Catholic Archbishop Emeritus of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie, added the new generation of preachers manipulating religion for political and economic gains as part of the country’s woes.
He also said the country’s tribal, religious and other diversities were not in themselves problematic, but for a political class that would set Nigerians of one community against Nigerians of another community.
The cleric said these in his 60th independence anniversary message to Nigerians, noting that “we need to be rescued from those who would manipulate our ethnic, religious and regional differences to attain and remain in power.”
Cardinal Okogie’s message read in part: “The enemy of a Nigerian is not the Nigerian of another ethnic, religious or regional affiliation. Nigerians have a common enemy in a political class that would set Nigerians of one community against Nigerians of another community.
“After the ethnic cleansing we witnessed in Nigeria from January 15, 1966 till the end of the war on January 15, 1970, we ought to have learned our lessons.
“But it seems we and our leaders have learned little or no lesson. Our different affiliations are not our problem.
“Our problem is our failure to manage our differences, a failure which makes it impossible for us to join hands in building a more habitable Nigeria.
“Talking of manipulation of religion, we must not forget to say that Nigeria needs to be rescued from the misinterpretation of religion, the abuse of the word of God that is paraded as preaching in this country.
“True religion liberates. But Nigeria is infected by a new generation of preachers who manipulate religion for political and economic motives.
“True religion itself needs to be rescued from preachers who would preach themselves and not preach God.
“If the Nigeria political leaders and the masses truly love this country and want to see a great, strong and prosperous Nigeria, we must all answer this important question – How long can Nigeria survive without embracing the right revolution we need?
“May God bless our country and grant us a peaceful and prosperous Nation,” Cardinal Okogie prayed.