Pray for political leaders to use public money for public good – Obi
• Efficacy of prayer is highly dependent on good conduct – Gonsum
By Neta Nwosu
Concerned about the spate of corruption and mismanagement of public funds, Mr. Peter Obi, former Governor of Anambra State has called on Christians to pray for God’s intervention in the diversion of public funds, to benefit of private interests rather than just praying for Nigeria. The Vice Presidential Candidate on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2019 elections, made the call when the members of Board of Trustees and Executives of the Catholic Women Organisation Nigeria (CWON) paid him a courtesy visit. Economists have attributed the state of the nation to pervasive corruption, lack of public accountability and the “capture” of public services and resources by the ruling elites. Nigeria’s status as an oil producing nation with an enormous revenue generation capacity from other non-oil exports, woefully contrasts with the extreme poverty of her citizens, and her decaying infrastructural and institutional development. Mr. Obi contends that prayer is good, but on the other hand, he argues that for the receipts of God’s blessings upon the country, Nigerians must at least ensure that they make deliberate effort to do God’s will, by judiciously using His gift for the good of all. According to the former Anambra State Governor, corruption is the greatest obstacle to economic and social development in Nigeria and other countries.
Thus, the economic misfortune of Nigeria has always been seen to be arising from mismanagement of the country’s resources by the political and bureaucratic (including the military) elites. He said, “Every day we are in the Church, praying for God to intervene in Nigeria. For me, God has intervened enough for Nigeria. He has done everything he needs to make Nigeria a great country. Nigeria as a nation is greatly endowed with both human and natural resources. “What we need to do now is take charge of our country and practice what God wants from us; doing the right thing. If we have to say prayer requests for God’s intervention, it should be for God to intervene on the hearts of we the political leaders, to use public money for public good. The problem of the country is political elites. And these are the people that need prayers for God to intervene in their hearts.” Mr. Obi affirmed that the combination of prayer with viable value base and good governance system will certainly put Nigeria back in her deserved place of pride in the globe.
The CWON team led by the President, Dame Mary Asibi Gonsum also had in delegation Rev. Fr. (Dr.) Benedict Okike, National Chaplain; Rev. Sr. Mary Pia Shade-Adesanyan OP, National Sister Adviser; Dame Victoria Akran, Chairman, Board of Trustees and Mrs. Esther Izokpu, 1st Vice President. The former Governor further urged Christians to live good Christian lives. “For me, it is not just enough to be a good Christian. I always say to be a Christian, you must live a life that is Christ-like, which is difficult, but you have to strive every day to do what is right anywhere you find yourself, whether it is public or private. All those little things that we preach in Church every day; you practice them. That is for me very simple. Don’t go to Church, listen to one thing and do a different thing outside. And that is the problem of the country called Nigeria. People do the opposite of what is taught in the Church, schools and everywhere.
” In another vein, Dame Mary Asibi Gonsum noted that corruption has permeated all facets of the nation, and it is for this reason that Nigerians have resorted to prayers as a panacea for their national problems. Speaking further she stated, “ However, it needs to be emphasized that the efficacy of prayer depends on some basic criteria, and this it appears, is where Nigeria’s case of extreme poverty and other socio-economic problems lies. In the first place, prayer is a special act of the virtue of religion, and it is a special communion with God. This means that prayer presupposes a personal communion with God; a relationship that challenges man to embrace virtues and jettison vices. By implication, he who is to pray, should firstly, align his or her life to the demands of God.
“Thus, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, prayer and Christian life are inseparable. Nigerians should therefore bear in mind that “transformation of the praying heart is the first response to our petition” it is therefore obvious that the efficacy of prayer is highly dependent on good conduct. “St. John Chrysostom rightly stated that it is contradictory for the man “who prays eagerly and invoke God ceaselessly… to sin”. Consequently, until Nigerians, who call to God, for instance, jettison the vices and evils that are very prevalent in their state of affairs, bribery, corruption, injustice and other unwholesome acts, the country’s fortunes may never change for the better,” CWON President stated on a final note.