The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, Ignatius Kaigama on Sunday identified bad leadership as one of the greatest challenges facing Nigeria.
He regretted that people who have been duly elected and saddled with the responsibilities of offering service to the citizens end up exploiting poor masses and embezzling public funds.
According to him, in the face of rising food prices and the fear that next year would even be more difficult as many farmers are unable to go to farm due to fear of attacks by bandits and kidnappers, genuine leaders should be very concerned and take adequate proactive measures against hunger and starvation.
The cleric who stated these in his Homily delivered at St. Donald’s Catholic Church in Karu area of Abuja, political leaders should protect the helpless masses from violent attacks on their lives and destruction of their property.
Kaigama said, “A good leader is always compassionate. He feels the pains of his people and is ever available to them and uses all the resources in his power for their good. He or she seeks to foster the spirit of solidarity, harmonious coexistence and proper integration to achieve set goals rather than stir division and hate.
“Jeremiah was dismayed by political leaders of the time who failed to cater for the people entrusted to their care, but were rather interested more in their personal comfort, thus, exploiting and scattering the people.
“Prophet Jeremiah decried this failure of leadership, characterized by lack of vision, which led to the destruction of Judah and the taking into captivity of the people by King Nebuchadnezzar.
“Of the many challenges we face as a country, the challenge of leadership prevails. Persons who have been duly elected and saddled with the responsibilities of offering service to the teeming populace end up exploiting the poor masses and embezzling public funds meant to provide basic social amenities such as food, clothing, shelter, education, security, healthcare services and many others.
“Jeremiah’s prophecy of a virtuous branch from the descendant of David to reign as a true and diligent king found fulfillment in Jesus. In our case too, once there is life, there is hope. Even in such difficult times of political, social and economic crises,God promises to restore and heal our land.
“Today, God offers a serious admonishment to all leaders; priests as well as pastors, parents/guardians, teachers, and indeed, all who are in leadership positions to watch over those under their care with tenderness and compassion; not with negligence and indifference.
“Political leaders should protect the helpless masses from violent attacks on their lives and destruction of their property. Priests and pastors of souls should protect the faithful from the wave of erroneous teaching by promoting sound moral and doctrinal teachings.
“Parents/guardians should protect the children from domestic violence and any form of child abuse. Teachers should offer helpful guide by way of example to the younger ones. Today, leaders are challenged to have the heart of Jesus; to exercise authority with fidelity and responsibility; like Jesus, to empty themselves of power and to empathize with the suffering of the people.
“In the face of rising food prices and the fear that next year will even be more difficult as many farmers are unable to go to farm due to fear of attacks by bandits and kidnappers, genuine leaders should be very concerned and take adequate proactive measures against hunger and starvation.”
Nigerian leaders, he said, “should break down the barriers that once divided us; pull down the walls of hatred between the different ethnic and religious groups and promote unity, peace and genuine patriotism.”