Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "In order for a change to take place, we must all be ready for a sincere change of heart, from the lowest level to the highest, but above all at the highest levels", said Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, while delivering a message at the inter-denominational church service for 2019 presidential inauguration ceremony held at National Christian Centre, Abuja.
Speaking before President Muhammadu Buhari, re-elected in the February 23 vote, Cardinal Onaiyekan insisted on the need to tell the truth about the state of the nation, pointing the finger at the economic inequalities that undermine the fabric of the nation.
"The ranks of the poor are swelling by the day, hopeless and helpless, as they watch in frustration the affluence of the very few cruising in a different world. Such wide social economic disparity has led to anger, tension, violence and outright criminality in the land. All is not well. But all is not lost either", said the Cardinal, who accused politicians of manipulating different ethnic groups and religions for power.
"Our ethnic diversity is God’s will and gift that we ought to appreciate and celebrate", he stressed. "We should beware of those who seek to manipulate this in a game of divide and rule, for selfish interests", the Cardinal added: "In our emerging global world, we should be building on our long experience of living together across ethnic lines, if we are not to allow ourselves to be left behind in our fast developing modern world".
"Those who manipulate religion for their selfish political interest end up destroying religion and harming the nation", he warned. "Our Constitution is not perfect. But its basic provisions about freedom of religion are valid and must be scrupulously respected by all, especially those who control state instruments of coercion". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 28/5/2019)