On this day, in his new year message, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Dr. Olubunmi Okogie, said that Nigeria must critically address corruption in the new year to make hopes for the nation’s rehabilitation concrete. According to him, “We are aware of the plan of this new administration to wage war against corruption and indiscipline. It is our hope and prayer that it will do this in quick dispatch and restore faith, confidence and spirit of true patriotism in the citizens. Things are going from bad to worse and Nigerians are crying and showing their discontent in millions.”
He berated past leaders whom, he said, showed flashes of commitment, patriotism, purposefulness and often boast of laudable plans to win the applause of the people, but turned out to become part of the nation’s problems. Archbishop Okogie said, “The fact remains that most of them merely became part of the nation’s problems as they personally or otherwise encouraged actions that were inimical to national progress. Even worse than the wretched armed robbers and the callous hired assassins who kill for a fee are those who deliberately plan and execute economic ruin and social chaos in the nation; they are insensitive to what becomes of millions of innocent people, provided their positions are secured and their ill-gotten wealth safe in local and foreign banks. O God, deliver us from their hands.”
He said further that, “But it is wrong to become despondent. Hope, would sustain the dreams and aspirations for a better Nigeria. Besides, the current crisis is the historical price that Nigerians must pay for a better tomorrow. No nation had developed without paying this price.” He was of the opinion that to avoid paying the price twice, the government must reshape the economy. “Most of us have suddenly become lazy because of the desire to get rich quick with little or no work. Our trade union leaders help to worsen the situation through non-performance of their duty. A nation cannot achieve greatness if public institutions are riddled with dishonesty, greed, selfishness and indolence. Unless hardwork and honesty are adequately rewarded and laziness and bad behaviour made unprofitable, there can be no incentive for, nor a possibility of an effective nation building.”
He advised the clergy to preach peace and stability in the new year so that the nation could achieve meaningful development. “While we thank God tonight with true sincerity and heartfelt gratitude for all He has done for us, let us promise Him faithfully to try and make ourselves less unworthy of His infinite love and ask Him to be our light and guide throughout this year of our Lord, 1994,” he said.