By Charles Igwe
Most Rev. Ishaya Audu, the Catholic Archbishop of Jos, expressed deep concerns about Nigeria’s woes 63 years after gaining independence. In his homily during the Mass celebrating Nigeria’s 63rd independence day, Archbishop Audu compared Nigeria’s development to that of other nations with similar circumstances at the time of independence.
He noted that countries like Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates, which were on a similar developmental level as Nigeria, have made significant advancements in both democracy and economic development. However, Nigeria has struggled to make substantial progress despite its abundant human and natural resources.
Archbishop Audu emphasized the need for Nigerians to appreciate their country’s blessings, particularly its vast population, which is the largest in Africa and constitutes a significant concentration of black people globally. He acknowledged Nigeria’s potential for development due to its abundant resources, favorable climate, and hardworking people.
However, he called for a renewed commitment to God and urged Nigerians to take their faith seriously. He emphasized that the fear of God and repentance are essential for the nation’s progress.
Archbishop Audu also stressed the importance of patriotism and citizen participation in nation-building. He encouraged Nigerians to engage in the political process, elect leaders responsibly, and hold elected officials accountable. He called for an integrated development program that prioritizes human rights, the Common Good, solidarity, and subsidiarity.
Additionally, the Archbishop urged the government to plan budgets that adequately compensate the working class, provide shelter and private property opportunities, and support retirees with prompt pension and gratuity payments.
In conclusion, Archbishop Audu called for a collective effort to build a better Nigeria founded on faith, patriotism, and good governance. He emphasized that the nation’s potential can be realized through the unity and dedication of its people.