New Year 2023 Calls Nigerians “to diligence, change of heart”: Catholic Bishop

Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo of Nigeria's Oyo Diocese. Credit: Oyo Diocese

The New Year 2023 calls on Nigerians to exercise “diligence and a change of heart”, a Catholic Bishop in the West African nation has said.

In his New Year 2023 Message shared with ACI Africa Monday, January 2, Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo invites citizens of Africa’s most populous nation to “apply all legitimate strengths and resources to snatch our country back from the threshold of total chaos.”

“The New Year 2023 in view of what the previous year has been, calls Nigerians to diligence and a change of heart,” Bishop Badejo says, and adds, “If we do not change our ways, then nothing is new in the year.”

“We simply cannot continue with a country where crime is tolerated or even rewarded and valor and virtue are punished,” the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Oyo in Nigeria further says, and continues, “We need no prophet to tell us what could happen if we don’t change.”

He poses, “How does one explain the platitude of the authorities in the face of the ongoing mayhem and bloodshed in Kaduna and Zamfara and elsewhere in the country? How does anyone justify the fact that arrested suspects of the St. Francis Catholic Church Owo in Ondo State mass murder have still not been fully identified or prosecuted? So many are the unattended and unresolved tragedies across the country.”


The Nigerian Catholic Bishop who was appointed member of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication in December 2021 further urges his compatriots to “apply all our legitimate strengths and resources to snatch our country back from the threshold of total chaos. 2023 must be that year of promise.”

Reflecting on Nigeria’s general elections scheduled for February 25, Bishop Badejo calls on the electorate to vote for altruistic political candidates.

“We have another opportunity especially through the general elections to truthfully and courageously choose leaders who will pursue our common good and not their selfish dreams,” he says in his New Year Message titled, “Nigeria 2023: No Place for Prophets of Doom”.

The Local Ordinary of Oyo Diocese who doubles as the President Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS) asks eligible voters in Nigeria to secure their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) and to “vote your own choice”. 

“I see that Nigeria will make it, once the citizens decide to live by the truth. Let us resolve firmly not to buy or sell our votes,” he further says, adding, “It is a crime before the State and a sin before God to buy or sell votes. Vote according to your conscience and experience.”

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He goes on to highlight qualities of good leaders, saying, “We must produce leaders with integrity and a good track record, who follow not the logic of the survival of the fittest, but the survival of the weakest, therefore, a nation where truth and justice will reign.”

The 61-year-old Nigerian Bishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in October 2007 as Coadjutor Bishop of Oyo Diocese invites his compatriots not to pay attention “to prophets of doom who around this time annually come up with hackneyed visions and messages of doom.”

“Better to listen more to Jesus who says: Do not be afraid, I am with you, I am the way, the truth and the life,” he says.

The duty of true prophets, Bishop Badejo explains, “is to admonish, and encourage God’s people to live righteous lives, galvanize them to do their duties, to pray for the nation and not to predict doom and destruction without redemption.”

“There is nothing wrong with faith, religion and prayer which, thank God, we have among us in abundance,” he further says, and cautions Nigerians against the temptation to “substitute prayer and religion for the opportunity to take Nigeria back from the grip of corruption, selfishness, criminality, and other evil practices.”


“We must work and pray at the same time. After celebrating Christmas so prayerfully it would really amount to unbelief to doubt that if we do our best, God will ensure Nigeria’s recovery,” Bishop Badejo says in his New Year 2023 Message shared with ACI Africa.

“Pray for God’s direction in all you do and work in that direction. Shun evil and expose it wherever you can,” Bishop Badejo says, and adds, “Let us know that evil done to the neighbor, unattended to, might eventually consume me. God forbid that such happens.” 

He continues, “We must remember as has been proven many times over, that the power of the people will always be greater than the people in power, if the people would only use that power correctly.”

The Catholic Bishop who has been at the helm of Oyo Diocese since November 2009 urges Nigerians to remember that “righteousness exalts a nation while sin destroys it.”

“The earth does not belong to the devil, so God will always have the power to make things right if only we mend our ways and do things right. Yes, there is hope, have a New Year, happier than the last,” Bishop Badejo says in his New Year Message shared with ACI Africa January 2.

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Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.