Home Religion Anglican bishop blames historical, economic factors for Nigeria’s woes

Anglican bishop blames historical, economic factors for Nigeria’s woes

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The Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Awori, Rev. Akin Atere, has observed that the roots of Nigeria’s multiple problems can be traced to a complex interplay of historical, political, social, and economic factors that have shaped the country’s trajectory over the years.

Atere made this observation while delivering his charge at the second session of the 5th Synod of the Diocese of Awori, held at the Cathedral Church of St. James, Ipate Oyinbo Ota, Ogun State, on 14 June.

The theme of the synod was “Taking Root Before Bearing Fruits.”

Atere highlighted that the uneven distribution of wealth, brought about by a dysfunctional economic and social system, has resulted in “the rich getting richer and the poor poorer.”

He commended President Bola Tinubu’s efforts to revamp the nation’s economy, noting that “No doubt, some giant strides have been taken, even though most of them are too painful.”

In his extensive address on the importance of roots in human emancipation, Atere lamented that the living standard of many Nigerians has deteriorated below the poverty level.

He remarked, “Today, every commodity in the Nigerian market is beyond the reach of the average Nigerian. A situation where more than 120 million Nigerians out of a population of 220 million are wallowing in abject poverty amidst abundant human and mineral resources is shameful and unacceptable.”

Atere pointed out the paradox of Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, experiencing one of the highest levels of poverty on the continent.

He attributed part of this to the colonial period, which imposed artificial boundaries that amalgamated diverse ethnic groups, leading to ethnic tensions and a lack of national unity.

The Bishop criticized the pervasive corruption in the country, which he said has undermined the rule of law and eroded public trust in institutions.

He stated, “The prevalence of corruption has also contributed to economic stagnation, as it deters foreign investment and hampers economic growth.”

Atere noted that weak and unaccountable institutions have created a breeding ground for corruption, nepotism, and impunity among the political elite, hindering the country’s progress.

He further explained that the politicization of ethnicity and religion has exacerbated divisions in the country, making it difficult to build a cohesive national identity. Atere highlighted the ongoing challenges in the health, education, and power sectors, lamenting Nigeria’s lagging progress in these areas.

Addressing these challenges, Atere suggested, “will require comprehensive and sustained efforts to promote good governance, foster national unity, combat corruption, strengthen institutions, invest in education and healthcare, diversify the economy, and promote social inclusion.”

He urged the government to diversify the economy by investing in agriculture, manufacturing, and technology sectors, and to implement policies that attract foreign investment, improve infrastructure, and promote entrepreneurship to stimulate economic growth and create job opportunities.

He emphasized the need for policies to address “income inequalities, improve access to education and healthcare, and ensure equal opportunities for all citizens. Strengthening the legal system and promoting human rights awareness were also highlighted as essential for a just and equitable society.”

On security, Atere urged the government to enhance security agencies and engage in sustained dialogue for conflict resolution.

He advocated for community policing and addressing the root causes of insecurity, such as poverty and marginalization, noting his support for state police.

To promote unity, Atere called for policies that encourage inclusivity, dialogue, and understanding among diverse communities.

He used the synod to highlight the diocese’s achievements over the past year, including the creation of more parishes and the collaboration with Faith Comes By Hearing to translate parts of the Bible into the Awori language.

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