The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, His Grace, Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins, has charged the government at all levels to ensure that the welfare of every Nigerian citizen is priority their year 2018.
Archbishop Martins said that since it was the duty and responsibility of governments at all levels to provide for the welfare of its citizens, any government that is incapable of enhancing the quality of lives of the masses of its people lacks true legitimacy and does not deserve the support and confidence of the electorate.
Obviously irked by the low standard of living that persisted in year 2017 which dealt untold hardships and led to alarming illegal migration of able-bodied Nigerians to Libya and European countries, the Prelate tasked the Federal and State governments to wake up to the reality that the electorate-the citizens of this country to whom they campaigned and who voted them into power- deserve better quality of lives in the year 2018 and beyond.
In his New Year message made public through the Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Msgr. Gabriel Osu, Archbishop Martins also cautioned Nigerian politicians to desist from toying with the destiny of Nigerians, especially now that the year 2019 was in the horizon, warning once more that unless concerted effort was made to restructure the country towards the path of true federation, there may no longer be a nation called Nigeria in the near future.
“As Nigerians, we have every cause to thank God for seeing us through the difficult year 2017. We went through very challenging situations both economically and politically, yet it has pleased the Almighty God to continue to keep us as one and indivisible entity. But we must tell ourselves the gospel truth; the year 2017 was not a very happy one for most Nigerians. Many State governments failed in their responsibilities to their citizens; workers’ salaries were not paid; unemployment and insecurity were at an all-time high.
“The Federal Government too did not perform better. It is yet to deliver on many of its electoral promises, including restructuring of the country. In this New Year, we want to urge the leadership at all levels to wake up and be alive to their responsibilities. The electorate too should be more discerning. We cannot continue to tally in this wilderness of uncertainty that nudge us on the face day and night,” Archbishop Martins said.
Archbishop Martins scored the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and its subsidiaries very low for failing to provide adequate petroleum products during the festive period, thus adding to the sufferings of the already impoverished citizens of the country. He wants the Federal Government to approach the problem confronting the petroleum sector holistically by considering building new refineries rather than constantly importing refined products, even though the country is a major producer of oil.
He said: “So much money has been put into Turn-Around-Maintenance (TAM) over the years without anything to show for it. Licences have been given to private entrepreneurs over the years but we have not seen that making any impact on the lives of Nigerians. Government needs to ensure that the bottle-necks to the success of those initiatives are removed and if there are people not making it work, government should have the moral courage to remove them also.
The sort of public show of shame that we witnessed recently between the Minister of State for Petroleum and the NNPC GMD leaves more to be desired especially in a sector of the economy that is so crucial as the Petroleum sector. Such energies should be spent on working together to ensure that Nigerians enjoy the benefits of the resources with which God has blessed the nation.”
While urging all Nigerians to remain steadfast in prayers for the continuous peace and unity of the country, Archbishop Martins also called on the political class to exhibit more transparency, accountability, and selflessness in this New Year, stressing that the present hardship being experienced across the country makes it incumbent on them to re-appraise the huge cost of governance at all levels and make the necessary adjustments for the good of all.
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