Emulate Old Testament Rulers, Pray for Citizens: Catholic Archbishop to Leaders in Nigeria

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Nigeria's Abuja Archdiocese. Credit: Archdiocese of Abuja

The Archbishop of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese has called on “political and traditional” leaders in the West African nation to find inspiration in the prayer attitude of Old Testament rulers and pray for the Nigerians under their care.  

In his Sunday, October 16 homily at St. Andrew’s New Kutunku Chaplaincy of his Metropolitan See, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama posed, “Do our political and traditional leaders leave prayer to the ordinary people?”

“As Moses prayed, David prayed, Solomon prayed, the king of Nineveh prayed so should our Nigerian leaders pray and work against poverty, unemployment, hunger, flood, diseases, violence and insecurity, and our help will definitely come from the Lord,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

He made reference to the First Reading of the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time from the Book of Exodus in which Aaron and Hur supported Moses’ hands for the Israelites to have the better of the fight against the Amalekites, saying, “The prolonged prayer made by their leader guaranteed the victory of the Israelites over their enemies.”

“The people of God won through the prayer of Moses, whose hands were raised to the heavens,” the Nigerian Archbishop said, adding, “We see here the power of prayer, just as the Christians were granted victory over the Ottoman army at the battle of Lepanto through the Holy Rosary in 1571.”


Making reference to the Sunday Gospel Reading from St. Luke, Archbishop Kaigama called on Nigerians to emulate the widow who kept bothering the judge to render a just decision for her against her adversary and persist in prayer. 

“The widow was one of the marginalized in her society, an easy target of oppression and fraud as still happens in our society,” the Catholic Archbishop said, adding, “However, her disadvantaged and marginalized status did not stop her in her pursuit of justice. She stood before the unjust judge with her petition, not taking ‘no’ for an answer. Her persistence in her pursuit for justice is worthy of emulation.”

He continued, “Like the widow, many Nigerians are being oppressed or denied justice; many teachers denied improved working conditions; many doctors and nurses frustrated and frantically relocating abroad, and those workers who remain have little job fulfillment.” 

Archbishop Kaigama who started his Episcopal Ministry in April 1995 as Bishop of Nigeria’s Jalingo Diocese said the people of God in Africa’s most populous nation “should also rise on the wings of prayer no matter how frustrating and crippling our situations may be.”

He urged “all Nigerians, to persevere in prayer and to build a trusting faith in God,” and added, “Prayers should be a way of life instead of occasional moody utterances.” 

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God’s will is at work even in a corruption ridden society, so there is hope that even in the midst of systemic corruption, justice could still be brought about,” the Archbishop who has been at the helm of Abuja Archdiocese since November 2019 said.

He continued, “We cannot right every wrong, but we must never give up hope and stop working for the greater good. We are tasked to pray without ceasing as only God can bring about miraculous justice in a corrupt world, just as He alone can bring about healing in a sick and sinful world.” 

The 64-year-old Archbishop further urged Nigerians to be persistent in doing good deeds. 

He said, “Perseverance should be not only in prayer but also in doing good works; being civil and patriotic citizens; building healthy social relationships; working to heal past wounds, etc.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.