You’re called to serve, not exploit the people, Onaiyekan admonishes clerics

You’re called to serve, not exploit the people, Onaiyekan admonishes clerics

Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has urged clerics to avoid taking undue advantage of their followers, saying religious leaders ought to be servants of the people, not their exploiters.

He spoke, Sunday, during the ordination ceremony of five new priests at Catholic Church of the Archangels, Gaduwa, Abuja.

Onaiyekan, who noted that clerics were in short supply compared to the people, however, hinted at his looming exit from the service of the church.

He said: “Generally, in the world, clerics are not enough. So, we are glad to have more people ordained to serve as religious leaders. “Every cleric is supposed to be a servant of truth and serve the people in humility. Among clerics, there are some who are focused on looking after young people.

“We must remind them that their calling is to holiness, and sanctity of life for themselves and the people, especially the youths and children. Their mission should be to bring them nearer to God.”

He urged the new priests to focus on God to overcome temptation, especially when they work with young people.

The archbishop advised: “Keep your focus on God. You are weak but when you work with God, you become strong. Anytime you leave Him, you will fall. So live each day with the grace of God.

“Every time I preside over ordinations, I never know which will be my last, I am saying goodbye to everyone because I am already at the end (due for retirement).”



The theme of the NEC meeting was; ‘Islamization and Fulanization of Nigeria; The Role of the Church’. 

After lengthy and intensive deliberations on the theme of the meeting and the state of our Nation, Nigeria, the Council resolved on the way forward as follows:

1. That all Christians, in particular, and Nigerians in general, must pursue peace and unity in all their words actions to enhance peaceful co-existence in the nation.

2. On the agitation for the establishment of settlements by the government for ‘a tribe’ in all the states of the federation, Council strong advices the Federal Government to resist the temptation to yield to the demands by any particular tribe, religion or trade that threatens the corporate existence of Nigeria.

3. The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that Nigeria is a secular state. In line with the above provision, Council appeals to the three tiers of Government and all major stakeholders not to accord supremacy to any particular Religion over others as this may further compromise the already threatened unity of the Nation.

4. The Council views with great concern the worrisome state of insecurity across the federation and the ineptitude on the part of the law enforcement agencies of Government to take appropriate action to arrest, investigate and prosecute perpetrators of the heinous crimes. Council therefore urges all concerned stakeholders in the Criminal justice sector to rise and live up to their constitutional responsibilities.

5. Council, once again, congratulates  President Muhammadu Buhari, Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces on his 2nd term. The position of Council however, is that in the coming appointment and composition of the Federal Executive Council, the President should sincerely consider the Federal Character, the diverse ethno-cultural and Religious composition of the Federation in other to balance all interest and sensitivity of the all federating units of the Nation.

6. Finally, Council advices Christians in Nigeria to unite and speak with one voice; promote holiness and righteous; strive to deepen the faith of members in God; be vigilant and security conscious in self defense to protect life and property of members and the Church; and at all times promote the call to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, in season and out of season, to the ends of the earth..      

Thomas Folu Adekoya​​Hon National President CLCN

Sir Henry H. Yunkwap KSJI

​​National Secretary-General CLCN

Communique Committee:

1. Wilfred Lawrence Idi ​​​​-​Chairman  

2. Edoga Hon. Joseph Ozioko O KSM

3. Engr. Okafor, E. C. (KSJI)​​​

4. Hon. Abhul Imem J. A. ​​​

5. Bro. Andrew T. Njie (KSJI)​​​

6. Yohanna, A.B. Sambo​​​​

7. Akintola Vincent Akinsola Akande​​

8. Barr. Chris M. Inwang​​​​-​Secretary

Governor Ihedioha reinstitutes monthly clean-up exercise, Governor’s Prize

Governor Ihedioha reinstitutes monthly clean-up exercise, Governor’s Prize

His Excellency, Governor Emeka Ihedioha CON, has reinstituted the monthly clean-up exercise in the state. He has also reinstituted the monthly Governor’s Prize for the Cleanest Local Government Area, as well as the Cleanest Autonomous Community, Primary School and Secondary School, respectively in each LGA.

