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Sunday, 24 January 2016

Catholic Cardinal Wants Nigeria's President To Incorporate The Support Of Religious Leaders In Anti Corruption War

Nigeria's Cardinal John Onaiyekan, pictured above, the bishop of the Abuja archdiocese of the Catholic church, has been quoted as saying that president Buhari's anti-corruption campaign will succeed only with the support of religious leaders and organizations.
The respected catholic priest was speaking at the ordination of new priests in Abuja, and called himself and other religious leaders "experts" in changing people's hearts. He even went as far as saying that the president did not need to tell religious leaders like himself to fight corruption since it was something they had been doing "in many ways." How can the cardinal prove the "many ways" in which religious leaders like him have been fighting corruption when it has only worsened with successive governments? He could have done well to list some of the "many ways" in which they have been fighting corruption, because he, like a great majority of Nigeria's politicians, is just paying lip service to the fight against corruption in public office. He should limit his 'expertise' to whatever duties the catholic church has assigned to him and forget about fighting corruption, a mandate the catholic church definitely never gave to him; and neither did Nigerians.

Cardinal Onaiyekan, was among those who led the catholic clergy walkout of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, after a pentecostal prosperity preacher, Ayo Oritsejafor, was elected its president. Mr Oritsejafor was especially close to immediate past president Goodluck Jonathan, a relationship so lucrative, it resulted in his joining the league of Nigerian pastors who owned private jets. How can the eminent Cardinal suggest we put the fight against the legendary corruption of Nigeria's political class in the hands of an equally corrupt, if not a more corrupt clergy. Nigeria's breed of christian clerics are some of the most greedy in the world, rivalled only by those in the USA, and involving them in any way in Nigeria's burgeoning anti-corruption war would deal a fatal blow to any and all efforts and progress made so far.

Many Nigerian pastors live in opulence, a direct result of government corruption since many of their congregants are high ranking civil servants, top officers in the armed forces, big government contractors, and those in the oil sector, all of whom collectively steal the Nigerian state blind in over-inflated contracts which are never carried out, or abandoned after preliminary work has been done. Other ways in which they deny the government revenue include import waivers running into millions of dollars, which many pastors and big businessmen benefit from, and also the failure to remit funds to the government coffers as seen in the failure of Nigeria's state owned oil corporation to remit up to $20 billion in 2014.

Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, a few years back, while raising funds to build a new campsite (complete with a private airstrip for his private jets) to host the multitude that grace his monthly and annual retreats, asked for a billion Naira ($5 million) each from ten people, while asking those who could give 500 million Naira, 100 million Naira, and so on, to see his personal secretary. Where does he expect honest and hardworking congregants to get such amounts of money to give to his vain project? So much for the religious leaders who have been fighting corruption.

Using the inane analogy of former president Jonathan, in which he compared corrupt politicians to goats being left alone with yams, it would be a most imprudent move to involve clerics in the anti-corruption war, the wise thing to do would be to actually give them a wide berth in this regard. These goats (clerics) must never be allowed anywhere near our precious, and scarce, yams.

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