Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo
Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Oyo
Nigeria at 61 is a mixed bag of praise and pain, delights and delusions. The glories of Nigeria belong to God, its failures, to us human beings. Praise be to the living God. Our failures as a nation are very serious indeed but we cannot despair, because God is involved in Nigeria. He made us, we belong to him. (Rom 5:5). Once, when the world was sick and broken, when no one else could help, God sent Jesus his only son to save it (Jn 3:16). So even today, bad as things are, let our hearts, hopes and actions cry out in prayer: “God of hosts, bring us back, let your face shine on us and we shall be safe” (Psalm 80:1).
Let Nigeria, arise from the ashes of despair and say like the psalmist: “My soul is waiting for the Lord, I count on his word” (Psalm 130:5), and with the disciples to Jesus: “Lord to whom shall we go, you have the message of eternal life” (Jn. 6:68).
As things stand in Nigeria, we must all work hard to be accountable ourselves and hold our leaders accountable the gross ongoing abuse of people’s rights and social justice will require a lot of determination, work and political will to redress. Without it we cannot find the way. We cannot cut corners with fair play and equity and expect to have peace. We need to restructure our world view and archaic feudal mentality in order to see the light and truth that will lead us out of the current quagmire. We must learn to treat all according to what they deserve. We must find the necessary courage to reward excellence and punish criminality. There is still lot to cherish and salvage in Nigeria which can only be done through good leadership and uncompromising adherence to respect for human rights and the rule of law. None of this is beyond us as Nigerians. If we go to God we must come with obedient and willing hearts and hands. Obey the commandments of the Lord, the law and the prophets: “So always treat others as you would like them to treat you” (Matt 7:12). It is a golden rule that can save us. Happy Independence, Nigeria, let us arise and shine.