To this effect, His Excellency has approved the appointment of a Planning, Sensitization and Implementation Committee for the July, 2019 clean-up exercise as follows;

1. H.E. Dr. Ikedi Ohakim – Chairman

2. Commander, 34 Artillery Brigade – Deputy Chairman

3. Hon. Alex Emeziem – Secretary

4. Commissioner of Police, Imo State – Member

5. Chairman, State Council of Traditional Rulers – Member

6. Coordinating Chairman, LGAs – Member

7. SUG Presidents; IMSU, FUTO, Fed. Poly. Nekede, Imo State Polytechnic, AIFCE, FECOLART – Members

8. Chairman, CAN, Imo State – Member

9. Chairman, NURTW, Imo State – Member

10. Chairman, NUT, Imo State – Member

11. Chairman, NLC, Imo State – Member

12. Chairman, PFN, Imo State – Member

13. Chairman, COREN, Imo State – Member

14. Chinedu Chukwuonye – Member

15. Okechukwu Opara – Member

16. Prince Eze Ugochukwu – Member

17. Rex Okoro – Member

18. Mrs. Beatrice Nkwo – Member

The Committee is charged with the following mandate;

1.      Source for sponsorships/Partners, including, but not limited to;

a.      Banks

b.      Hotels

c.      Construction companies

d.      Telecom companies

e.      Transporters

f.        Other businesses

2.      Organize “Ihedioha Green Volunteers”.

3.      Create and manage brand materials, publicity and media

4.      Organize and manage the evacuation of refuse and dump sites

5.      Enforce total compliance

6.      Recommend and organize Governor’s Prize

7.      Audit and handover for August committee, etc

His Excellency further directs that action should be concluded immediately on the above task.

Chibuike Onyeukwu

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor

July 15, 2019

Popular Christianity in Nigeria is not working

By: Rev. Fr. George EHUSANI Lux Terra Leadership Foundation

At a time when people imagine that I should be very proud of, and be fulfilled in my priestly ministry; when everywhere I turn people run over to meet me, and tell me that they watch my programs regularly on TV; at a time when I have become some sort of petty celebrity; it is at this time that I find myself becoming discouraged, disillusioned, distressed and feeling like giving it all up, abandoning this whole enterprise, and going to some monastery – away from all these distractions, and rather investing in my inner growth and the much-desired communion with God, through contemplative prayer and the practice of solitude.

The truth is that I have been going through some crisis on account of which I have been asking myself whether all my teaching, preaching, writing and social advocacy engagements amount to anything at all in the Nigerian setting. I observe that the Nigerian society is not changing for the better, and people are not being radically transformed in our Churches. Though we claim to be very religious, though our Churches are crowded and we host noisy worship sessions, though some of us can quote passages of the Scripture effortlessly from Genesis to Revelations, and though we host numerous night vigils and deliverance sessions, Nigerian Christians are not being transformed in any significant way, and consequently we are not equipped to transform our society for God.

The spiritual formation of most of us Christians has often left large areas of our lives more or less untouched and unredeemed. Like the iceberg which has only about 10% of its dimensions above the waters, and the remaining 90% underneath the surface, there are layers and layers of the life of the average Nigerian Christian that seems unreached by the Gospel of Christ. Like other Nigerians out there, who have never encountered Jesus Christ, and who have never benefited from the grace of baptism and confirmation, or the sustaining power of the Sacraments, Nigerian Christians live with anger and bitterness, fear and anxiety, wickedness and hatred, resentment and un-forgiveness, self-indulgence and addiction to the pleasures of the flesh, selfishness and greed, vanity and vain-glory, and we are stuck in fetishism, occultism, and primitive superstition.

