. Recounts how a promising country has rapidly deteriorated
Stories By Neta Nwosu
As the Archbishop Emeritus, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie clocked 85 on Thursday, he was in no mood to celebrate even though he expressed gratitude to God for keeping him this far. The Cardinal is unhappy with the present situation of things in the country stressing that the grim state of things took roots from the military with the country deteriorating from one successive government to another. “We have a moral and religious obligation to speak in the face of injustice visited on God’s children by successive governments in Nigeria. We witnessed injustice during the First Republic. It did not get better during the first bout of military rule lasting 13 years. How can we forget the bloody coups and the war into which young military officers plunged our country, a war whose wounds are currently being reopened by mismanagement of Nigeria’s rich resources? ,” the Archbishop Emeritus of Lagos said, bemoaning Nigeria’s miscarried transition to democracy. The trigger for his statement in commemoration of his 85th birthday and 50th episcopal ordination anniversary was, Nigeria has not lived up to her promise at and since independence.
“We have had to bear witness to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in a country whose people have been subjected to maltreatment and are denied basic human amenities despite her rich natural resources, first by civilian rulers, then by military rulers, and currently again, by civilian rulers, in our democracy of tentative and half-hearted steps.” “The Second Republic was characterized by profligacy. The Lord blessed Nigeria with crude oil, unfortunately, the people of the land have not benefitted from the sales. Many public office holders act as if the land, its people and its wealth belonged to them. Nigeria’s riches are squandered while millions of Nigerians live in abject poverty, many going to bed hungry. The second civilian dispensation was interrupted by a second period of military rule with violations of fundamental human rights. Now, twenty-two years after the departure of the military, a supposedly democratic dispensation is yet to bring the dividends of democracy to the average Nigerian. “How can we forget, in the course of our history, a misguided and disastrous policy of taking over schools by the military and their civilian friends inflicted wounds on education in Nigeria? And, as we all know, when education is wounded, the society feels the pain. “Few weeks ago, on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of this administration, given the severity of the status quo of our socio-economic and political situation, it was shocking that the government claimed that the Nigerian people never had it so good and Nigerians would have reason to praise this government at the end of their tenure.