By Chikezie Ogbonna
The Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev. Callistus Onaga has called on the Federal Government and leaders of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to go back to the negotiating table and find a common ground to save the the nations education system from total collapse.
His Lordship speaking today in His 2022 Easter message, urged the nation’s academic body and the Federal government to consider the future of students and as a matter of urgency resume negotiations as the current strike has begun to have deep debilitating and harmful effect on students.
Read the full Easter Message by His Lordship
EASTER MESSAGE 2022 by Most Rev. Callistus Onaga
My dear brother and sisters in Christ,
I bring you the joy and blessings of our Lord Jesus Christ as we celebrate the great feast of his glorious resurrection. At Easter, we celebrate the great news of the empty tomb; the fact that life confronted death and emerged victorious, thereby giving all of us who believe, the joyful hope of eternal joy and happiness in his kingdom in the fullness of time, in keeping with the promise of the risen Lord.
The celebration of Easter holds a great significance, not only for Christians but also for all of us as leaders and citizens of our great nation. The great lessons and the example left for us by Jesus Christ in his salvific mission on earth which culminated in his passion and death, have become so common place, that most of us, irrespective of our creed or religious persuasion, are now very conversant with them. The story of Jesus Christ is that of a leader who was compassionate, who listened to the cries of the poor, the marginalised and the downtrodden; who stood for equity and justice and who spoke and acted in love every step of the way, and who never discriminated but welcomed and embraced all with open arms.
The situation we have found ourselves in our country at present, calls for sober reflection and concerted effort on the path of leaders and citizens in order to change the narrative and steer the country back once more to the path of peaceful coexistence which will in turn engender growth and development. In the spirit of the risen Lord who stood for love and equity for all, I call on the federal government to toe the path of dialogue in its handling of the various agitations being witnessed presently in various parts of the country, especially that of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). I’m of the view that looking critically at the issues and concerns being raised and addressing them properly would calm the minds of the agitators and give a sense of belonging to the regions of the country, which feel short-changed or unjustly treated in the current arrangement. Nothing can ever take the place of dialogue in human relationships.
As we prepare for the 2023 general elections, I also call on government at all levels, to ensure a level playing ground for all and work towards an open and transparent democratic process that would give birth to free, fair and credible elections. I call on the citizens on their own part to not only vote according to their consciences, but vote also for candidates with proven strength of character and integrity who would turn things around for the better in our country.
The current strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which regrettably has become a recurring decimal in our country, is another issue begging for very urgent and coordinated attention. A situation where our children and wards are forced to stay home and out of the classroom for several weeks running into months, do not speak good of our educational system and is indeed putting the nation’s future in jeopardy. The impasse between the union and the federal government therefore needs to be resolved as soon as possible so that our children can go back to school.
Once again, I wish all of us a very happy and joyful Easter Celebration and may the blessings of the risen Lord abide with you all.
Most Rev Callistus VC Onaga
Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese