…Marks 50th priestly ordination anniversary
By Constaincia Uruakpa
The progress and development of Nigeria, as a modern state of the 21st century has been said to be inhibited by individuals and groups in the corridors of power, who exhibit insatiable greed, selfishness, heartlessness, among other flaws. This was posited by Rt. Rev. Msgr. John Aniagwu, Parish Priest, St. Leo Catholic Church Ikeja, Episcopal Vicar of Ikeja Region and Vicar General, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos at a press conference to mark his 50th priestly ordination anniversary, at St. Leo Catholic Church Ikeja, Lagos. According to Msgr. Aniagwu, the problem with Nigeria since independence in 1960 has been that of leadership. “Looking at Nigeria, I see a country that has been richly blessed by God, but has consistently underperformed in every sphere of human endeavour. Other countries suffer from natural disasters. Nigeria is a victim of leadership disaster. With the kind of leaders that we have had since independence, Nigeria does not need any other disaster”, he said. He noted that they (rulers) do not care whether the people that they govern prosper or perish, as clearly demonstrated last year, during lockdown, when palliatives and relief materials that were meant to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians were hoarded in warehouses across the country.
He said: “Those relief materials were meant for Nigerians, as they were deliberately stolen from them, by the people in government, across the length and breadth of our country. You wonder what their hearts are made of, stone or flesh.” On his vision for the future of Nigeria, he said: “Unfortunately, my vision for the future of Nigeria is a bleak one, as long as we continue to have the kind of rulers that we have had to date. They have made it abundantly clear, by their actions and utterances, that they have no intention to make the changes that are needed for Nigeria to begin the slow and painful journey, from the darkness of underdevelopment, to the bright light of a modern nation state that works. “Right now, our dear country, Nigeria is simply not working. Some people are already calling it a failed state. That may not be far from the truth. Speaking on solutions, Msgr. Aniagwu said that those in power have been unreceptive to any suggestion of change that could potentially turn the fortunes of the country around. He added that the half-hearted solutions the rulers put forward are self-serving ones that will only protect and entrench their own unmerited privileges.
He said: “Those solutions cannot in any way improve the lot of the ordinary citizens of Nigeria, from North o South, East to West. They have even succeeded in pitching us against one another, on the basis of ethnic and religious differences, such that Nigerians who are collective victims of exploitation by their rulers see and treat one another as enemies. But we are not enemies of one another. “It is those at the helm of affairs that are making us see each other as enemies. They know that if we ever sheath our swords and join forces as one, their days in power will be numbered. That is something they will never live to let happen.” Saying that the ruling class is in dire need of spiritual deliverance, Msgr. Aniagwu noted that the solution to Nigeria’s problems is prayer. “The solution that I propose may not meet with the approval of all long-suffering Nigerians. The solution is spiritual. It is simply the case that the ruling class in our country is in dire need of a spiritual deliverance.
” The cleric urged Nigerians to storm the heavens, and pray for the rulers, whom he said are possessed by demons. He prayed God to deliver the rulers from the multiple demons that currently hold them hostage, and making them unable to provide the kind of leadership that Nigeria needs. “Nigeria needs a leadership that is devoid of greed, selfishness, arrogance, insensitivity, lawlessness; a leadership that is rather characterized by justice and fair play, towards all Nigerians, irrespective of where they come from or what religion they profess, respect for the rule of law, respect for the rights of all citizens. He further prayed that God deliver Nigerian rulers from the demon of power and its abuse that tramples on the will of the people. Such that they are not permitted to choose who will govern them in free and fair elections. While glorifying God for his life’s journey and looking forward for grace and favour in the years ahead, Msgr. Aniagwu thanked all the people and groups who have been his companions in the journey of life and of his calling. “I hope and pray that I can continue to count on their positive presence in my life in the future that the good Lord will still bestow on me”, he prayed. Msgr. Aniagwu was ordained on August 15, 1971 at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church, Yaba, Lagos.