Catholic Archbishop in Nigeria Urges Leaders “to live simply, to give up their excesses”

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama during the Palm Sunday procession at St. Michael’s Parish of the Archdiocese of Abuja. Credit: Archdiocese of Abuja/Facebook

The Catholic Archbishop of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese has called upon those in leadership positions in the West African country to embrace humility by giving up “a lot of their excesses” to benefit the needy in society.

In his Sunday, April 10 homily at St. Michael’s Parish of the Archdiocese of Abuja, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama reflected on the day’s gospel about Jesus riding on a donkey and said that it is a lesson on humility that Nigerian leaders need to learn.

“Jesus is teaching leaders to live simply, and to give up a lot of their excesses for the good of their people,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

The Nigerian Catholic Archbishop underlined the need for the vulnerable to be prioritized by the leaders through their act of humility saying that they are the victims of the leaders’ unethical rule.

“The poor and needy, largely the victims of bad and corrupt governance, are often made to suffer and sacrifice for the comfort of their leaders,” he said.


He explained in reference to the poor, “They are victims of social, economic, political exploitation and manipulation, whereas the corrupt leaders seek their personal interests instead of what brings progress, national growth and sustainable development.”

Archbishop Kaigama further called upon leader in Africa’s most populous nation to be on the forefront in showing the youth that making it in life entails working hard and embracing honesty.

“Leaders must show their followers, especially the youths, the example that wishing and dreaming big alone are not enough to make them who they want to become; they can only achieve this through hard work and honesty,” he said.

The Local Ordinary of Abuja Archdiocese likened the suffering of Nigerians to that of the “suffering Servant of Yahweh” in the Bible and said that the people of God in the West African country are asking God the same questions Jesus asked while on the cross.

“Like the suffering Servant of Yahweh in today’s readings, the innocent women, children and all the vulnerable people, the victims of kidnapping, banditry, and Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria are crying and asking, ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken us?’ It is the same cry in the hearts of many Nigerian youths and students, forced to stay home due to no fault of theirs,” he said.

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Archbishop Kaigama encouraged the people of God in Nigeria to forge on despite their suffering, saying that they will one day come out victorious through God’s grace.

He further urged Nigerians to establish and maintain a relationship with the person of Jesus Christ as a way forward towards experiencing true happiness and meaning to life.

Making reference to the gospel of John about God loving the world to the extent of giving His only son, Archbishop Kaigama called upon Christians to emulate the same love and render services to the poor.

“The undefiled and unconditional love Jesus showed us is the same love we are to show to the poor, the lowly, the marginalized and the less privileged in our society,” he said. 

He added that the suffering and death of Jesus is enough pointer to Christians that suffering is part of life. He said that when Christians suffer, they should not conclude that God has forsaken them.


“The suffering we sometimes undergo is meant to help us get to where God wants us to be,” the 63-year-old Archbishop said April 10.

“Whenever we see ourselves going through some forms of suffering, let us remember that our Lord Jesus Christ had the same experience, but emerged victorious,” he said, and added, “We should unite our sufferings with his in order to also share in his glory.”

The Nigerian Catholic Church leader said that Christians should not condemn Peter’s denial, Judas betrayal and other afflictions he went through but should rather renew their commitment to stay with Jesus and endure the passion with him.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.