Catholic Bishop harps on unity, empowerment of youth

The Catholic Bishop of Akwa Ibom, Uyo Diocese, the Most Rev. John Ayah has called on Nigerians to pray and work to keep the country together, stressing that, he would not support any move that could lead to the breaking up of the country.

The Clergy made the remark while delivering a homily on Sunday to end the annual Diocesan New Year Prayer & Fasting Assembly held at the Cardinal Ekanem Seminary Grounds, Dominic Utuk Avenue, Uyo with the theme: “Come to me heedfully, Listen that you may have life”.

He prayed to God to see Nigeria through the challenges of secession agitations, insecurity, and bad leadership, adding that what Nigerians ought to do was to find a solution to all the issues threatening its unity and growth.

“Let us pray for God to give us good leaders in this country, who have the interest of the people at heart, who think about those poor people out there who cannot feed. Let’s look at the greatness of this country and pray earnestly that God will look into our cries.

” It is not good for us to break up. When I hear America I envy them so much. No part of that country is clamouring to be a separate country. They all want to work together as a people, they are wonderful in so many ways. We too are blessed.

“Let us pray and work to keep Nigeria together. I do not subscribe that we should break away. Weare great people. When we divide, that greatness seizes to be. We pray for a better Nigeria. 2023 is a time we are not so sure of what is happening, but as we pray today we leave it in the hands of the good Lord.

“Let’s pray to God to take us back to our senses and diagnose our problems and know what is wrong with us and see how we can find solutions to our problems. Nigeria can be better, we can rebrand this country. We all know what we are going through in this country.

“Are we talking about security, or people disgruntled all over?. In the North we have Boko Haram fighting against Western education, in the West we have Yoruba groups that want their own nation; down the East, we have the IPOB. May God take us through all these trying moments.

Bishop Ayah decried the involvement of youth as young as 16 and 17years who should ordinarily be either in the classroom or learning a trade but instead are involved in heinous crimes like kidnapping for ransom thereby threatening the peace of the society.

He frowned at a situation where Nigerian politicians seeking political offices destroy the youth by deploying them as thugs to destroy their opponents, while they send their own children to Europe and America to study and become useful citizens.

“Our dear political class, think about our youths, the young people growing up. They need to be sent to school or learn a trade, they need to begin to have a meaningful life as they grow up to be adults. God will ask you why you are destroyed them.

“Leadership comes from God. If you impose yourself as a leader, and God doesn’t choose you, you cannot be happy as a leader. Look at these children who roam the streets, see them, treat them as if they were your own children, embrace them like your own, do not destroy them.

“If you open up structures that can handle these young people to learn something so that they can work and have food to eat every day, you have done so much and God will bless you. Think about the well-being of the people you lead.

” When things move smoothly God will bless us generously, whatever you sow with your hand in the ground will come out very well, you will have enough food to eat, many of the sicknesses, viruses will disappear. When God is happy with us, life will go on well with us”, the Bishop said.

And continuing, the Bishop noted that the presidential position should not be seen to be meant for any particular person, saying, “When we begin to think leadership is meant for a particular person or a particular group, that is why we are having disgruntled groups all over the country.

” If we have good rulers in the North, we have them in West, and in the South. Let leadership go round so that everybody shares in it. It is like Cake, when everybody shares in it, nobody will be angry, nobody will be disgruntled at the end of the day.

“God has blessed us in this country and each of us from our various vantage points has something to contribute to the growth and wellbeing of this country. The Igbo man has something to contribute, the man from the North has something to contribute, the man from the West has something to contribute.

“And we from this part of the country also have something to contribute and we’ll bring all these contributions to make Nigeria great. God has given us what it takes to be a great nation. We should look towards that direction and see what God has in store for us, and make Nigeria great”

Among prominent government officials and political class who graced the New year, diocesan Assembly gathering was the deputy governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo, the Secretary to State Government (SSG)Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem and Senator Albert Akpan representing Uyo senatorial district.

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