APC on top gear, Kalu insists
Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Nigeria is in despair, was the verdict from Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan to President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday.
Cardinal Onaiyekan said this at a Holy Mass to declare the first 2018 plenary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) open, in Abuja and insisted Nigerians deserve far better deal than what they are getting presently.
The Catholic archbishop specifically said the country deserves far better in terms of good governance, social justice, peace and minimum well being of the people.
He added that in the last three years, Nigerians have lived with the gospel of change, but have seen little of it.
But CBCN President, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, said the church’s sermon was not borne out of ill-will, but because the church wants things to be good for the nation and that when the church preaches, it is telling the government to go and re-strategise.
On his part, former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, insisted the current administration has done well, particularly in the area of infrastructural development.
In attendance at the Holy Mass were Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), John Odigie-Oyegun and wife, Victoria, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu as well as Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh.
Also in attendance were former Senate President, David Mark and wife, Helen, Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, among others.
Onaiyekan further said any change in human affairs must necessarily start with a change of heart.
“We do well, therefore, to remind ourselves of our need for repentance in the way we think, in the things that we do, in our entire attitude to life in ourselves and in our relations with all our neighbours. But, this is not only for us who are Christians and Catholics. It is for all men and women of our nation in this era of general confusion and near chaos, anarchy and doom.
“Yes, our nation is in a state of uncertainty and confusion. A few things are going well in the society and the economy, for which we thank God and congratulate our leaders.
“They tell us that they are doing their best. But, a lot still needs to be done and too many problems have been left to fester.
“Our nation surely deserves far better than it is now getting in terms of good governance, social justice and peace and minimum of well being for our people,” Onaiyekan said.
The former president of the Christian Association of Nigeria said so far, government has spent so much time and energy demonising its predecessor that it seemed to have forgotten its promise of a better life for Nigerians.
“It has unfortunately allowed the initial massive goodwill it enjoyed to be depleted, almost to non-existence. It is no wonder that many Nigerians are looking for a new political organisation that can truly bring about genuine change for the better. Having tried our two major political parties and found none of them up to our expectation, the nation is on the verge of despair,” Onaiyekan added.
He also said that irrespective of the current situation in the country, Nigerians must not allow despair and frustration to overwhelm them, saying that the nation’s problems are well within the ability of Nigerians to confront and resolve.
“Nigeria has both the human and natural resources to bring to reality, our promise of greatness and grandeur. But for this to happen, we must bring out the best that is in each of us and in all of us for the common good of all. It is time to bring everyone on board, from all ethnic, religious and political spectrums. Since the nation belongs to all of us, everyone must be allowed to have a stake in it.
“Another election is fast approaching. We must seize this God-given opportunity to radically change things around. We should no longer allow politics to remain business as usual in the hands of the same gang of speculators and opportunists. We must change the rule of the game, not the faces of the players…Our nation can be said to be in a state of political emergency. There is an urgent and serious task to salvage our nation ad give our youth hope for a better future. This is a task that is incumbent on all of us, whether in or out of politics, old or new in politics,” Onaiyekan declared.
Thereafter, speaking with newsmen, Kalu prayed for the good of the country and wished Nigerians well so that they can enjoy the dividends of democracy and added that going by the infrastructural development of the APC-led government, the party is in top gear, even as he noted that the APC has done a lot in three years.
“This is not media hype. I am not the spokesman for the president. Everybody knows that I speak the truth. APC have done very well. I will take a look at my own side of Nigeria. The second Niger Bridge is being constructed now; Enugu-Onitsha Expressway is being built now on a very high thickness; Enugu-Port Harcourt-Okigwe; Aba-Umuahia Expressway is on top speed. So, to me, we are on top gear and other places I have gone, roads are being constructed,” Kalu said.
Buhari, who was represented by the SGF, said the CBCN is the only Christian platform that gave the president a listening ear prior to the 2015 presidential election.
He added that the president believes that the CBCN is a strategic partner in building the nation, even as he noted that the CBCN have a lot to offer the nation.
“For that reason, he remains eternally grateful. I remember at that engagement, they asked very pertinent questions – direct, bullets to the face and he provided answers. Because of that reason, he believes the CBCN is a strategic partner in the enterprise of growing the Nigeria nation and he believes that they have a lot to offer,” Mustapha said.