, 27 July, 2020 / 9:55 PM
Reports of “pervasive corruption” and manipulations of leaders “craving for power” in Nigeria are concerns, which an Archbishop in the West African nation has voiced against, terming the trend as scandalous, mind boggling, “terribly worrisome and unfortunate.”
“The recent revelations about pervasive corruption in some government sectors are terribly worrisome and unfortunate,” Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese said Sunday, July 26 during a televised Mass at St. Agnes Parish, Wuye.
Archbishop Kaigama added, “The cost of governance in our country and the expenditures on partisan political strategies to "capture" power are scandalous in the face of a pandemic of poverty.”
In Africa, he said, “the craving for political power among politicians and even some religious leaders and the manipulations to achieve it is mind boggling.”
“In the process, there are threats to life, unjust judicial pronouncements, buying votes or electoral and security officials, promoting the dubious interests of godfathers, dealing unfairly with political opponents and when power is "captured", the accumulation of so much wealth at the expense of the ordinary people,” the 60-year-old Nigerian Archbishop lamented.
Government entities in Africa’s most populous nation have been in the spotlight over corruption allegations amid calls for investigations.
As a result, Nigeria’s National Assembly has commenced an audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), and North East Development Commission (NEDC), among other government sectors.
The country’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, suspended the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to pave way for a probe into his alleged involvement in selling assets that had been recovered during corruption investigations.
The Corruption Perception Index by Transparency International ranks Nigeria as the 146th most corrupt country out of 180 nations sampled.
As a way forward, Archbishop Kaigama sought inspiration from the request of King Solomon to God contained in the first reading Sunday, July 26.
“The lesson from this story of Solomon is that for the development and welfare of people, and to avoid promoting unjust economic structures that widen the rich-poor divide, a leader must be guided by divine wisdom, not mere intellectual knowledge,” the Nigerian Prelate reflected.
“Like Solomon, leaders, whether religious, traditional or political, should have a truly compassionate, sensitive and understanding heart,” he further reflected.
He continued, “Despite Solomon’s wisdom and the fact that the Lord appeared to him twice, his political decline came because he did not remain faithful and obedient to God in serving the interests of his people.”
“A leader guided by divine wisdom respects human life, gives each person a sense of belonging, promotes an equitable distribution of available resources, recognizes the potentials in others and brings the best out of them in the interest of the common good,” Archbishop Kaigama reflected during his Sunday homily and added, “A wise leader equally is conscious of seeking heavenly things which endure forever.”
He went on to share his reflection based on the day’s Scripture saying, “Our second reading offers us consolation by assuring us that nothing, whether calamities, violent conflicts or COVID-19 pandemic and other evils are new to God.”
“Our God can turn everything to good; God can cause leaders to minimize or eradicate the negative consequences of all these evils and calamities on people, but such leaders must first be free from corrupt practices,” the Archbishop of Abuja said referencing the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans (Rom 8:28-30).
“To us all, the kingdom of God is a treasure that is worth giving up everything in order to be part of it. By each one of us sacrificing to build a Nigeria of peace, justice and holiness, we can inherit the Kingdom of God,” Archbishop Kaigama concluded.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa