As Nigeria marks 57th anniversary of its independence, Archbishop of Lagos Ecclesiastical Province (Anglican Communion), Dr Olusina Fape, says Nigeria at 57 is sick and confused because the leaders and the led are suffering from corruption and selfishness.
The clergyman also said the bloods of former Minister of Justice, Bola Ige, renowned journalists, Dele Giwa , Kudirat Abiola and Funsho Williams who were victims of assassinations, whom he described as “innocent souls” are crying for vengeance.
Fape spoke on Sunday while preaching during a 57th special independence anniversary of Nigeria held at Cathedral Church of Saint Peter, Ake, Abeokuta.
The service was attended by Deputy Governor, Chief Yetunde Onanuga, who led members of Ogun Executive Council, Speaker, Hon Suraj Adekumbi, Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, State Chief Judge, Justice Olatokunbo Olopade , service chiefs, men of the armed forces, paramilitary, political leaders and traditional rulers to the place .
The Clergyman also lampooned Nigerian leaders both past and present who he described as “corrupt and clueless” by not making Nigeria works.
Fape, expressed regret that poor health sector, bad welfare packages for retirees, dilapidated infrastructure and poor educational system have marred the country.
“We have been seeking the face of God but have not turned from our wickedness. We have shed many bloods of many innocent souls in this nation. From Dele Giwa to Bola Ige to Alfred Rewane to Funsho Williams to our Kudirat Abiola and many more. You can still count on. And the blood of these innocent ones are crying for vengeance,” Fape said.
He added: “Should we continue in sins and ask for forgiveness, absolutely no”.
He said politicians, religious leaders and community leaders are responsible for Nigeria’s “sickness”, saying the country is in dire need of selfless leader.
Fape admitted that Nigerians are prayerful, but “we are arrogant. That is why our prayers are not answered.”
He asked Nigerians to humble themselves before God, seek and pray for forgiveness.
However, Fape said Nigeria having survived civil war, military coups and counter coups and enjoys 17 years of democracy, it calls for celebration.
He said “Many nations went into civil war but never came out successfully, we went through it and by grace of God, here we are today. There have been military coups and counter coups. And eventually, we have come to the period of democratic dispensation. For 17 years unbroken and beyond, our democracy has been intact by grace of God, Halleluyah. Someone says the worst democracy is better than best military rule. There have been accusations and counter accusations, but in spite of all these the Lord has kept us together.
“As we are celebrating 57 years of our existence as an independent nation, I want to tell you my brothers and sisters, Nigeria is sick. There is no doubt about that. Then, when can we actually say a nation is sick and it is in need of healing? A nation is sick when it is confused on which path is to tread, giving the enormity of the challenges that are bedeviling it because of the clueless leaders at the helms of affairs whether past or present governments.
“Brethren, Can we say a nation is sick when the leaders know what to do but because of arrogance and selfish interest they have put those that are ruling perpetually under their feet to be trampled upon because of the power they exercise. Someone says nothing makes armed robbers different from ordinary person rather than the gun they are using.
“When is a nation sick? Is it a time like this when there is agitation for restructuring right from the South West. Is it a time like this when there is agitation for Republic of Biafra in the South East? Is it a time like this when there is environmental degradation in the South-South?
In her speech, Ononuga who represented the state Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, admitted that “all is not well with Nigeria” but cautioned that violence is not the best option to resolve those challenges.
She noted that Nigeria remains united despite challenges and therefore appealed to religious leaders to continue to preach unity and peaceful co-existence of Nigeria.
The Deputy Governor hopes that Nigeria would remain one and wax stronger as against speculation and agitation for Nigeria’s break-up.