The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins, has urged the Federal and State Government to prioritise the welfare of every Nigerian citizen in 2018.
Martins made the appeal in his New Year message released on Friday.
“The low quality of lives that characterised most of the year 2017 led to untold hardships and alarming illegal migration of able-bodied Nigerians to Libya and European countries.
“The Federal and State governments should wake up to the reality that the electorate – the citizens of this country to whom they campaigned and who voted them into power – deserve better quality of lives in the year 2018 and beyond,” he said.
Martins also urged political leaders to make concerted effort to restructure the country towards the path of true federalism.
“As Nigerians, we have every cause to thank God for seeing us through the difficult year 2017.
“We went through very challenging situations both economically and politically, yet it has pleased the Almighty God to continue to keep us as one and indivisible entity.
“But we must tell ourselves the gospel truth; the year 2017 was not a very happy one for most Nigerians.
“Many state governments failed in their responsibilities to their citizens; workers salaries were not paid; unemployment and insecurity were at an all-time high.
“The Federal Government too did not perform better. It is yet to deliver on many of its electoral promises, including restructuring of the country.
“In this New Year, leadership at all levels should wake up and be alive to their responsibilities,” he said.
Martins also urged the electorate to be more discerning.
The Archbishop scored the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC and its subsidiaries low for failing to provide adequate petroleum products during the festive period.
He said this added to the sufferings of the already impoverished citizens of the country.
The cleric urged the Federal Government to approach the problem confronting the petroleum sector holistically by considering building of new refineries.
He said this was better than constantly importing refined products, even though the country is a major producer of oil.
“So much money has been put into Turn-Around-Maintenance (TAM) over the years without anything to show for it.
“Licences have been given to private entrepreneurs over the years but we have not seen that making any impact on the lives of Nigerians.
“Government needs to ensure that the bottle-necks to the success of those initiatives are removed and if there are people not making it work, government should have the moral courage to remove them also,” he said.
The cleric urged Nigerians to remain steadfast in prayers for the continuous peace and unity of the country.
He called on the political class to exhibit more transparency, accountability, and selflessness in the New Year.
Martins said that the present hardship being experienced across the country makes it incumbent on them to re-appraise the huge cost of governance at all levels and make the necessary adjustments for the good of all.