By Akubuenyi Precious

Rev Fr Justin Dike, Priest in charge of St Micheal’s Apostolate, Akabo in Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State who will soon celebrate the silver jubilee of his ordination as a catholic priest, has expressed concern over the deteriorating State of affairs in the country which, according to him was occasioned by poor, inept and purposeless leadership that does not attach importance to the welfare of the people.

Rev Fr Dike who expressed his views in a chat with this reporter at Akabo, said, ‘’we have had it so bad in this country because our leaders are neither visionary nor patriotic. That is also why the masses are suffering and gnashing their teeth as a result of hunger, lack and deprivation. That is why we are saying that it should no longer be business as usual in 2023’’.

The Holy Ghost Priest who expressed regret at the sudden turn of events in the country harped on the need for the electorate to shun all kinds of sentiments and vote for credible, visionary, honest and patriotic people with conscience who will see their emergence as call to service and not as opportunities to enrich themselves at the expense of the people who elected them.

He noted with dismay that the Nigerian civil war that lasted between 1967 and 1970 instead of uniting the country has continued to be the major cause of division as some people are still suffering the effects of the war in various ways.

Responding to a question about religion and its effects on the socio-political nature of the country, and as it affects the Muslim-Muslim ticket of a political party in Nigeria, the priest noted that one of the major problems of Nigeria as a country is lack of unity and trust, pointing out that politicians have taken advantage of religion, tribalism and sectionalism to deceive the people in a bid to actualize their selfish ambitions. ‘’Otherwise, what matters is service and people-oriented leadership that is geared towards enhancing the welfare of the people. Leadership is all about rendering service. But unfortunately religion and ethnicity have become issues because there is no unity. Political parties should respect the religious background of the country. People should learn to respect in very concrete terms, the religious background and status of the country because no group would want to be ignored, treated unfairly or be seen as being redundant, unworthy and insignificant’’.

Commenting on the escalating security challenges in the country Rev Fr Dike said, ‘’the rising level of insecurity in the South east has become very worrisome, especially the extra judicial killing of presumably innocent people. Nothing justifies the shedding of innocent blood or the unlawful arrest and detention of people, especially youths on the basis of trumped up charges. The only way out of this menace is for the government to try and engage the perpetrators of these acts of violence in dialogue’’.

‘’A situation where people have fled from their homes and communities is not only terrible but unheard of in any civilized clime. The politicians who are said to be sponsoring this havoc, those who have allowed themselves to be used as tools of destruction and carnage and the security operatives who have failed to live up to expectation should sit up, have a rethink and ask themselves necessary question’’.