By Tony Agbugba
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins has urged all Nigerians to seek divine guidance in the quest for peace in 2023, to ensure that the New Year is free from chaos and anarchy.
According to the Archbishop, peace remains crucial and inevitable if the country hopes to reclaim its once enviable position as one of the most peaceful and also one of the fastest developing economies in the world.
In a homily delivered at the 2023 New Year Mass which was also used to celebrate the 56th World Day of Peace held at the Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos, the prelate thanked Almighty God for the gift of the New Year and charged all Nigerians to play active roles in the forthcoming general election by ensuring that they vote in only God-fearing leaders who are capable of leading the country towards the path of prosperity.
While admitting that Nigerians went through very turbulent experiences in the year 2022, Archbishop Martins noted that what the country needs now are God-fearing leaders who will wipe away the tears of the citizens.
He equally assured the people that there was nothing too difficult for God to do as He can turn around seemingly hopeless situations for good.
“We need peace in Nigeria this 2023. Without peace, the forthcoming general elections would be a task in futility. I know many parts of the country are witnessing so much insecurity. That is why our security agencies must work round the clock to secure all parts of the country and ensure that all the criminal elements are brought to book.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged that he will ensure that we have credible elections. I do not doubt that he means well. But he cannot do it all alone. We must all play our path by ensuring that we come out to vote for the right candidates and also make sure our votes count. That is a way of ensuring that our elections would be credible,” the prelate added.
He charged leaders of the various political parties to prevail on their supporters to adhere strictly to the provisions of the newly amended Electoral Act and avoid indulging in any form of electoral malpractices during the forthcoming elections.
On the recent shooting of Mrs. Bolanle Raheem by a police officer now on trial, Archbishop Martins, while condemning the act, said it was very sad that the police officer not only killed the deceased but also two of her unborn babies through his careless action on Christmas Day.
He added his voice to the clarion call for urgent police reforms, noting that such inhuman atrocities perpetuated by some men of the police force should no more be tolerated in a civilized society like Nigeria.
The New Year Mass also had in attendance the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi, Prof. Pat Utomi, the gubernatorial candidate of the ADC party, Mr. Olufunsho Doherty and his deputy Governorship candidate, Mrs. Rosemary Giwa-Amu.
It was concelebrated by the Director of Social Communications, Rev. Fr. Anthony Godonu and four other priests, including the Cathedral Administrator Very Rev. Fr Paul Ijasan.