Jesus says in Matthew 7:20 that “By their fruits, you shall know them.” But Christianity as a mass movement in Nigeria is not working. Popular Christianity in Nigeria which features mega Churches and a huge gathering of thousands of people, is not working. That religion characterized by the noise-making enterprise which we call prayer; the one that features regular deliverance services, multiple healing miracle crusades, so-called “powerful men of God,” dashing celebrity preachers, swaggering motivational speakers, flamboyant Gucci pastors, designer suit evangelists, jerry coil prophets, private jet owning overseers, fashionable Church choirs and trendy Gospel singers, etc.,

– that religion is not working!

Let us be honest with ourselves: Nigerians are not being transformed for Christ in any significant way. We Nigerian Christians cannot show that we are better than our forebears who never heard about Jesus Christ. With all our feverish activism and massive Churches everywhere, we cannot demonstrate that we are better than people of other religions in godliness and holiness, in love and unity, in mercy and forgiveness, in gentleness and patience, in civic discipline and social morality, and in the practice of justice and the promotion of peace. Our marriage and family lives are often not better than the marriage and family lives of others in our environment who have never heard about Jesus Christ. There is nothing to show that the rate of marital infidelity and general promiscuity among Christians is any less than what obtains in the secular society. The young people in our Churches often do not behave better than other young people in their towns and villages or in their schools and colleges.

Though we profess Christianity and are sometimes ready to go to war in “defense” of our religion, we have often remained greedy, avaricious, corrupt, undisciplined, fraudulent, adulterous, fetish, superstitious, exploitative and oppressive of the poor in our midst.

The majority of us Church-goers do not demonstrate any serious commitment to the Kingdom values and the eternal salvation that Jesus came to inaugurate with his life, death, and resurrection. Not at all. Nigerians seem to have settled for a brand of Christianity that the Apostles Peter and Paul will not recognize. We seem to be stuck with the material world and are pursuing all that promotes our physical existence with consummate passion. We seem to devote all our energies to the pursuit of this-worldly ultimate goals, and as such transcendental goals and values have little consideration in the daily choices we make in our private and public lives.

I sense that in the eyes of many who attend liturgical services at Lux Terra Chaplaincy, and in the eyes of some others who watch our programmes on television, I am often no more than an entertainer whom they watch every Sunday, as a number of my so-called fans are often not prepared to open themselves up to the transforming influence of the Gospel of Christ which I attempt to preach. True, we are not making any significant progress by way of individual or group transformation in Christ. All we seem to be doing is simply moving chairs around in a Titanic. We must come to recognise that Christianity as a mass movement has failed to make any significant impact in Nigeria and among Nigerians

In recent times I started becoming discouraged and distressed about this embarrassing reality and asking myself serious questions bordering on the purpose and meaning of my own numerous activities in the face of this sobering reality. And this is one reason why I went away on a 21-day retreat. And in the course of the retreat, I sought the face of God, trying to discern his will in my confusion. I came back from the retreat determined not to spend the rest of my active life simply oiling the wheel or servicing structures that may not deliver any goods. Yes, I came back determined not to spend the rest of my life along the path of such shallow, hollow and mediocre religiosity.

I came back convinced perhaps more than ever before that the Gospel of Christ is the most potent force for individual and social transformation. I have taken a close look at the Acts of Apostles, and seen once again how the early Christians gave loud, courageous and radical witness to the life of Jesus Christ, and I am convinced that (even in the Nigerian environment of today) with the power of the Holy Spirit poured out to the Church on Pentecost day, we can submit ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord, and He will set us on the path of authentic Christian discipleship. We must start thinking of doing a few things differently. It was Albert Einstein who said that you cannot solve a problem with the same level of consciousness that created the problem. And in education, I learned that if one has been teaching a class for a long time and they keep failing, it is either that all the students are idiots, or the teacher needs to re-examine his methodology. So we need to stop for a moment and ask ourselves what this whole enterprise of going to Church in Nigeria is all about.

