May 29 inauguration is no time for celebration – Onaiyekan
Ahead of the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, has said it is no time to celebrate electoral victory or the defeat of political opponents.
Oniayekan, who gave the message titled ‘Let us choose life, not death (Deuteronomy 30:19)’ during the ongoing presidential inauguration interdenominational church service at the National Christian Centre, Abuja, called for spiritual reflection for the peace and prosperity of the nation.
Among those in attendance are the Vice President and his wife, Mrs Dolapo Osinabjo, and Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu.
He said, “The last election left thick clouds of acrimony that have yet to clear. This is no time for celebration of victory or defeat (of political opponents). Rather, it is time to pull our efforts together to tackle the serious challenges before us.
“For positive change to take place, we must all be ready for a sincere change of heart from the highest to the lowest level but especially at the highest level. Bare-faced boasts and empty denials cannot build the nation.
“The Lord Jesus tells us that the truth will set us free. Our nation is not in a state to rejoice. Such wide socio-economic disparity has led to widespread anger, tension and outright criminality in the land. All is not well. But all is not lost.”
According to the cardinal, as Nigerians embrace a new term of government, it should be a time to change habits of governance.
Onaiyekan stated, “Our ethnic diversity is God’s will and God’s gift that we ought to celebrate. In our emerging global world, we should be building on our long experience of living together along ethnic lines.
“Many are abandoning faith in God at great costs to humanity now and in the future. If this is to translate into a righteous nation, we must all seek the will of God for true human relations.
“Religion is good but not enough. It is useless if it does not promote good human behaviour. Religion evokes strong emotions that ought to solve the ills of our nation not compound them. Those who use it for their own selfish political intent end up destroying religion.”
The cardinal explained that the greatest gift of God to Nigerians – life itself – was in danger all over the land.
He noted that gunmen and women had been sowing seeds of destruction everywhere.
“This is the truth, not propaganda to discredit any government. We have been indulging in the highly risky game of dancing on the brink of chaos. The handwriting is on the wall for all to see.
“Frightful conspiracy theories are making the rounds on social media, shaping the minds and attitudes of Nigerians. The warnings of wise elders should not be ignored. There are many people who still believe in our ability to build a united nation under God.
“The Lord has put before us a choice to choose life or death: ‘Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.’ We pray that those whose responsibility it is to keep us safe will do their duties without compromise. May Mr President be free of unhelpful people,” he added. Punch