By Benjamin Omoike
A clergyman, Rt. Rev. Msgr. John Aniagwu, Parish Priest, St. Leo’s Catholic Church in Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria, says the nation’s ruling class is in dire need of spiritual deliverance, as panacea for the myriad of problems ravaging the nation today.
Reverend Aniagwu made this disclosure at a press briefing during the week within the church premises, as part of activities to commemorate his 50th Year-Anniversary Celebration in the Lord’s vineyard.
According to him, the blame for the precarious situation in the country today should be laid solely at the feet of those he referred to as ‘rulers’, who are saddled with the responsibility of leading the country. He stressed that they had not demonstrated qualities and the wherewithal required of them, to merit being called leaders.
The Catholic Priest stated that his vision for Nigeria is a bleak one, as long as the nation continued to have the kind of rulers she had had over the years till date.
“The ruling class in our country is in dire need of a spiritual deliverance. When someone or a group of people are possessed by demons such as I have listed earlier, the only response is recourse to the prayer of deliverance.
“We Nigerians need to pray, really storm heaven that God will deliver our rulers from the multiple demons that currently hold them hostage, so that they are unable to provide the kind of leadership that Nigeria needs: a leadership that is devoid of greed, selfishness, arrogance, insensitivity, lawlessness; a leadership that is rather characterised by justice and fair play towards all Nigerians, irrespective of where they come from or what religion they profess, respect for the rule of law, respect for the rights of all citizens.
“We should pray that God will deliver our rulers from the demon of power and its abuse that tramples on the will of the people of Nigeria, such that we are not even permitted to choose those who will govern us in free and fair elections. Because on their own, our rulers are never going to let go of the stranglehold that they have on the present fortunes of our country and its prospects for the future.”
He reiterated that his vision for the nation was a bleak one. “Nigeria is a victim of leadership disaster with the kind of leaders that we have had since independence, Nigeria does not need any other disaster.
“My vision for the future of Nigeria is a bleak one, as long as we continue to have the kind of rulers that we have had to date. They have made it abundantly clear by their actions and utterances, that they have no intention to make the changes that are needed for Nigeria to begin the slow and painful journey from the darkness of underdevelopment to the bright light of a modern nation state that works.
“Right now, our dear country Nigeria is simply not working. Some people are already calling it a failed state. They may not be far from the truth.”
Further taking a quote from renowned novelist, the late Chinua Achebe, Father Anaigwu posited that “the problem with the giant of Africa-Nigeria, since independence in 1960, has always been that of leadership, while other nations suffer from natural disasters, Nigeria is a victim of leadership disaster. With the kind of leaders that we have had since independence, Nigeria does not need any other disaster.”
The Saint Leo’s Catholic Parish Priest also said that these group of selfish leaders care less about whether the people that they govern prosper or perish, as clearly demonstrated by what he described as the shameful episode of last year, in the heat of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, when palliatives and relief materials that were meant to alleviate the suffering of Nigerans were deliberately stolen from them, and hoarded in warehouses across the country.
On the solution to the debacle, he expressed worry that those in power have shown themselves to be unreceptive to any suggestion of change that could potentially turn the fortunes of the nation around, adding that the half-hearted solutions that they put forward are self-serving ones that will only protect and entrench their own unmerited privileges.”
“Those solutions cannot in any way improve the lot of the ordinary citizens of Nigeria, from North to South, East to West. They have succeeded in pitching us against one another, on the basis of ethnic and religious differences, such that Nigerians who are collective victims of exploitation by their rulers see and treat one another as enemies.”
”But we are not enemies of one another, it is those at the helm of affairs that are making us see each other as enemies, They know that if we are to sheath our sword and join forces as one, their days in power will be numbered. That is something they will never live to let happen.”
Father Aniagwu highlighted other activities lined-up for the 50th anniversary celebration. “On Wednesday, senior citizens of the parish, aged 65 and above, will feed the hungry and needy in the community; Thursday will be for charity visits to the Pacelli School for the Blind and Partially Sighted Children, Surulere, and St. Monica’s Orphanage in Iju, Ishaga.”
Friday, he said, has been set aside for a special anniversary luncheon with a public lecture and book presentation, while the grand finale of the week-long programme is scheduled for Saturday, August 14, with a thanksgiving mass at the church at 10am.