On my part, I want to begin to do something different. I want to commit my life anew to the Lord and to the mission of the Gospel and request those who want to journey with me to re-commit themselves and their families anew to the Lord. Yes, as Amos 3:3 says, “Do two people travel together on a journey without first agreeing?” I would like to set in motion soon some modalities and processes aimed at achieving this “agreement” among those who worship with me, to travel together along the path of a more authentic Christian life. I would like to explore the building of new Christian communities in the form of the household Churches of the New Testament times. This means that large numbers are not of primary importance in this new approach. Perhaps we could end up with no more than 20 or 30 families at the Lux Terra Chaplaincy. And that would be okay. I urge those who are interested in this enterprise to start reading something about “Christian Covenant Communities.” Perhaps a discussion on this concept will be the starting point…

Inflation drops to 11.22% in June – NBS

Inflation drops to 11.22% in June – NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has released the consumer price index, which measures inflation stating that the index dropped year on year from 11.40 per cent in May to 11.22 per cent in June.

The bureau said the June inflation rate of 11.22 per cent represents a decrease of 0.18 percentage points over the rate recorded in May.

On month-on-month basis, it said the index increased by 1.07 per cent in June 2019, noting that this is 0.04 per cent rate lower than the 1.11 per cent recorded in May.

The report reads in part, “The CPI which measures inflation increased by 11.22 percent year-on-year in June 2019.

“This is 0.18 percent points lower than the rate recorded in May 2019 (11.40) percent.”

Insecurity: Obasanjo’s letter vindicates us, PDP tells Buhari; admonishes him to hearken to voice of reason

Insecurity: Obasanjo’s letter vindicates us, PDP tells Buhari; admonishes him to hearken to voice of reason

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday said the latest open letter written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to President Muhammadu Buhari on the worsening insecurity and unrestrained bloodletting in the country, has vindicated its position and that of millions of Nigerians that Buhari had failed as the nation’s chief security officer.

The opposition party, therefore, urged President Buhari to listen to Obasanjo.

This is even as the party described the open letter as patriotic, momentous and one that “captures the apprehensions of majority of Nigerians across the board.”

In a statement signed by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party noted that President Obasanjo’s letter “reechoes its numerous cautions against the violations, insensitivity, impunity, vindictiveness, divisiveness, intolerance and dangerous sectionalism that characterise the Buhari administration and which are jeopardizing our national unity.”

PDP urged President Buhari to “read between the lines and listen to the voice of reason from well-meaning Nigerians at this moment.

The statement continued: “Our party is deeply worried that our nation, which grew in leaps and bounds in all sectors before the All Progressives Congress (APC) took over in 2015, is now dangerously sliding on all fronts under President Buhari, who has shown crass incompetence in managing our national affairs.”

The PDP maintained that had President Buhari heeded wise counsel to re-jig his parade and respect the wishes and aspirations of Nigerians in the national interest, Nigeria would not have been on this dangerous bend.

“The fact remains that President Buhari has not demonstrated the capacity to lead a nation as complex as our Nigeria. Events have shown that he cannot handle our diversities and ensure a united and equitable country that guarantees fairness, justice and space to all citizens without fear or favour.

“The PDP therefore counsels President Buhari to listen to the pulse of our nation; accept his failure and seek help from other well-meaning Nigerians so as to take back our nation from this imminent precipice.”

The party also called on all Nigerians across divides, irrespective of creed, ethnicity and political leaning, to close ranks, eschew all primordial and parochial interests and work together for the stability of the nation.

Why Obasanjo’s Letters Always Gain Relevance Among Nigerians –Ogunye

Why Obasanjo’s Letters Always Gain Relevance Among Nigerians –Ogunye

Barrister Jiti Ogunye, a constitutional lawyer and public affairs analyst,  is the Principal Counsel, Jiti Ogunye Chambers. In this interview with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI, he spoke on former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s letter and his proposed Coalition for Nigerian Movement and other issues. Excerpts:

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo in his letter to President Muhammadu Buhari asked him to honourably dismount from the horse and not bother seeking reelection in 2019. Do you think this advice should be heeded by the president?

