Let’s Pray for Government Leadership in Nigeria Despite Limitations: Catholic Archbishop

Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins with members of the Association of Catholic Lawyers in Nigeria. Credit: Courtesy Photo

There is need to heed to the appeal that St. Paul makes in his Letter to Timothy to pray for those in leadership, applying this to Nigeria where those at the helm of the government have not met citizens’ expectations, a Catholic Archbishop in the West African nation has said.

Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins who was speaking during the celebration of the new Legal Year Mass for the Association of Catholic Lawyers in Nigeria on Sunday, September 18 was reflecting on the Second Reading of the Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time in which St. Paul appeals for prayers for all, and singles out those in position of leadership.

“We take it for granted that we must pray for one another. I am not sure it comes normally to us to pray for the government and those who rule within the government,” Archbishop Adewale during his September 18 homily.

He added, “It does not easily come to us especially if we believe that we do not have a good government in place or if the government does not meet our expectations or it falls short of carrying out its responsibilities towards the citizens.”

In spite of all the limitations of the Nigerian government, the Local Ordinary of Lagos Archdiocese in Nigeria said, “St. Paul advises us today to pray for those who exercise political power and everyone in authority.”


St. Paul appeals for prayers for those in authority because everything they do, including the decisions and policies they make, has a direct impact on those they lead, he said.

The Nigerian Archbishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in January 1998 as Bishop of Nigeria’s Abeokuta Diocese further said in reference to those in holding positions of leadership, “Our ability to practice our faith and our religion in peace and tranquility depends upon their decisions, their actions and their policies.”

“It is therefore in our best interest that we pray for those who rule,” he said.

Making reference to the plight of Christians in sections of Africa’s most populous nation, Archbishop Adewale said, “It is very true for our country Nigeria today that we need to pray that we are able to exercise our faith and religion in peace and tranquility particularly in the northern part where there are all kinds of practices that discriminate against Christianity and Christians.”

He went on to reflect on the criminal activities of Boko Haram and other bandits in the country and criticized the government not doing enough to bring the perpetrators of the crimes to book.

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He made reference to last month's report on the arrest of some suspects of the Pentecost Sunday Attack on St. Francis Xavier Owo Catholic Parish of Ondo Diocese, saying, “We have not heard whether they are in court or anything is being done about it.”

“We must pray for those who rule us that they will do the right thing, so that we may exercise and practice our religion and faith in peace and tranquility,” the Nigerian Catholic Archbishop said.

While we have the responsibility to call out those in leadership when things are not going right under their watch, Archbishop Adewale said, “We also need to pray for them, that the light of the Holy Spirit may beam upon them so that they can govern us right, and take actions that are in the interest of the common good.”

The Nigerian Archbishop who has been at the helm of Lagos Archdiocese since August 2012 called upon Nigerians to pray for those in authority, adding, “Even if you do not like those who occupy the positions, it is in our own interest to pray for them for the light of the Holy Spirit to guide them.”

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.