Monday, September 28, 2015 6:29 am
Governor Dave Umahi of the eastern Nigerian state of Ebonyi, has advised the clergy not to castigate leaders from the pulpit but guide them on ways of correcting their mistakes.
He gave the advice in Abakaliki during an Interdenominational Thanksgiving Service to mark Nigeria’s 55th Independence Anniversary and celebration of 19th year of the creation of Ebonyi state.
The service was held Sunday at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Abakaliki with clergymen from various Christian denominations in the state in attendance.
Umahi noted that it would be preferable if the clergy offer words of advice to leaders, especially when they go wrong rather than berate them before the public during church services.
“Leaders in Ebonyi are always open for correction when they make mistakes; as you can reach us through many avenues even members of the state executive council.
“The government has been receiving tremendous blessings from God by working with Rev.Fr Abraham Nwali (SSA on Religious Matters and Welfare) and you can offer words of correction to us through him,” he said.
The governor also solicited the assistance of the clergy in educating the people on the on-going demolition of illegal structures in Abaklaiki.
He said: “People build houses and construct ‘extensions’ which stretch to the roads and when we insist that the structures be removed, they say the government is wicked.
“We are not wicked but are determined to make the capital city in particular, attain the status of a real capital to compare with others in the country.
“The Bible says that more would be given to him who has much and taken from he who has little. This is the situation we are faced with in the state.
“When visitors, especially investors visit our capital city, they don’t have pity on us, but use their proposals and briefcases to take the little we have.
“The clergy should, therefore, assist us to educate the people on the need to change the city’s outlook.
“We have offered victims of the demolition places to relocate to pending the completion of the international market.’’
The governor urged the clergy and the people to pray for President Muhammadu Buhari to sustain the fight against corruption and other vices impeding the progress of the country.
He announced the donation of N5million to assist in the completion of projects embarked being upon by St. John the Evangelist Church and promised to commence the reconstruction of the road leading to the Church before Oct.10.
In his sermon, Rev. Fr Patrick-Mary Mmuo the Vicar General of Abakaliki Catholic Diocese, called on Nigerian leaders to redefine their services to the people to enable God’s will manifest in the country.
“The gift of independence can only benefit the people when both the leaders and the led cooperate in harnessing the country’s potentials for its growth and development.
“Many years before we got our freedom, we were led by some people who governed us the way they felt even though we were not inferior to them in dignity and otherwise.
“Our independence, therefore, gave us the needed freedom to conduct our own affairs and we should utilise it optimally to attract God’s blessing and favour,” he said.
The Anglican Bishop of Ikwo Diocese, Rt. Rev Kenneth Ifeneme and the state Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Emmanuel Nshii, offered prayers for the peace, unity and security of the country.