Nigeria at 59: Our country is wounded, bleeding and dying - Cardinal Okogie

Nigeria at 59: Our country is wounded, bleeding and dying - Cardinal Okogie

- Cardinal Anthony Okogie has spoken on the state of Nigeria as the country celebrates its 59th Independence anniversary

- Okogie argued that Nigeria is in deep trouble and needs salvation to survive as a nation

- The former archbishop laments the spate of kidnapping and killings in the country

Anthony Okogie, a Nigerian Cardinal priest and former archbishop of the Catholic diocese in Lagos, has decried the spate of kidnappings, killings and corruption in Nigeria.

Okogie, in an exclusive statement sent to, said that Nigeria "is wounded, bleeding and dying having being nailed to the cross of governmental inefficiency and falsehood. We and our leaders must quit the path of deceit."

The Cardinal priest said Nigeria must admit that she is in urgent need of the therapy and all those who believe in God and who wish Nigeria well must pray and work for a better Nigeria as the country needs salvation.

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Okogie said: "We must also roll up our sleeves and work for Nigeria. We must overcome our addiction so that we can enjoy the numerous blessings with which the Almighty had endowed us as a country—our addiction to falsehood. Our allergy to truth is our greatest undoing.

"But there is no therapy for denial in addiction. Addiction requires admission if there is to be real and effective therapy. Salvation is therapy, and Nigeria must admit that she is in urgent need of the therapy that salvation is. But what will save Nigeria? What, if not truth? Our salvation begins when we begin to bear witness to the truth, when we begin to admit the truth that, 59 years after independence, instead of getting better, things are getting worse."

Okogie, while speaking on the need for democracy to be unshaken in the country, said the election process in the country needs to be reformed before the next general elections.

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"The truth is our democracy is sick unto death, perhaps dead already because men and women who have never stood up for democracy are the most vocal, the most active, and the most influential in our different political parties and in government circles. Our practice of politics needs to be clearly differentiated from criminality. Our severely defective electoral process needs to be replaced before the next elections with a process that is less prone to manipulation by money, violence and incumbency, and largely insulated from the exploitation of our ethnic and religious diversity," he said.

Okogie said the security agencies need to be trained and equipped to secure the land and its people "not just the lives of politicians, their families and their friends. It has taken us too long to fight Boko Haram. Our soldiers, young men and women, deserve adequate military equipment. So many of them have fallen unsung while putting out a fire they did not start, a conflagration caused by our dirty politics."

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Okogie also lamented about the lack of good jobs and education in the country while outlining the effects of these on the country's youths.

"The truth is, 59 years after independence, our youths see a bleak future and flee their fatherland, the land for whose freedom our founding fathers fought. No good education, no jobs, no security, our youths go in search of greener pastures, risk their lives crossing the arid and lonely desert and the mighty ocean, and end up in countries where they are dehumanized.

"Those countries know that our own political leaders desecrate our dignity. So, they have no iota of respect for bearers of Nigerian passport. Neither comfortable at home nor secure abroad, we must admit the truth if we are to be saved, for to be truthful is to be free, and to be free is to be saved."

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Meanwhile, previously reported that Elder statesman and leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Edwin Clark, has said there is nothing new in President Muhammadu Buhari's Independence Day speech.

Buhari had addressed the nation on the occasion of its 59 years independent celebration on Tuesday, October 1, expressing optimism that Nigeria will emerge stronger from its present challenges and more resilient than ever.

Clark said all that Buhari said has been heard by Nigerians before. According to him, he expected the president to dwell more on the challenge of insecurity in this country. ( -> We keep evolving to serve our readers better.

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