To Prosper, Nigeria Needs Change from “selfishness to selflessness”: Catholic Archbishop

Nigeria will record progress when there is change from the tendency to amass wealth for personal gain to the practice of sharing, and from “selfishness to selflessness”, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Archdiocese  has said.

In his Sunday, October 30 homily at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral of Abuja, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama reflected on the Gospel Reading of the day about the conversion of Zacchaeus, from greed to generosity, and challenged Nigerian leaders to do likewise.

“Our nation will experience greater successes when greed changes to generosity and selfishness to selflessness,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

He added, “Zacchaeus was willing to take up his social responsibility towards his neighbors and so proves for us a model of a new political culture, giving up kleptocratic tendencies for equity and fairness to hold sway.”

The conversion of Zacchaeus, Archbishop Kaigama said, should “be a guide for ready reference for our leaders who have for long deprived the poor so much.”


He added that the conversion of the tax collector is “a call to mindfulness in our nation, where large sums of money meant for the public good are stolen, misappropriated and diverted by those in political offices and public service.”

Archbishop Kaigama who wished for an end to financial crimes and other criminal activities in Africa's populous nation said that the true change of heart should not only involve repentance of past sins but also the returning of embezzled property to rightful owners.

“We continue to hope that the financial crimes and nation crippling activities will be curbed by the relevant financial crime agencies and the recovered national assets will be put into judicious use such as building first class, well equipped and properly managed hospitals in every geopolitical zone with citizens having easy access to them,” he said.

The Archbishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in April 1995 as Bishop of Jalingo Diocese in Nigeria and has been at the helm of Abuja Archdiocese since November 2019 urged political aspirants to be prudent during the country’s electioneering period ahead of the February 2023 polls.

Any form of political coercion that involves the use of inhuman or immoral means to convince people amounts to “immature politics or politics without principles or decorum,” he said. 

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“Some people want to fight their way to power. Some apply the allure of money; some by gentle persuasion, but some, by hook or by crook. Some are so bitter that they neither forgive nor forget political wrongs even if they profess belief in God,” Archbishop Kaigama said October 30.

He added that some politicians “exclude dialogue and friendly encounters and if you dare to say a good word, a positive word, about an opposition partner, or be seen in his/her company you become their instant enemy.”

The Nigerian Catholic Church leaders cautioned political leaders in the West African country against “morbid fear and paranoid political tendencies and hypersensitivity.”

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.