CATHOLIC Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins has enjoined Nigerians to be optimistic and to embrace a positive mindset as they enter the New Year 2022, filled with renewed trust in God Almighty.
In his New Year message signed by the Director of Social Communications, Rev. Father Anthony Godonu, the prelate admitted that there were indeed numerous challenges that characterized the outgoing year for the country as a whole and for the majority of Nigerians.
He, however, urged Nigerians to look beyond the shortfalls and negatives of the past and approach the New Year with optimism and positive expectations.
The archbishop advised Nigerians to shun every attempt to create fear and apprehension by the predictions of doom that are being circulated in the social media space, counseling that “we should simply be full of prayers, committing all our experiences to God rather than dwell on such predictions that can only lead to depression and further mental anguish.”
He thanked God for making it possible for us to see the new year, adding “as we celebrate, let us remember our brothers and sisters who passed on during the year, thereby ending their earthly journey. We pray that their souls find lasting peace with God.
“For those of us who are still alive, let us remember the admonition of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace to us: not to fret or fear over tomorrow, but to live with the courage and belief that each day is in the hands of God, and He has the blueprint by which He will make our lives better in the coming year.
“On our part, we must do that which is right and good towards our neighbors, living in peace and harmony with everyone. We must not allow the predictions of doom and other challenges that we face to lead us question the presence of God even in our circumstances. He is able to turn around all things for good.”
Martins also sounded a note of caution for the political class in positions of leadership, particularly the executive arm of government, to be more proactive in addressing the fears being expressed by many Nigerians.
“There are very many issues plaguing the nation and agitating the minds of citizens. These call for the urgent attention of our rulers especially the Legislature and the Executive. The most pressing on people at this time is in the area of insecurity which claimed thousands of lives in the outgoing year. It is such a serious problem that Government needs to explore new and better ways of dealing with this issue in such a way that Nigerians would be assured of better security in the new year.
“Another area of concern that touches people every single day is the economy. The inflation level is too high even as the value of our currencies is nose-diving daily. We can all feel the consequences of the high inflation rate and the value of our currency that has nose-dived.
“As we begin the year 2022, the Federal Government must be take further steps to reappraise its economic policies and inject fresh ideas to cushion the effects of the harsh economy on the masses and mitigate the suffering that would arise from the projected economic challenges of the new year,” he added.
On the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic and its new Omicron strain, Martins commended the Federal Government for its efforts so far in curtailing its spread. He implored Nigerians to embrace COVID vaccination in order to reduce the rate of infection and ensure that the effects are light even if one contracts the virus, reminding all to be mindful of the presence of the pandemic as we begin the new year. “Unfortunately, we still have to battle the pandemic in this new year. Let us start each day with prayerful optimism and go about our daily activities with utmost caution and in strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocols. Thus, as we pray for divine intervention, we must also be prepared to work hard and do the needful since heaven helps those who help themselves, he said.
The Archbishop urged the government to do more in addressing the health care needs of Nigerians. He advocated for improved funding in the area of research and development in the health sector in order to buoy local production of drugs and vaccines to reduce over-reliance on foreign aid, which has become embarrassing for a nation as vast and blessed as Nigeria.
Finally, he called on President Muhammadu Buhari not to leave any stone unturned in his efforts at safeguarding the lives and properties of Nigerians in the new year and where necessary, to inject fresh personnel with first-rate minds in the top hierarchy of our security agencies.