Presenting a keynote address at the 70th Anniversary of the National Association of Seadogs (NAS) (Pyrates Confraternity), the Catholic Bishop said he cannot say that everything is bad in Nigeria.
“I do not believe that we have reached that stage nor do I think that we shall reach that stage any time soon. The flag of the nation is still flying even though it is dirty and tattered.
“I am saying this because basic institutions are still functioning even though not at an optimal level. Bad or weak government is better than no government at all. I do not believe we have reached a state of total anarchy,” he said.
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He said there is the proverbial Nigerian resilience, constantly managing to survive under conditions that would appear unbearable.
“We must not forget the many Nigerians who are working hard to plug the holes and fill the gaps left by bad governance. Most of them continue to do their duty with little or no recognition or reward. I believe these are those who are still keeping the rickety system standing.
“We are hearing very wonderful news about our citizens abroad in the diaspora. They are easily now our most important foreign resources and assets, despite our just concerns about brain drain.
“Their brilliant performance gives us great hope that when our nation succeeds in organising itself well, the sky will be the limit for our citizens coming home from abroad,” he noted
The clergy stated that Nigeria has great assets of men and women who sincerely have faith in God, believe in God and do their best to do God’s will.
“That there are many charlatans in the market of religion in Nigeria should not be allowed to blind us to the positive impact of religion, Christian and Muslim and even our African traditional values in guiding the daily lives of our people,” he added.
Speaking further, Onaiyekan said there may be a few people who are in and outside of government who may be quite happy with the present situation.
He said perhaps this may be because they are personal beneficiaries of the performance of the government. “But I believe it is true to say that there is large-scale grumbling on the part of the vast majority of Nigerians.
“The ongoing political campaigns are replete with catalogues of failures of our government, even from candidates in the present ruling party. This sense of dissatisfaction and grumbling is obviously not without reason,” he said.
He said that it is certainly a major problem if people can no longer trust their government to be looking after their interests. He added that the government will need to do a lot to regain this trust which is necessary for any government to function.
Also speaking, the former Imam of Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja, Sheikh Muhammad Khalid said “if Nigerians will understand that the need to move from where we are now because we don’t deserve to be where we are now, we have to start moving again and we have a target which is the common good, Nigerians deserve that common good, Nigerians deserve to live a better life and we have all that is needed to be there.”
He said Nigerians have to commit to core values, common good and dedication, and if they are ready to do that, there is nothing that will prevent them from achieving what they intend to achieve, only if they understand that nobody will carry Nigeria forward other than Nigerians.
The NAS Capoon, Abiola Owoaje said the Pyrates Confraternity since 1957 was formed with over 60 chapters across the world has engaged in Service to Humanity.
He said since 1957 their contribution to national development through various advocacy and humanitarian projects striving for ‘the attainment of a just society’ continues to inspire hope in communities across the five continents and countries where their chapters exist.