic Archbishop Emeritus of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan has called on Nigerians not give up hope.

 According to him, rather the present situation of the country on the verge of elections in a couple months calls for a new attitude for the better.

Cardinal Onaiyekan who spoke at the 70th Anniversary Citizens Summit organised by the National Association of Seadogs, Pyrates Confraternity called for basic trust among Nigerians and in the leaders even though they failed the people.

 He stated that the on-going political campaigns “are replete with catalogues of failure of our government, even from candidates of the present government.  

“The state of insecurity is making almost every aspect of our national life problematic. Worst of all is the fact that it appears that the state has no answer to how to keep our nation safe, while to do that is the most primary obligation of any government.

“The situation of our social services that have been running down is affecting almost everyone. In particular, social services that are under government control have suffered major neglect, whether in education or health services, roads or sanitation. Often Nigerians have to fend for themselves. But there is a limit to how much individuals can cater for all their needs. “

 While noting that there is growing poverty in the land, the Catholic Prelate said there is the “major issue of mass pervading distrust of government on the part of citizens”.

Onaiyekan, who however noted that Nigeria has not reached the stage of a failed state and would not reach there soon because basic institutions of government are still functioning albeit not at optimal level, called on Nigerians to believe in themselves and in the “our God giving resources country.

“I do not believe we have reached a state of total anarchy. We still have a Police Force and Armed Forces and other security agents, once in a while performing their duties.  There is of course the proverbial Nigerian resilience, constantly managing to survive under conditions that would appear unbearable.

“We must not forget the many Nigerians who are working hard to plug the holes and fill the gaps left by bad governance. Most of them continue to do their duty with little or no recognition or reward. I believe these are those who are still keeping the rickety system standing”.

Earlier in his remarks, the NAS Capoon, Mr Abiola Owoaje said the Citizens Summit is one of the platforms used by NAS to mobilise efforts to solve Nigeria’s problem

“In line with our non-partisan philosophy, we have stayed the course, rising above political alliances, tribal affiliations and religious leanings using the Citizens’ Summit as a robust intellectual platform to provide the rallying point for convergence of varying but purposeful ideas proposing and providing solutions to myriad of challenges confronting Nigeria.

“Since its maiden edition in 2012, the Citizens Summit has advocated for expansion of the democratic space through active and informed citizen participation, which is critical for national development. As an organisation committed to the attainment of a just society and  enhancement of  democratic ideals, we have held a series of lectures over the years directed towards providing awareness about voter education, citizenship, good governance, accountability, electoral reforms, religious tolerance.

“As a pan and pro-Nigeria organisation, our resolute focus since our founding in 1952 is to galvanise Nigerians irrespective of political interests, ethnic background and religious persuasion to unite in the necessary participation in shaping the governance process and attitudinal regeneration towards the salvaging of our country Nigeria.

“The Citizens Summit is one of the ways we have been contributing our deeply held and truly patriotic quota to national development.  This special edition today provides another opportunity to compel each of us as Nigerians to reflect on our individual roles in working for the redemption and progress of Nigeria. Without exaggeration, the unity and development of Nigeria is a responsibility each Nigerian has a share in. As an apolitical and non-religious organisation with principles of humanistic ideals, the opinion of the organisation remains strongly rooted in the unity, development and progress of Nigeria. “

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