“The ranks of the poor are swelling by the day, hopeless and helpless” – Onaiyekan tells Buhari

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The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, has lamented the endemic poverty in the country, adding that more people are getting poorer and frustrated by the day.

He made this known at the inter-denominational church service for the 2019 presidential inauguration ceremony held at the National Christian Centre, Abuja on Sunday.

The respected cleric said it was disturbing that the rich were “cruising in a different world” while the poor were dying of frustration.

According to him, the Buhari presidency must in its second term address the plight of the poor as a matter of urgency.

He said, “The truth is that our nation is not in a state for us to rejoice. The ranks of the poor are swelling by the day, hopeless and helpless, as they watch in frustration the affluence of the very few cruising in a different world. Such wide socio-economic disparity has led to anger, tension, violence and outright criminality in the land. All is not well. But all is not lost either.

“Again, here we must tell the truth. For too long, we have been seeing what seems to be a policy of polarisation of the nation along primordial fault lines of ethnicity and religion. The result is that we have been indulging in the risky game of ‘dancing on the brink of chaos’. We do not know for how long we can continue to get away with this. But the handwriting on the wall is quite clear for all who care to see. It is sad that no condition is permanent: certainly not the present state of our nation.

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“The greatest of God’s gifts to us, life itself, is in danger all over our land. Gunmen and women – unknown and known – have been sowing death, destruction and misery almost everywhere. Property, well-being, harmony and peace are endangered by generalised insecurity. Before God, this is the truth and not political propaganda mounted to discredit the government. The nation must be mobilised to join hands to face the disaster looming over all of us.”

Onaiyekan stressed that, “as we embrace a new term of government, it should be for us a new opportunity to change ways and review habits of governance, for a better Nigeria. We can and we should do this. God has endowed us with resources to achieve this, resources that we unfortunately turn into curses.

“The blame game of pointing accusing fingers at each other will not carry us far. For a positive change to take place, we must all be ready for a sincere change of heart, from the lowest to highest, but especially at the highest levels.

He warned the government against “empty boast and bare faced denials of the realities around”, adding that such “cannot build the nation.”



John is a University of Lagos-trained journalist. His views are always the end products of a deliberate search for information and knowledge. He has read almost every novel written by Chinua Achebe, Jeffrey Archer and Dan Brown. He is an expert Scrabble and draughts player who is also excellent at swimming. If you know the capitals of 45 African countries by heart, then you are exactly like him.

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