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The level of insecurity, poverty and political rascality with this government get worse daily – CARDINAL OKOGIE

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… Charges Nigerians to possess and study Nigerian constitution, in other to apply when cheated.

His Eminence Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie has raised his voice over the situation in the country in an interview granted recently. ”Over the years, we wrote several open letters to the President especially as the situation seems to deteriorate from one problem to another in our politics. The security situation in the past year has left a lot to be desired and it is necessary that we speak up from time to time so that the government will sit up and wake up to its responsibilities. The state of the nation, right now is not looking good. It is not what the people bargained for. The level of insecurity, poverty and political rascality with this government get worse daily. The government has to convince her citizens of its serious commitment to the good of the man in the street. The situation is indeed pathetic, unfortunately disappointing” he  said.

Talking about the basic rights of citizens and enforcement of the rights of citizens in the country, his eminence said that the basic rights of citizens, are enshrined in the Nigerian constitution especially our fundamental rights, which include the right of life, dignity, personal, liberty, fair hearing, freedom of thoughts and religion, free movement and association of people and what have you. “In some areas, the rights are duly honored while in some cases, freedom of association is restricted. In government, discrimination and nepotism are rampant. Today 70% of the President’s major political appointments are from his geopolitical zone. Religious affiliations are considered before objective assessment in filling up positions. The practice of Federal character showcases mediocrity instead of skill, talent and qualification, ethnic considerations are paramount.  One may asked if the judiciary is still the last hope for the masses? Police brutality has become the order of the day; young men are arrested and tortured without proof. How many people actually get fair hearing when arrested? Isn’t it usually a money affair and how well you are connected? Finally, basic rights have become recurring decimals in the election process which every candidate uses a bargaining process when elected.”

Furthermore, he charged Nigerians to remain in the struggle for their rights to be respected as the labor unions sing “solidarity forever…we shall always fight for our right”. “The church has always had that unique historical role of promoter and protector of the dignity of the human person and of those values, socio-economic political and civil, which is a reflection of those rights. Every citizen must possess a copy of Nigerian constitution, study its content and apply when cheated.” His Eminence stressed the fact that, the government is expected to have a proper policy of civic education where rights are taught and also use all the means of social mobilization to teach her citizens. Again, the church too at every level, even to the parish societies is duty bound to teach citizens about the dignity of human persons and his rights. “Thankfully, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria had this as their theme in 2017 at the first plenary meeting in Abuja where in their communique they quoted Pope John XXIII in Pacem in Terris, “these rights are…universal and inviolable and therefore altogether alienable”.

The Bishops reminded us that the human person is an end and not a means; of the right to life and that the dignity of every Nigerian should be recognized respected and recognized by all. The JDPC continues to strengthen democracy by creating awareness on citizenship right, monitoring elections and voter education.”

Reacting to the loss of hope  on the country by some citizens, he said “It’s actually difficult not to lose hope in the country given the present state of affairs. The level of despondency is high, looking at the way Nigeria is, the politicians, the moral decadence, the lack of structures, the lack of values and integrity and the bleak look of the future; it is hard not to lose hope. You can just give up on trying to be responsible. I mean, why should you pay taxes when there is no water or light? Why should you be honest when honesty does not pay and thieves are celebrated? Why should you be law abiding when Law does not try and prosecute criminals? How many herdsmen have been tried or prosecuted in the courts? Not even one! Are they spirits? But what I will say to you is… don’t give up.

Advising Nigerians in view of the forthcoming 2019 elections, he said, “the 2019 elections are here. We need genuine conversion and patriotic action. Can we ever learn our lesson in Nigeria? Will history repeat itself? Like I said in my write-up, For the sake of our Nation, our political jobbers who have hijacked the two major parties, APC and PDP, lacking in statesmanship. We have to break away from this unhelpful past and paralyzing present and embrace a future of sanity and decency in politics. For the sake of our nation, let us in 2019 PRACTICE true democracy, disband an oligarchy of kings and kingmakers free ourselves from politicians who have held us hostage for the sake of our children and their future, we have to eschew all narrow-minded politics based on ethnic and religious sentiments and try to vote right for once. Another issue is the lack of credible process and credible candidates; we don’t know what the parties have up their sleeves. We are watching and waiting. We Christians should be the hope of a dying nation. We have to stand up for Jesus at all times. God has not abandoned us, he is in control. If you can’t beat them, don’t join them rather stand out. ”

On the way forward for our country Nigeria, Cardinal Okogie observed that we need to bring honor to our country through men and women of proven integrity. We need to hold our leaders accountable for their future failures. We need to strengthen our structures like hospitals, schools, security, recreation, business, as well as uphold the constitution and its support for the freedom of worship. “Let’s hope we have a better leadership to lead us out of the Augean stables in which we find ourselves in this country. Our leaders have held us hostage from their youthful days-now they are the grandfathers, kings and kingmakers. We need a fresh set of selfless leaders. It’s not about the not too-young to run, it’s about the age, it’s about the values. Some young people may even be worse than our present leaders. The youth are the leaders of tomorrow! Our youths must strive to take their place in every sphere of the development of this country through the right channel of hard work and sincerity. Our country lacks young and industrious citizens who can make impact in growth needed to match with our counterpart in developed nations. The young people should stop allowing themselves to be used as stooges and political touts instrument of violence. I weep for the youths of this country who because of the hopelessness and helplessness of the system, have resorted to crimes and immoral habits like yahoo yahoo, internet fraud, codeine, hard drugs. Tramadol and other addictions and harmful mixtures (or you think I don’t hear of these things!) what happens when you get high on drugs after the high, you come back to reality with a heavy headache and more problems. Some of them are chasing money at all costs. They are looking for happiness in the wrong places. The youths have to be focused and turn to God and not let the evils of the world sweep them away” he concluded.