From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
The founder and spiritual director of Communio Sanctorum Adoration Ministries, Anambra State, Very Rev. Fr. Bonachristus Umeogu, has posited that endemic corruption is thriving in Nigeria because the country lacks living saints who would live by sacrifice.
Speaking at the Umunya Adoration Ground recently during an event to commemorate the patron saint’s day of the ministry, Umeogu, who is also a professor and dean, Faculty of Arts, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, explained that the fight against endemic corruption afflicting Nigeria could not be won until the country produces saints as their leaders. He noted that any leader willing to sacrifice everything for his country or people should be considered a living saint.
He urged Nigerian leaders to uphold the virtues of a saintly life by being servant leaders, passionate, truthful, honest and charitable in their various positions of authority, so that they can protect the citizens and provide for them instead of killing them.
“It is time to imitate the lives of the saints because that is the only way to make our country good again. It is regrettable that we have more selfish people instead of selfless ones in Nigeria. Recently, people were shot because of palliatives while some of our leaders embezzle public funds with impunity, without being shot.
“In the past we had saints like Late Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dele Giwa and others who sacrificed their lives for Nigeria. In other words, they are saints of Nigeria because there cannot be saints without sacrifice. Among the saints, there are martyrs who allowed themselves to be killed for their faith in God. Without sacrificial lives, there is no sainthood. But the suicide bombers and terrorists are not part of the saints.”
Fr Umeogu said God had done many miracles his 24-year-old ministry, which had been confounding the ordinary mind. In his words, the dead had come back to life and those with assorted ailments had been cured in the ministry.
Earlier before the feast, the Catholic community of St Theresa’s parish Umunya had honoured Fr. Umeogu with a merit award for his humanitarian services.
Presenting the award, the community described Fr Umeogu as one of the best priests that had worked in their town, disclosing how he transformed many lives through his ministry.
The community also revealed that through Fr Umeogu’s connections and assistance, many jobless persons in the community had become gainfully employed, while those with different challenges had received God’s favours through the ministry.
One of the parishioners, Chinedu Oforkansi who spoke with Daily Sun, described the cleric as a silent philanthropist and generous priest who has touched many lives positively without publicising such interventions.
“Do you know how many people that are enjoying his scholarship? So many youths would have been roaming the streets today, because they dropped out owing to non-payment of fees. But they are doing well in their various endeavours today because the priest paid their fees and they graduated,” he said.
Fr Umeogu, who spoke after receiving the award, described St Theresa’s parish as a wonderful parish where he gave all to ensure that the sacraments of the church and the word of God were well honoured in that community.
His words: “I did it because l felt that the vocation call of every Christian is to obey the word of God and make use of the sacraments of the church. These sacraments are meant to lead us to God. They contain a sign of an inward grace that can make somebody prosper as well as get salvation.
“The humanitarian services award I bagged from this Catholic community clearly shows they recognized my efforts in their parish and I am happy they didn’t forget what I did. It is really the sign of their love for me.”
On the reasons for his humanitarian services, the priest said there is no gain in deceiving and victimizing people or hoarding what you have, adding that one cannot live on earth forever.
“I believe in human capital development,” he said.