First, I think that a lot of people are rather angry that the advice is coming from former president Olusegun Obasanjo.  They regard him as hypocritical, self-serving, holier-than-thou and overbearing bordering on dictatorship.  Some have even accused him of suffering from messianic complex, I am the best and people who have come after me don’t know anything about governance.  That is the criticism of many because those that Obasanjo arranged to succeed him in power weren’t fit for the purpose, either because they were ill, most unfortunately allegedly to Obasanjo’s knowledge when he foisted them on the party, PDP and on Nigeria being their willing campaign manager or because of lack of seriousness in an otherwise serious environment of governance.  He has been accused of being a failure on that score alone, not to talk of the policies that he himself implemented when he was in government.  Those criticising him are more or less saying that the teacher is not qualified to teach or ‘Teacher, don’t teach me nonsense’. But I have publicly argued that even if we are to look towards the Scriptures and hearken to the injunction therein which says that ‘ What you are desperate to hear from the wise and prudent, sometimes it comes from the babes and the sucklings’.  In this part of the world, the Yoruba will say that sometimes, what you are anxious to hear from the wise or from the mouth of the sane, may come from the mouth of the madman.  So for me, there is a distinction between Obasanjo the person and the message he has given.

Barrister Jiti Ogunye
Photo: Barrister Jiti Ogunye

Why do you say that?

What Chief Obasanjo has said is not what the ordinary people are now saying. Indeed, I regard him as a fantastic collator, as a person who deftly has assembled the gory facts of our national existence at this time and has delivered a message of pervading hopelessness on the country.  He has travelled through all that afflict us such as poor economic management, disastrous foreign policy, nepotism in government, worsening ethnic relation in the country, clashes between herdsmen and farmers and the  state of insecurity which is very alarming now all over the country.  We were told that Boko Haram has been degraded and technically defeated but we still see what they do. Each time they strike, government spokespersons say they are only attacking soft targets as if those soft targets are not human beings that should be protected.  Also to be mentioned is the anti-corruption war which has suffered some kind of reversal because of obvious nepotism, some people being regarded as sacred cows. So, Obasanjo has collated all these and my expectations are that government should sit down ask itself sincerely: What is Obasanjo saying? What are Nigerians saying?  What areas require urgent remediation? How do we have a more prosperous, united union for our country?  The issue of restructuring by the APC panel which they really don’t want to initially but which they are now goaded to revisiting.  In the manifesto, you promised that we are going to have devolution of powers, restructuring, state police and all that but now, they have to be reminded that it is a promise they made in their manifesto. They denied it but eventually they set up a committee which has now turned in a report to the party. So, how do you then get the government of the APC to accept these recommendations and then move the discussion forward? I think these are the things that the government should look to.

What is your perspective on the response by the FG through the Minister of Information?

The blandish throwback of economic indices and data that is usually the knee-jerk response of government won’t help in this situation.  You can throw up your economic indices and data showing that the economy is improving fantastically. You can talk about the Stock Exchange that is rated very high by western countries, all I know is that wages have not increased, people are spending more now to buy less, and things are costlier now than they were before. For those who are making comparism between locally produced rice and imported rice in terms of price to show that those imported bags of rice were costlier than the locally produced ones. Do you expect a bag of rice that is produced in Nigeria to be costlier than the one that is imported with import duties and so on?  Those are not the arguments you should throw up.  Parents find it difficult now taking care of their children. It is more difficult for people to go to school now. So, this government of Change should look at all these.  We miss the point when we just say to hell with Obasanjo and his bad verses.  Assuming Obasanjo was opportunistic in writing that letter, if there were no issues for him to write about, if this government had delivered on its promises to Nigerians, he will be sounding stupid writing those letters. The letter will not gain any resonance in the polity. In fact, Nigerians will dismiss him as somebody who has lost his mind because what he wrote in his letter is so different from the reality on ground.  But his letters always gain resonance because of what is on the ground.  The only caveat I have is that now that these analyses have been made, what is the solution?

What is your take on Obasanjo’s Coalition for Nigerian Movement?

