From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Emeritus Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, yesterday, lamented the debilitating effect of corruption and insecurity on the nation.
The former president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said though every citizen had some level of responsibility to redress the parlous situation, political office holders must rise to the occasion.
“Those who have accepted the honour, duty and burden to control the government must lead by example if they are to be effective in promoting a secured and honest nation. The tragedy of Nigeria is that we are witnesses to massive corruption and rampant insecurity across the political spectrum. The inability or unwillingness of government to fulfil its many promises has led to a situation of deep loss of trust in government. It does not help matters that government spokespersons too often make futile claims in denial of the sad reality that is before all to see.”
Onaiyekan said the nation witnessed the obvious link between insecurity and corruption, adding that it was no longer rumours or fake news that funds meant for dealing with insecurity have ended up in private pockets of some sacred cows.
“When troops are poorly equipped and badly looked after, terrorists and bandits have a field day at the expense of poor innocent Nigerians.
“There is a widespread feeling of failure of government. When government fails, the people are abandoned to their own devices. They can only hope that things will change: That government rise to its responsibility or give way for others to try, or be pushed aside, hopefully, peacefully in a free and fair election.”
Onaiyekan spoke in Abuja during a national workshop on the role of women and women organisations in promoting integrity and security in Nigeria organised by the Cardinal Onaiyekan Foundation for Peace (COFP).
He said beyond the political class, it was the responsibility of all citizens to be honest with their neighbours and to be one anothers’ keeper.
“We are all, therefore, expected to be promoters of integrity and security in our communities. We should stop eulogising our village people of dubious wealth. We should be ready to defend and safeguard our communities.
“In all this, there is much role for women and their organisations. A lot can be achieved without making much noise.
“Our nation is very much in need of their specific feminine contributions in our present dysfunctional society,’’ he said.
Onaiyekan noted that the role of women has been marginal and minimal in the nation’s political landscape.
He said the Nigerian system offered little opportunity for women to perform, in an often violent and rough contest.
“The few who have managed to emerge seem to have been swallowed up by the sea of menfolk. The agitation to change the rules to create more space for women has made very little progress. The struggle must continue, well beyond the “first lady” syndrome.
“Beyond the political class, it is the responsibility of all citizens to be honest with their neighbours and to be one another’s keeper. We are all therefore expected to be promoters of integrity and security in our communities. We should stop eulogizing our village people of dubious wealth. We should be ready to defend and safeguard our communities. In all this, there is much role for women and their organizations. A lot can be achieved without making much noise. We hope to hear from this conference how they intend to make an impact on the integrity and security of our nation. Our nation is very much in need of their specific feminine contribution in our present dysfunctional society,” Onaiyekan also said.