Fiery Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, Ignatius Kaigama, on Sunday, beamed his searchlight on many Ministers of God who betray their priestly and prophetic mandate in order to please political leaders.
He also called on Nigerians to stop the practice of giving ultimatum to strangers to leave where they had been born and stayed for long saying syndrome in Nigeria holds back the nation’s development.
Kaigama also compared priests and pastures with such mentality to the biblical Amaziah who “was having a good time, wining and dining with the King”, while Prophet Amos was preaching repentance, speaking out against the luxurious lifestyle of the priests, the social injustice, economic exploitation and gross neglect of the needs of the poor by political authorities and the affluent.
“We have Ministers of God today who betray their priestly and prophetic mandate in order to please political leaders. Amaziah represents all those who benefit from the fortunes of those in power, and refuse to speak for the good of the poor, the less privileged and the downtrodden. The type of conflict between Amos and Amaziah persists even today”, he emphasised.
According to him, Amos travelled through the cities of Israel denouncing social injustice, oppression of the poor and other terrible social vices committed by religious and political leaders.
The Archbishop who stated these in his Homily delivered at Christ the King Parish in Kubwa area of Abuja, said Amaziah represented all those who benefit from the fortunes of those in power, and refuse to speak for the good of the poor, the less privileged and the downtrodden
He said, “While many “men of God” claim to be speaking the mind of God, there is a difference between those who are truly called and sent by God and those who are merely working for their stomach like Amaziah.
“Even more unfortunate is the fact that the Amaziahs have taken over the King’s’ courts today and block everyone from coming near those in public office. They are also quick to dismiss or manipulate every advice, observation or criticism that the Amos of our time offer to the Excellencies, Distinguished and Honourable leaders.
“Amaziah represents all those who benefit from the fortunes of those in power, and refuse to speak for the good of the poor, the less privileged and the downtrodden. The type of conflict between Amos and Amaziah persists even today.
“Had the father of former US President Barack Obama, been required to present an indigene certificate before settling and studying in the United States, Obama might not have been born there, not to talk of being elected to the prestigious office of the President of the United States.
“In our society where the forces of darkness seem to dominate, the dangers of materialism and secularism seem to be pervasive; incessant killings, corruption and kidnappings seem to be the new normal, there is the strong demand for more partnership, mutual support among all Nigerians, rather than exclusiveness.
“The Amaziah syndrome in Nigeria holds back our development. Very often we hear, “Go back to your State, to your tribe; here is not your land.” After having been born in a place, schooled and worked for an entire life, one is still considered a stranger and does not qualify to obtain an indigene certificate.
“Many Mayors and prominent officials of Nigerian origin hold key positions in Europe and the US today. Back home it is unthinkable to find a Nigerian holding a lucrative or influential position outside of one’s state of origin; no matter how qualified the person may be, despite what we sing in our national anthem about being bound in freedom, peace and unity.
“This “go-back-to-your-home” mentality must not infiltrate the Church and the Church must not lower her moral standards; she must always uphold Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life.
“I urge all Nigerians to work together with faith, dedication, selflessness and zeal, so that we don’t only achieve social cohesion and genuine progress, but also that our names will be written in the book of life after our earthly sojourn.”