By Lucky Isibor
Nigerian leaders have been called upon to take positions of governance as service to the people.
This call was made at weekend in Benin City by the Catholic Archbishop of the metropolitan see of Benin, His Grace, Dr. Augustine Obiora Akubueze, while delivering a homily at a Thanksgiving mass for a successful election by the Benin City Grand Board of Knights of Saint John International at the St. Albert Catholic Church, University of Benin.
Archbishop Akubueze noted that if public office seekers see the work of governance as service the problem of successful election and electoral malpractices will not arise, pointing out that problems and challenges like we are experiencing today in the county Will not arise.
“If you take the work of governance as service which it’s supposed to be, there won’t be problem of successful election and malpractices and all that if they really take it as service. But do they take it as service? I call on all of them to take positions of governance as service. Once they do that there won’t be problems like we are facing today”.
While congratulating the new executive led by the board president, Sir Sylvester Egbase, Archbishop Akubueze thanked them for offering themselves for the service of the church pointing out that ecclesiastical offices are to promote the work of God and not to reward anyone or punish anyone.
“We say thank you for offering yourself for service in the church through the Knights and Ladies of Saint John International. Ecclesiastical offices are to promote the work of God and not to reward anyone or punish anyone. Election and offices in the church is for the spread of the gospel”, the Archbishop said.
The cleric admonished the new leadership of Knights to be open to criticism and try to build consensus noting that a leader who merely informs his followers is not a good leader.
He counseled that those who disagree with them in the articulation of issues are not necessarily their enemies stressing that disagreement is neither disapproval nor a vote of no confidence. He assured that only good people disagree and sited the election of the Catholic supreme pontiff as instances of disagreement of good people, stating that the black smoke that signifies that a pope has not been elected is a disagreement among the cardinals but certainly not enmity.
In his remarks, the Grand President of the Benin Grand Board of Knights of Saint John International, Sir Sylvester Egbase thanked the Grand Spiritual Director, Most Rev. Fr. Yakubu Gowon, the out gone Grand President, Sir Anthony Ihenyen and all the delegates for a peaceful election declaring that they are all winners and no Victor no vanquish as they are all one.
While assuring that as soldiers of Christ he will lead the Knights to defend the church at all time, Sir Egbase pledged the respect and loyalty of the board and entire Knighthood to the Archbishop, Augustine Akubueze.
“I wish to reiterate that not withstanding the outcome of the election, I declare no victor, no vanquish, no vendetta. We’re all one. I make an undertaking that this Grand Board owe unconditional loyalty and ultimate respect to our local ordinary and the church. As soldiers of Christ, we will vigorously defend the church”, Egbase assured.