Let’s Pray for Nigeria’s Political Leaders “to be submissive to the will of God”: Bishop

Bishop Peter Kayode Odetoyinbo preaching during Holy Mass on Monday, September 12, day four of the 2022 second Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria (CBCN). Credit: Nigeria Catholic Network

A Catholic Bishop in Nigeria has invited the people of God in the West African nation to pray for their political leaders involved in campaigns ahead of the 2023 elections to “always turn to God”, submitting to His will.

Bishop Peter Kayode Odetoyinbo who was preaching during Holy Mass on Monday, September 12, day four of the 2022 second Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), reflected on the Gospel Reading of the day in which a Roman Centurion asked Jesus to heal his servant through His word of authority, hesitant to have Jesus under his roof.

In the encounter between Jesus and the Centurion, Bishop Odetoyinbo said, Christians are “encouraged to never cease in praying for leaders so that they may have the heart of the Centurion, to be submissive to the will of God, to be humble and always turn to God in times of difficulties and confusion, most importantly in this period campaign and elections in our country Nigeria.”

He added, “Looking at the life of the Centurion, we can see that he is a man of faith, a loving and generous man, a political figure with integrity and heroic humility.”

“The Centurion was powerful but kind; influential but caring, wealthy but generous, respected but respectful, rich but pious and godly, a commander of many servants but selfless and humble. He offered humble and selfless service to the people with all he had,” the Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Abeokuta Diocese said.


He challenged Nigerians to contribute to progress in their respective communities in the example of the Centurion, saying, “Let us be dedicated in contributing to the development and unity of our social and ecclesial community.”

The 58-year-old Nigerian Bishop who has been at the helm of the Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in June 2014 regretted the fact that “division, faction and discrimination still exists in the Church, society and families today.”

“Our selflessness in serving others with our privileged positions is an indication of our faith in God, that the One who healed the Centurion servants, will bless us more,” Bishop Odetoyinbo said September 12.

In giving to others and the community, the Nigerian Catholic Bishop continued, “we express our believe that it is the Lord who exalts, gives, blesses and has placed us in our privileged positions in the Church, society and families.”

He said that God-given gifts such as “talents, treasure, life, exalted societal and ecclesial positions, all are gifts given for us to use for others.”

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“Like the Centurion, our Christian vocation is to break down all barriers separating people; to preach, pray and work for unity. Let us seek and strengthen the unity in our ecclesial community,” the Nigerian Bishop explained in his homily during the 2022 second Plenary Assembly of CBCN that started on September 9.

In his opening remarks at official opening of the CBCN Plenary Assembly on September 11 with Holy Mass, the CBCN President, Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, spoke about insecurity in Africa’s most populous nation, saying, “We are passing through what might be deemed as the darkest chapter of our history as a nation.”

Archbishop Ugorji highlighted other challenges Nigeria is facing. He said, “Extreme poverty, soaring unemployment rate, spiraling inflation, a collapsing economy with ever increasing debt burden and worsening insecurity have combined to complicate the plight of the average Nigerian, who appears condemned to a life of intolerable hardship and undeserved misery.”

The Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Owerri Archdiocese advocated for “good governance that aims at common good” as “the best way to guarantee security” in the West African nation.

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.