The Bishop of Lokoja diocese of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Diocese), Revd Emmanuel Egbunu, has said the series of unresolved problems facing Nigeria meant that Nigeria is a failed nation.
He also accussed the leaders of keeping quiet in the face of the hardship and tribulations comfronting the common man.
Speaking at the 2019 Synod Delegate of the diocese, held at the Crowther Memorial Anglican Church, Lokoja, the clergyman appealed to the Kogi State government to urgently look into the matter of unpaid salaries which had inflicted untold hardship on civil servants.
He lamented that many things that worked in other climes had failed to work in Nigeria as corruption and other vices had eaten deeply into the fabrics of the nation.
Egbunu said it was disturbing that Fulani herdsmen that had been living in peace with the people have now turned to be their principal tormentor.
He said: “Many have described the Nigerian nation in different ways for different reasons but there is a consensus that we have fallen far short of our dreams and aspirations and so we are a failed nation. We will not contest on this platform what is obvious for all who are honest. The issues go beyond party affiliation and our multifarious sentiments of religion, ethnicity, clan, sect, gender, class, profession.
“Our integrity deficit soars at an alarming rate. We tell ourselves that everything is alright, whatever anyone else thinks. Somehow we have maintained the scandalous reputation of a propensity for mediocrity so much that whatever involves the Nigerian environment or input is viewed with much suspicion by outsiders”.
On issues affecting Kogi, the Bishop said workers and pensioners in the state had been passing through untold hardship because their salaries and pension were not being paid.
He noted that many parents could no longer pay their children’s school fees and other family obligations, appealing to the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, to do the needful in the interest of peace and welfare of the civil servants.
According to him, “Both pensioners, and civil servants should be given a sense of self worth again. May God help those in power to accomplish this.”
The bishop pointed out that at the beginning of the staff screening exercise to weed ghost workers, people applauded the concept and the need to reform the civil service, cautioning the government not to make the screening look like a mirage.
While emphasising the need for government to return missionary schools to their proprietors for appropriate rehabilitation, the clergyman said as stakeholders the church was ready to offer their services for the progress of the state.
“Our experiences have been far from pleasant, and even our magnanimity has been abused. We earnestly hope this issue will be revisited for responsible resolution” he said
Speaking on the forthcoming governorship election in the state, Egbunu urged voters to look beyond narrow interests, appealing to politicians to embrace decency and shun violence.
“The corporate interest of Kogi state is bigger than any individual or group interest. What we have seen so far in recent elections call for earnest prayers” he stated.