Even if we are top take the model of the ramshackle liberal democracy we claim that we are practicing, Obasanjo’s recommendations is outside the framework of what his Coalition for Nigeria, which may then transmute into a political party and then contests election at which stage he said he will then withdraw because he wants to continue to play the role of an elder statesman having said earlier than he is done with partisan politics.  He even said in that letter that those who must be willing to participate in his conceived Coalition for Nigeria must come from all walks of life.  Given the follow-ups to that letter, we learn that politicians across the two political parties (APC and PDP) are being wooed to participate in this coalition.  That part is a path that is fraught with danger because it is a recipe for recycling those who have caused our nightmares in the last 19 years of our democracy.  As you now realise, the APC is not too different radically from the PDP. In any case, those who are in PDP before are now in APC now and some of them are giving the hint that ‘if their people asked them to go back to their home in PDP,  they will go’.  If you are asking those who are disgruntled about the Buhari administration to now find their ways into this coalition for Nigeria, what you are going to have is still chieftains of the political class  of Nigeria cohabiting in this coalition for Nigeria and then bidding for power being posed as an alternative. My own suggestion is that you have all these political parties in Nigeria and INEC is complaining now that they are unwieldy. These political parties should do some serious soul- searching realistically since they have to play mass politics and not office projects, staying in one office and issuing press statements and deluding themselves that they are mass-based political parties. Isn’t it time that they merge based on ideological affinity and political similarity. In other words, they should go back to play the APC playbook now that they still have time.  All of them must start talking to one another right now and say ‘we should be the alternative’ and then the Nigerian people can then see the alternative to the APC and PDP and not what Obasanjo is

Pope prays for migrants killed in Libyan detention center

Pope prays for migrants killed in Libyan detention center

Pope Francis prays for the migrants killed this week by an air strike on a detention center in Libya, and recalls the many victims of massacres in Afghanistan, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.

By Linda Bordoni

Pope Francis on Sunday invited the faithful to join him in prayer for the “poor, unarmed people who were killed or injured by an air strike on a detention center for migrants in Libya”.

He was addressing the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer.

A UN assessment of the attack reported that 53 people were killed in the strike, including 6 children, and that 130 others were injured.  

It also said “there are reports that following the first impact, some refugees and migrants were fired upon by guards as they tried to escape.”

“The international community, the Pope added, must not tolerate such serious events”.

He then went on to express his hope that “humanitarian corridors may be opened in an organized and concerted manner for the migrants who are most in need”.

Finally, the Pope said he wished to remember “all the victims of the recent massacres in Afghanistan, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger,” and before saying goodbye to the faithful he had a special greeting for the Eritrean community in Rome to whom he said: “I pray for your people!”

Archbishop Obinna, Oba of Benin, raise alarm over money rituals

Archbishop Obinna, Oba of Benin, raise alarm over money rituals

By Emeka Ani

Nigeria’s do or die politics and the get-rich-quick mentality among the youth have forced many into diabolic means to realize their inordinate ambitions. One of such evil means is ritual killings, either to get money or achieve success in politics.

Worried by this ugly development, a religious leader and a traditional ruler, have at different fora raised the alarm against the fiendish trend.

Preaching at Maria Assumpta Cathedral Owerri recently, the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Most Rev. Anthony J.V. Obinna noted that apart from Diala/Osu/Ohu segregation, another evil in Igboland and other parts of Nigeria is ritual killing.

“I hear some go into rituals, using human beings, human blood, seeking power from a helpless human being, from helpless goats and dogs for money and power,” he said.
Describing such rituals as wasted sacrifices, the prelate said he heard that such rituals are performed in private, public and even in official places by people who seek power and money”. He said that such diabolic acts are holding ndigbo captive.

Quoting the scripture, Archbishop Obinna asked: “What will one gain by winning the whole world and forfeit his soul”?

He attributed poverty and misery in the land to lack of wisdom, saying, that is why we have failed despite God’s richly blessing on this land.
He said Nigerians have a lot of intelligence but lack wisdom. “Intelligence is only a raw instrument that can be used for evil or for goodness.

Unfortunately, we use our intelligence more for evil than goodness. It’s only when intelligence transmutes to wisdom that goodness, justice, uprightness, honesty etc, will manifest and transform our society.

