By Aplefe Ojong
A Catholic priest with the St. Bernard Catholic Church, Marian Hill, Calabar, Rev. Fr. Charles Etim, has called on the governor of Cross River State, Senator Ben Ayade to do something urgently to tackle the embarrassing sight of refuse heaps along the streets of Calabar in order to return the city to its former glory.
Rev. Fr. Etim who gave the charge on the occasion of the 17th anniversary of democratic governance in Nigeria and the first anniversary of Governor Ayade in office said that the heaps of refuse in Calabar was not acceptable to a people known nationwide for their cleanliness and that the governor should work to return the city to its clean and green status.
The Catholic priest who also challenged politicians and ordinary Nigerians to eschew corruption in order to return the country to the path of glory, stating that graft has almost destroyed completely every aspect of our national life as a people, even as corruption is now inside the Church.
“Today as we celebrate our 17th years of democracy, we have a collective responsibility to restore our nation. Jesus Christ served well, presented himself as a living sacrifice and as a model of leadership. Our leaders must learn from Christ who served his people unselfishly, and every leader is supposed to be the servant of the people and not otherwise.
“Some of our leaders see the avenue of being in position of leadership as an opportunity to amass wealth for themselves at the expense of the people; an opportunity to oppress the people. If we have good leaders to manage the country, Nigeria would have been a super, super power”.
Rev. Fr. Etim explained that many persons have lost their lives in car accidents due to bad roads, in hospitals due to quack doctors, fake drugs and lack of equipment/facilities, asserting that those who swallow contract monies meant for road construction, purchasing of equipment, among others and has caused the dead of many are murderers, nothing less, adding that corruption of the best is the worst.
Taking his message from the Bible book of Luke where the Savior, Jesus Christ fed 5000 persons with two fishes and five loaves of bread, the Catholic priest said that every leader should have compassion and serve the interest of his/her people as Christ did and is still doing for us, adding that as physically under-fed persons suffer from kwashiorkor so will a man who is spiritually under-fed suffer from spiritual kwashiorkor, hence the need for people to be conscientious in their service for God.
The Catholic priest also called on the members of the State Executive Council and others to work for the interest of the people and not to frustrate the work of Ayade stressing that they should be like the apostles of Christ who did exactly what their master asked them to do on the feeding of the 5000 persons, asserting that if the apostles had decided to cut corners or keep back some of the loaves of bread and fishes, the meal should not have gone round and remained 12 baskets as recorded by the scripture.
Rev. Fr. Charles Etim commended Governor Ayade for the initiative of embarking on the signature projects and other projects in the face of meagre resources and called on Cross Riverians to avoid destructive criticisms, and the need also for the leaders to accept the truth even if such truth came from their worst enemies.
The anniversary service was attended by government officials, the political class, members of the diplomatic corps, business class, and academia, among others.
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