“Nigerians deserve a new burst of hope”: Bishop in Independence Anniversary Message

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There is need for Nigerians to experience “a new burst of hope” as their country marks 62 years of independence on Saturday, October 1, a Catholic Bishop in the West African nation has said. 

In his message shared with ACI Africa on the eve of the independence anniversary, Friday, September 30, Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo says, “The numerous challenges we face need no re-enumeration. I call on all Nigerians, let us re-focus our energies on charting the new dawn ahead of us.” 

“Nigeria and Nigerians deserve a new burst of hope as we celebrate another anniversary of the country’s independence on October 1, 2022,” Bishop Badejo says.

The Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Oyo Diocese who doubles as the President of the Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS) shares some of the challenges Africa’s most populous nation is facing, including insecurity, poor infrastructure, bad governance, and the protracted strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), among others.

“Most Nigerians today are angry and frustrated by one thing or the other; the ASUU strike, insecurity, crippling economy, bad roads, poor governance etc.,” the Nigerian Bishop says.


Solving the ASUU strike “is a priority and ASUU and government must shift grounds and avoid any arm-twisting techniques that only worsen the situation,” he further says, and adds, “Government must find a way to solve this, for it is already very tragic that the universities have stayed shut for so long.”

Bishop Badejo continues, “To allow this to continue in this campaign era is to invite trouble from restive and angry youths.”

He calls upon leaders, the executive, legislature and members of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) “to get on the side of equity, truth and justice and rehabilitate this crumbling country.”

Reflecting on the country’s General Elections scheduled for 25 February 2023, the Catholic Church leader called on political candidates to “behave accordingly” as they engage in campaigns that officially kicked off on Wednesday, September 28.

“The campaign period has opened towards national elections in February 2023. All of us politicians and citizens must save Nigeria standing at this tipping point and behave accordingly,” he says.

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The 61-year-old Nigerian Bishop who has been at the helm of Oyo Diocese since November 2009 adds, “Our leaders must not suspend governance because of the campaign season. Some challenges can simply not wait for the next regime.” 

“Government must multitask and proffer solutions even as campaigns are ongoing,” he further says, adding, “Politicians must commit to non-violence and learn to disagree without being disagreeable so as not to set fire to the tinder of public disaffection all around.”

Nigerian politicians, Bishop Bajedo continues, “must sincerely embrace the rule of law and avoid double speak. Politicking must be mutually respectful and shun false and hate rhetoric which heat up the polity.”

He calls upon the electorate in the West African nation to exercise their civic duty, saying, “This is your time, seize it and demand integrity, accountability, and commitment to fair, good governance from all contestants.”

“Let all civil society organizations support the new energy for positive change which is enveloping our country, especially our youths,” Bishop Badejo who started his Episcopal Ministry in October 2007 as Coadjutor Bishop of Oyo Diocese says.


He urges Nigerians to “demand an issue-based campaign from aspiring leaders, and exercise their civic rights. This includes voting at the elections and holding elected leaders accountable after elections.” 

“We must never stop believing in a better Nigeria,” Bishop Badejo says in his message on the occasion of Nigeria’s 62nd independence anniversary shared with ACI Africa September 30.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.