Protect the poor, Ex-Anambra SSG tells Catholic Knights, others
Posted by Pamela Eboh, Awka | 17 April 2017 | 2,080 times
•Ex-Anambra SSG Oseloka Obaze.
A former Secretary to the Government of Anambra State, Mr. Oseloka Obaze, has called on Knights of the Catholic Church, members of the public, and the Nigerian intelligentsia to stand in unison on behalf of the dispossessed and ill-governed in order to give them a sense of belonging.
He made the call at the 20th anniversary of the Council of Knights held at the Emmaus House in Awka.
Obaze observed that the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ should be used as a period for sober reflection on the sacrifice of Christ and His accomplishments.
He prayed for the season to prompt people to recommit themselves to loving their neighbours, and above all, being worthy servants in public and private lives.
While quoting the words of a Nigerian motivational speaker, Alex Ihama, that “leadership is a spirit that can only be lighted by purpose, guided by principles and sustained by passion,” the former SSG added that leadership does not exist in a vacuum.
In his words, “The poor and disenfranchised; the illiterate and the indigent are ever so preoccupied with eking out subsistent living that they often do not pay attention to the follies and shortcomings of leadership.
Just as you stand up to protect the faith, you must also stand up to protect the right of the poor, the needy amongst us especially, the widows, the orphans and the aged. This moral obligation cannot be shirked.
“We must transcend our collective and individual comfort zones to speak up when things go wrong or are going wrong.
“We must speak truth to power. We must not accept, for the sake of getting along and belonging or for gratuitous handouts, when governance is shoddy and does not pass the litmus test of transparency, ethics and accountability- all hallmarks of good governance.
“Governments come and go. Politicians come and go; but the society subsists as does the Church. Invariably, while the Constitution calls for the separation of Church and state, it does not by any means, foreclose on collaboration between both bodies for the betterment of our society.”
Obaze maintained that such collaboration must continue in the areas of education, healthcare delivery, social welfare, caring of the orphans and the aged.
He called for the revamping of backing social welfare scheme in the state for people who are seventy five and above.
Obaze further decried a situation where a well-intended programme is almost comatose, saying: “Yet the desired collaboration between church and state must not become acquiescence in which the leadership of the Church and even Knights of the Church and the national intelligentsia elects to shirk their moral obligation just so as to be in the good books of the political leadership.
“Church leaders who accept to be “settled” by any means abdicate their vows and moral authority.
“We must insist on the respect of our Constitution, which dictates three separate but equal arms of government – the legislative, executive and judiciary.
“Each arm must respect the remit of the other. It is folly, when wise, good men and women, indeed, when Knights pretend that the raging conflict within our various arms of government is none of their business. I beg to differ.
“Governance is every body’s business. In that context, the greater danger confronting our democracy is for our legislative houses to become mere rubberstamps for the executive branch, and for our judiciary not to enjoy financial autonomy and independence.
“Today, our country is in state of arrested development at all levels, federal, state and local. Increasingly, elected state governors deny local government officials the privilege of being elected by their own people. This is simply unacceptable and must be condemned vehemently. Furthermore,
“Governments continue to make promises that are never redeemed.
“Governments now lay claims to projects that were never undertaken or executed. The overall result is incremental retrogression. This is a fact too hard to swallow; but it remains the truth”.
Obaze further noted that there can only be good governance when there is absence of frugality, transparency and accountability.
“As the old sage and musician, Bob Marley sang: “You can fool some people sometimes, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” Despite the perception and media hype that has become the choice form of governance, there is indeed, no transparency in governance, Obaze stated.