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Nigeria’s Political Challenges “consequences of our bad behavior”: Catholic Bishop

Bishop Godfrey Onah of Nigeria's Nsukka Diocese during the Holy Mass on the Solemnity of the Ascension 13 May 2021. Credit: Nsukka Diocese

The political challenges in the West African nation of Nigeria have been occasioned by “bad behavior,” the Catholic Bishop of the country’s Nsukka Diocese has said.

Bishop Godfrey Onah who was presiding over the Eucharistic celebration marking the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord Thursday, May 13 said that Nigeria’s political challenges can be surmounted if Christ’s love is practiced through good behavior and interpersonal relationships.

“Our political problems are consequences of our bad behavior,” Bishop Onah said in his homily at St. Theresa’s Cathedral of Nsukka Diocese, and added, “If we have any problem, it is because we are not taking seriously the directives Jesus gave us ‘Live by my commandments and teach others.’”

If the message of Jesus Christ is taken seriously, the Nigerian Bishop emphasized, “then our problems will be reduced if not completely finished.”

“Many people will tell you this country Nigeria has become too big, let us divide the country into many bits and everybody should go. If we have ten problems in this country, and without changing our lives we divide the country into twenty, we will multiply those problems into twenty,” he explained.

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Change of behavior is what Nigeria requires to surmount its challenges, Bishop Onah said, noting, “Some people think that just solving political problems will solve the problem of Nigeria. No!”

“As Christians, we should, first of all, think of changing our lives and teaching others the love we have been taught,” the 64-year-old Nigerian Bishop said.

“Let us change our ways first and other things will follow,” the Bishop who has been at the helm of Nsukka Diocese since July 2013 further said, adding, “We can convert this country but we must be ready to change.”

Christians, he went on to say, “must establish a record of discipline and honesty and transparency.” 

“May we have the courage and the joy of doing this and may we especially as Christians have the courage and the joy of sharing Christ’s love through our lives not just through our words,” Bishop Onah said during the May 13 Holy Mass. 

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In light of the West African country’s challenges, members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) recently called on the government to “be transparent with every Nigerian in the struggle to revive our economy, industrialize the nation, objectively deal with corruption and significantly reduce the high level of insecurity and unemployment.”

In their May 6 collective statement, CBCN members urge President Muhammadu Buhari to, from time to time, “address the people and give an account of the state of affairs in the country.”

The Catholic Bishops also called on the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), to be open to criticisms and not embark on any form of propaganda against Church leaders who speak for the common good.