The Bishop of Oyo Catholic Diocese, Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo has urged Nigerian youths, Catholics in particular, to imbibe prudence, as well as patience in all that they do, as he noted that these virtues will help them to know the steps to take and decisions to make in any situation they find themselves, at every given time. Giving this charge in a statement entitled, ‘The CYON in Oyo Catholic Diocese: Post #EndSARS Protest’ delivered at the Catholic Youths of Nigeria, CYON Oyo Diocesan meeting, Wednesday, at St. Anthony Catholic Church Ilora, Oyo State, Bishop Badejo commended Nigerian youths who came out in an orderly, purposeful and responsible manner, to demand an end to police harassment and brutality, among other vices in the counntry. Speaking on the Post #EndSARS environment, the Bishop congratulated the CYON members alongside other youths in Nigeria for the democratic and purposeful protests that was witnessed in the country.
He said: “I congratulate you along with other young people in Nigeria for the democratic and purposeful protests which Nigeria has witnessed a few weeks ago. The initial orderly, purposeful and responsible action of the youth who came out to demand an end to police brutality and violence and other vices deserves commendation. It caught Nigerian leaders by surprise and taught everyone a new lesson about the potentiality and positive power of young people. Unfortunately, the protests were marred by infiltrators and hoodlums who engaged in mayhem and destruction all over the country. However, the point of the protests was made and many people agreed that Nigeria will never be the same again.
As a result, government at all levels are now rolling out pro-youth programmes and incentives. One wonders where all that was hiding before the protest. However, now in this post-#EndSARS period, there are lessons to learn.” Reiterating on prudence being an indispensable virtue, and recalling all that happened during the #EndSARS protest, Bishop Badejo urged young Nigerians to live responsible lives, adding that the youths must never forget that power without control is destructive and dangerous, and that all protests must end in dialogue. In his words: “Young people are called to live responsible lives and can well do so! I had argued during the protests that the young people on the streets were actually ALL OF US, young or old, clergy or lay people, rich or poor.
They were disciplined and focused and represented us well. I also argued after about 10 days of the protest that it was going on for too long especially after government acceded to all the requests. I opined that the protest at that point needed to be suspended not called off, as it risked being hijacked and risked disconcerting the ordinary people, given the level of hardship and discomfort, which people had been experiencing. Unfortunately, all that we feared happened along with some deaths and destruction. May the dead rest in peace! Youths must never forget that power without control is destructive and dangerous and that all protests must end in dialogue.
That control is called prudence and it always goes hand in hand with patience. Learn to be prudent even when you are strong and dominant. It will teach you when to advance and when to withdraw, when to speak and when to listen.” While insisting that youth and experience must work together, and also reminding the youths that they alone cannot solve existing problems, Bishop Badejo said that the United States of America which is the model country for other countries has also experienced its own bouts of protests, and older generations were not discarded.
He said: “The United States of America is the model country for countries all over the world that have adopted western civilization. It suffered its own serious bout of protests also during this year with the title: Black Lives Matter. As in Nigeria many young people were involved in the nationwide protests. Look however at the ongoing elections in America. The system did not, because of the evils in society, discard the older generation. Remember that experience cannot be bought. Both Donald Trump and Joe Biden, the two American Presidential contestants are well above 70. Nonetheless history is being written and new things being accomplished there.
If Joe Biden eventually wins as it seems he will, a woman, a black one at that, will for the first time ever, become an elected Vice President in the US. The lesson is that when the chips are down, we should focus more on issues and who can best accomplish them rather than on emotions and sentiments. This is why serious-minded youths should not misinterpret or overemphasize the very welcome SOROSOKE phenomenon to mean that youths alone can solve existing problems. There are times when it is best to, as they say OFF THE MIC, at least so as to listen to others and reach a consensus.
Don’t forget that anyone who talks and talks without listening to others is either a radio set or a lunatic.” While calling on them to be positively different, he urged the youths to think out of the box and always bring their faith into play in all that they do. He added: “Around the end of the #EndSARS protest, a few voices began to ask when Oyo Diocesan Youths too will have their own protest. I wondered whether those individuals ever really asked the right questions like: To achieve what? To whom? To where? Even the protests in Lagos and Abuja were targeted at where the authorities could hear them. I wondered what authorities were meant to notice the protests in Igboho, Oke-ho or even in Iseyin.
We have eventually seen the destruction that occurred when some people now undertook the protests. However, I counselled the priests to redirect the energy of our youths to another form of protest; a prayer procession, gathering or rally. That is why I also organized the Holy hour of prayer for an End to SARS, to Corruption, to Bad Governance etc. and blessed the Holy Family Grotto, highlighting the role of families in turning society around. In other words, I ask you as Catholic youths, while you identify with what goes on with your peers in society, think out of the box and along the line of faith.
Dare to be positively different. Ask: what can we do differently to add value to these times. God hears prayers and prayers do work. Of all those who should listen to our cry, know that God is the ultimate power. So, in case you hear some people discredit prayer, do not join them, educate them that there is nothing wrong with prayer but in our misapplication of prayer.” Speaking on the oncoming Christ the King procession, Bishop Badejo asked the youths to bring their artistic energies to play, adding that with their effort and prayer, God will help turn things around in the country.
“Jesus Christ will be king. In relation to that, I invite you all to continue to play active roles in the life of the church as soldiers of Jesus Christ who lived and died for us. As we celebrate soon once again the Christ the King processions, bring your artistic energies to play to honour Christ who will have the final word in our world. Following him is the final solution to ending police brutality, corruption, bad governance, unemployment etc. I am convinced that with your effort and prayer and in his mercy, God will help us turn things around in Nigeria. Amen. Remember, as Catholic youths, always make a difference, a positive difference! May God bless you all”, he prayed.