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Reflecting on the new year 2024, one of the loudspeakers in the area of Communication among our African bishops admonished everyone in his words, Let’s be a “positive change” Agents. This was contained in the New Year Message of this Nigerian Catholic Bishop sent personally to the Director of our RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY Director in his Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire office.  

Although his emphasis was largely placed on Nigeria country our research team has discovered that the sentiments, he shared in this article are present in all African countries. Therefore, our team of researchers who analyzed his message captured him saying that at the start of the New Year 2024, there is a need for the people of God in Nigeria to take an active role in changing, for the better, the situation of their country individually and collectively.

In a message shared with ACI Africa on New Year’s Eve, Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo calls upon his compatriots to “make a fresh vow” to reclaim their country by becoming agents of “positive change”.

“For the New Year 2024, and in the spirit of Christmas, I say to all Nigerians: ‘Be an agent of positive change. Nigeria is not beyond repair and losing hope is not an option,’” Bishop Badejo says. Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo of Nigeria’s Oyo Diocese. Credit: Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo

He urges Nigerians to “make a fresh vow to turn Nigeria from a country of perpetual potentialities to one with huge actualities in honest work, productivity, accountability, solidarity and discipline.”

“This can only happen if we all, government and people, work together,” the Nigerian Catholic Bishop says in his message titled, “Make A Fresh Vow: Reclaim Nigeria in 2024”.

He underscores the need for those at the helm of various societal institutions to take the lead in the “fresh vow” to contribute to positive change in Africa’s most populous nation, saying, “It must start with our leaders in politics, in the economy, in business in the academia, the media, the family, the Church and in the society and at all levels. All must refresh their determination to recreate a better Nigeria.”

The Local Ordinary of Oyo Diocese doubles as the President of the Pan African Episcopal Committee for Social Communications (CEPACS), an entity of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) highlights some of the challenges the people of God in Nigeria are facing and bemoans the seeming lack of newness at the dawn of New Year 2024

“The New Year is here again but judging from the very hard times experienced in the past decade in Nigeria hardly anything around us is new,” he says, adding, “A new year ought to bring better times but here things are only getting worse for millions.”

“Corruption and indiscipline” are among the major challenges in Nigeria that, Bishop Badejo says, “pervade practically all facets of our life in high and low places.”

He also highlights the challenges of “violence, bloodshed, fraud, stealing, injustice”, and laments that these vices “continue unabated”. Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo of Nigeria’s Oyo Diocese. Credit: Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo

“For how long will the bloodshed in Nigeria continue? For how much longer will fellow human beings eat from the dungheap right before our eyes?” he poses, and continues, “For how much longer will our educational and health institutions gasp for attention while we hypocritically desire a better future?”

Bishop Badejo bemoans selfishness among the political class, saying, “Most of those who wield power and authority continue to cater only for themselves and their friends. The poor and underprivileged languish more in poverty and deprivation with many falling into despondency.”

“In all this, the youth get even more restive and angry and clamor for a better future,” the Catholic Church leader, who expressed a “vote of confidence” in Nigerian youth in his Christmas 2023 Message says. In his analysis of the West African nation, Bishop Badejo says that “too little good is happening too slowly to alleviate the people’s sufferings” and that as a result, “millions have become beggars, living on handouts and palliatives while others simply turn to crime in various forms.” Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo of Nigeria’s Oyo Diocese. Credit: Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo

“In a country so blessed and endowed with natural, human, and intellectual resources as Nigeria, this is unacceptable and must change,” he continues, underscoring the need to alleviate the suffering of the people of God in Africa’s most populous nation. 

He adds, “We must arrest the mass murder and maiming of our compatriots of whatever tribe, by unjust aggressors and even by state agencies that are paid to protect them and be contented with cliches and patronizing statements from our leaders which achieve next to nothing.”

The Catholic Church leader, who was appointed member of the Vatican Dicastery for Communications in December 2021 calls on Nigerians to “rebuke leaders”, who do not foster the common good.

“We should no longer tolerate those in positions of authority and power who merely look on or even participate in monumental fraud and injustice, perpetrated against the very people and the commonwealth they claim to serve,” he says, adding, “We must rebuke leaders who divide rather reconcile us with one another. Leadership conducted in that manner has no legitimacy and should be rejected.”

Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo of Nigeria’s Oyo Diocese. Credit: Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo “. In 2024 Nigerians should know that life is temporary and power at any level is meant for service,” he further says, and appeals to those in positions of authority to “know that they will be judged in history and eternity by the good that they do for others and for the common good in the present.” Bishop Badejo invites Nigerians to introspection and proposes a series of questions as a guide. He says, “Let us all ask: What am I here for? What will I be remembered for?”

“The joy of every sane human being is to make as many people as possible happy, make as many lives as possible better, while we can,” he emphasizes.

The 62-year-old Nigerian Bishop, who started his Episcopal Ministry in October 2007 as Coadjutor Bishop of Oyo Diocese goes on to advocate for what he describes as “the ideals of authentic, servant-leadership” in Nigeria.

“Let 2024 be the year when we make a fresh vow of transformation to revive the ideals of authentic, servant-leadership among us, namely: honesty, accountability, selflessness, solidarity, generosity of spirit, and a sense of justice,” he says in his New Year Message shared with our reporter on Sunday, December 31. Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo of Nigeria’s Oyo Diocese. Credit: Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo.

Bishop Badejo also advocates for “authentic religion”, and cautions “all Nigerians and especially the youth” against the tendency to make “religion the scapegoat for our woes. We would all be much worse off without faith in God.”

“Every sector of society, like politics, the economy, the media, etc. unfortunately all have many charlatans and fakes operating in them. So does religion, be it Christianity Islam, or Traditional religion,” he explains.

The President of CEPACS advocates for “authentic religion”, which he describes as “a positive catalyst, a stabilizer, a force for good, for our decisions, conduct, sentiments, and relationships and has done a lot for the common good over time.

“Let us imbibe authentic religion and shun all false prophets so that we may reap full benefits of our religious sensibilities and joy and peace shall return to us, Bishop Badejo says, and wishes all “Happy New Year.”