By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
The mounting cases of corruption in the country is an indication that our religious leaders have failed in their responsibility to both God and the nation, Reverend Father Godswill Agbagwa has said. Agbagwa who is a Priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, Imo state, said the country would have been much better if religious leaders had not placed greater premium on acquisition of wealth, at the detriment of their spiritual mandate.
He decried that those involved in looting of the national treasury and other forms of corruption that has reduced Nigeria to “a sleeping giant”, belong to various religious organisations, even as he stressed need for government to focus more attention on youth development programs. Addressing journalists in Abuja yesterday, the priest who recently returned from the United States of America, said he has initiated a scheme that would generate scholarships to 50 students from over 20 universities in the country.
He said the Emerging Leaders Project, EPL, is a campus-based mentoring program aimed at helping youths to build capacities, competences and character to bring positive social change to Nigeria. “I have been preaching from the pulpit for so long. This time however I decided to roll my sleeves and get into the streets and schools to fish out these young people. It is quite unfortunate that in Nigeria, we do not prepare for leadership, it just happens.
“Other countries train and prepare their future leaders. The fact however is that if nothing is done, Nigeria is going to be worst that what we are seeing today. Since my return to the country, I have been to so many universities across the federation. It will shock you to know that some of our students in the University are worst than those in Aso Rock today.
“I work with University students and I know what I have seen. I have been mingling with them. If we don’t wake-up and have a roadmap for changing the mindset of young Nigerians, then we have not seen anything yet. “The disheartening fact is that most of our political leaders have failed. Most of our religious leaders have also failed in their responsibilities to both God and the nation.
“Some of them have isolated themselves from the social crusade. Our religious leaders need to step out more and get involved in society building. They should not forget that Martin Luther was a pastor who engineered social change in the USA”, Father Agbagwa stated. He said that 10 indigent undergraduates are currently enjoying scholarships under EPL, saying the scheme ensures that 25 students are selected every year to visit schools in the United States. “Our aim in the Emerging Leaders Project is to become an incubator of leaders in Nigeria”, he added.