Very Rev. Fr. Julius Olaitan, Dean, Lagos Island Deanery and Parish Priest, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, Victoria Island, Lagos has expressed concerns over the hardship and pains being suffered by Nigerians. The Dean of the Lagos Island Deanery called on governments at the federal and state levels to as a matter of urgency devise more pragmatic, practical and visible ways of easing the pains and general hardship which Nigerians are, at present, contending with.
He made this assertion in an exclusive chat with The Catholic Herald Weekly newspaper recently in Lagos. Stakeholders maintain that Nigeria’s poor socio-economic performance, human right abuses, widespread poverty, insecurity, corruption and lack of trust in the political system have led to disenchantment among the citizens, especially the youths.
Fr. Olaitan said, “The government must do something urgently before the people become too angry and unable to bear the pains. Government cannot continue to make promises, while politicians are receiving jumbo pays and the so-called “letters in their mailbox” to enjoy their holidays. Nigerians are not stupid; they are just being a bit patient to see if the promises will be fulfilled. The cleric offered solutions on how government can genuinely tackle the myriad of problems, including massive killings by terrorists, herdsmen and bandits; extremely high cost of living, undermining of the education system, rising tax burden on citizens and businesses, perennially poor electricity supply, decay in infrastructure among other challenges.
He proffered, “The first thing is for the government to get serious on their electoral promises. They are in office because they promised to make life better for the people. That cannot be seen at present. The people won’t wait forever on hopes that are not realisable. We need capable hands in charge of the various departments of governance in this country, not just recycling politicians and rewarding those who have contributed to electoral victory. When the country gets better, everyone will benefit.” Responding to a question on the relevance of the Catholic Church to young people who are searching for answers and do not believe in any specific religion, Fr. Olaitan noted that the relevance of the Church is tied to the relevance of God.
The Parish Priest stressed, “The Church is an institution established by God to help humans align themselves with His will and so fulfill that purpose of God— to know him, love him, serve him in the world and attain to eternal happiness. Many young people are fascinated by this, but they face a lot of distractions which are not strange. Our duty is to continue to guide them to love and by that, to God, the ultimate in all things good.”
He however urged the younger generation to look beyond the challenges of the moment and make sure that they make their marks in the areas of their strength. According to him, they are called to serve humanity and to make the best use of their talents. They must identify their talents and use them well for the good of all.