Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State, yesterday, accused religious leaders of pushing political leaders to steal by the way they patronized the politicians and other influential individuals in the society who now do anything possible to meet up with the expectation.
Ambode who spoke at the annual public lecture organized by Christian Conscience, claimed religious leaders made higher demand from people in government without thinking about what they would meet such demand.
Represented Commissioner for Home Affairs, Dr. Abdul-hakeem Abdul-Lateef, the governor lamented that the common man who served God diligently got no recognition while religious leaders were busy patronising political leaders.
According to him: “When church and mosque want to do fund raising they will not look for people that are committed to the work of God but rather politicians and people in power whose salary is not up to N500,000 to come and launch N50 million project. This same politicians and people in power, when they came to church late, Pastor will ask congregation to stand up and clap for them whereas the poor person that came early to church nobody recognizes him or her.”
Speaking on the theme, “Religion and Corruption: Strategic Direction in Fighting Corruption in Nigeria” said he had reduced the number of time he went to office as people usually besieged his office in hundreds seeking personal assistance.
He said: “In my office as commissioner I see about 100 to 200 people daily that came to my office for personal assistant not something that will benefit the larger society, that is why my going to office is strategic because am tired of explaining to people that I don’t have.
Corroborating him, a former Minister for Education and Convener of Bring Back Our Girls, BBOG, campaign, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, said corruption remained the greatest obstacle to Nigeria’s development and that until the problem was tackled from the source, Nigeria would not move forward.
According to her: “The church which is meant to be the salt of healing has failed and this is worrisome. We are all comfortable with corruption. There is need to consider reducing opportunities for corruption because battling corruption goes beyond Christian belief. We should enforce prosecution and sanction of bad behaviours to serve as deterrent for other evil doers.”
The Special guest lecturer at the Occasion, Prof. Dapo Asaju, said some of the religious leaders had commercialized religion at the detriment of the people.
Asaju who is the Bishop Theologian, Church of Nigeria and Vice Chancellor, Ajayi Crowther University, said it was regrettable to see religious leaders riding N30 million car when church members had not eat a day meal.
He said: “They have even go a step further to employed the service of bodyguard in the church of God. That is why when they prayed miracle doesn’t happen any longer because they are not in connection with God.”
The Chief Host and Chairman, Christian Conscience Group, Mr. Enock Ajiboso, however encouraged faithful religious leaders to join political arena and make difference.