By Sam Eyoboka & Olayinka Latona
LAGOS — FORMER Head of State and chairman of Nigeria Prays, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), has urged Nigerians to demand justice from their religious and political leaders, arguing that any leader who is selfish and unresponsive to the needs of his people has lost the moral legitimacy to be respected.
Delivering a lecture at the Apapa District’s annual convention of the Assemblies of God’s Church, yesterday, Gowon, who was represented by the national coordinator of Nigeria Prays, Rev. Moses Aransiola, said people had the right to demand justice from their leaders.
He said: “Church leaders and political leaders must recognise that their constituents are watching them and demanding that they be fair and even-handed in their care of public assets.Those leaders who refuse to be just should be held responsible for their actions.”
Speaking on a topic: “The righteous Governance,” Gowon lamented that whenever an African gets into a position of authority, he usually does not want to give up that position, arguing: “Africa has had many examples of ‘ president-for-life’ men who become heads of state usually through the military and then refused to step down even when they had to manipulate the people and the government to do so.”
Gowon enumerated two cardinal sins of Africans to include nepotism and tribalism, saying that those were the root of endemic corruption in the continent, adding: “To deny a person a promotion because he is not from the right tribe or not of the same religion as a leader, is great injustice and contrary to the teachings and practice of Christ.”
He urged Nigerian Christians to pray and work fervently for the much needed national transformation of the country, by being positive example, refusing to participate in corrupt practices, rebuke corruption at every level, demand justice from the leaders, and expose injustice and corruption at every level.
He said: “As one of the owners of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, you have a responsibility to insist that civil servants, elected officials and public appointees use public assets for the purpose for which they were intended. Whenever someone steals from the government, he is stealing from the citizens of the nation.
“Every citizen should become a watchdog to expose those who steal or misuse public property.”