In a related development, the Benin Monarch, Oba Ewuare II has also expressed concern over the growing cases of money rituals among the youths. He warned that the behaviour which is receiving wide patronage by yahoo yahooboys, was abominable and alien to Benin customs and tradition.

Speaking at a service in Benin, the Monarch advised youths to shun money rituals, noting that there was no easy way for wealth accumulation. He said, “youths cling to the illusion that they can become wealthy by killing people or stealing female underwears for ritual purposes. They will no doubt face the consequences.”
Ewuare also warned politicians to desist from violence and other acts capable of truncating the electoral process. He also cautioned the youths not to allow themselves to be used as political thugs to cause mayhem during elections.

NLC urges FG to deepen democracy, end poverty

NLC urges FG to deepen democracy, end poverty

Photo: NLC President, Ayuba-Wabba (middle) addressing a world press conference at its headquarters on suspension of warning strike on new national minimum wage

The Nigeria Labour Congress has urged the Federal Government to deepen democractic tenets that would end current poverty and hardship in the country.

NLC’s Assistant Secretary, Information, DenjaYaqub, made this call at a Public Lecture in commemoration of the 45th Anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Republic of Cuba and Nigeria in Keffi, Nasarawa state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the event was organised at the instance of the Nigeria Movement of Solidarity with Cuba.

Yaqub noted that it was a matter for regret that the dividends of democracy was not being felt by the public, expressing concerns over imperialist tendencies in the country.

He said it was high time young persons began to think of how to  nationally change the narrative of citizen’s plight, saying the issue of privatisation of public utilities was a major concern to the organised labour.

He said Nigerian government ought to take a cue from the Cuban experience wherein they revolted against imperialism by thinking inwards for self-development and sufficiency.

He said: “What has made Cuba succeed is much more than solidarity, but an ideological commitment to move the country forward without any ethnicity, without thinking about religion or tribe.

“The problem we have now in Nigeria is ‘Where are you from’, nobody is talking about the damage capitalism has done to the country, imperialism is attacking countries, it is after the natural resources of these countries, and this affects us because our leaders lack ideas.

“We run a system that is imposed on us; public service entails that we have access to public water, electricity and education but all of these have been privatised.

“Privatisation has to do with capitalism and we must do a lot to end it; young persons should rethink and think liberation, national, and socialism for inclusive development.”

Yaqub commended the cordial relations between Nigeria and the Republic of Cuba in diverse areas of health, history, education and ideological commitment.

Prof. Jonathan Ayuba, Dean, School of Postgraduate Studies, Nasarawa State University, highlighted historical relationship between Nigeria and Cuba.

He said African countries ought to stand in full solidarity against the present issues of media repression, social injustices and economic imbalances in the Cuban republic, following its role in liberation of some countries in the region.

Ayuba pledged the commitment of the university in supporting the goal of ending injustice in the region, saying the collaboration was a two-way benefit for both countries.

Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof Suleiman Mohammed, called on the Cuban Government to support the institution in the construction of its College of medicine, highlighting their achievements in world class experience in health care delivery.

On minimum wage implementation, Mohammed called on the State unions to be more responsive, by holding the executives accountable.

He added: “We need to carry the struggles to the states, they have to live up to their responsibilities, labour must ensure that the state unions do more to ensure full implementation of the national minimum wage.”

The Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria, Carlos Trejo, said the Cuban people were conscious of their cultural affinity with the African people.

Trejo said Cuba would always ensure that they shared their successes with the Nigerian people, adding that his country’s past assistance to Nigeria was devoid of any financial gains.

He said in spite of US strong opposition, Cuba would continue to maintain her strong friendships with African and Nigerians.

The ambassador said that Nigerians in Cuba were not regarded as Afro-Cubans, but as Cubans, adding that his country would never let Africa down.

Trejo said in spite of imperialist aggressiveness from United States of North America, the country had managed to achieve high political and mutual confidence within the international community. NAN recalls that the Cuba solidarity organisations from the continent centre their efforts on demanding an end to the economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by United States government on Cuba, with protests outside US embassies and consulates across the region.