Abuja, 28 November, 2023 / 11:17 am (ACI Africa).
The Archbishop of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese has decried various forms of corruption in the West African country which he likens to a “ministry”, noting that people have normalized using shortcuts in getting what they want.
In his Sunday, November 26 homily on the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of The Universe at Holy Ghost Pastoral Area of the Archdiocese of Abuja, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama said there are no shortcuts to God’s Kingdom.
“There is no taking a shortcut to His Kingdom as we are used to taking shortcuts to get what we want in Nigeria, where for advertised government jobs, merit is not the consideration, because most of the spaces would have already been allocated to influential persons or even sold,” Archbishop Kaigama said.
The Nigerian Archbishop said he had encountered young Nigerians who fell victim to corruption during recruitment and said, “We seem to have created a ‘ministry’ of corruption without knowing it.”
He regretted that corruption has been normalized in homes and even learning institutions, making children believe that money or the influence that their parents have in the society is key to everything they want in life.
“To get into any choice institution, one must go through someone; to be recruited into any parastatal or security agency, you must have someone, know someone,” he said, adding that corruption in the country’s public or civil service “has become legendary.”
The Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Abuja Archdiocese since November 2019 lamented that corruption has invaded “religious circles” and government sectors entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the people.
He said that the “scandalous amounts” spent during electioneering periods and on contesting elections in courts are clear indicators of corruption and selfishness.
Archbishop Kaigama said that rather than overspending in such ways, the money could be channeled to projects such as infrastructure, food, and housing for millions of Nigerians.
In his homily, Archbishop Kaigama reflected on the Kingship of Jesus Christ and said that it cannot be compared to human kingship as it does not depend on voter choices or kingmakers.
The 65-year-old Nigerian Archbishop called the leaders of Africa’s most populous nation to emulate Christ’s kingship that he said is devoid of selfish interests and ambitions.
He said, “Christ’s leadership was one of service and selfless giving. He showed this by washing the feet of His apostles. Christ the King had no attendants, special advisers, security guards, and other paraphernalia that go with earthly leadership.”
“Our society continues to suffer many setbacks partly because of unexemplary leadership, the abuse of authority and betrayal of the public trust by leaders and their failure to address fundamental issues of poverty, hunger, insecurity”, Archbishop Kaigama said.
Unlike Christ, the Catholic Archbishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in April 1995 as Bishop of Nigeria’s Jalingo Diocese said that Nigerian leaders refuse to stand up for the marginalized and oppressed, the weak, the lost and straying citizens in the country.