• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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‘Nigerian youths must present themselves for to be considered for leadership’

We are the leaders of tomorrow: Call for a generational shift

Rev. Fr. Chukwuebuka Michael Afoma, the associate priest of Holy Family Catholic Church recently spoke with SEYI JOHN SALAU on the need to engage the youth in leadership and politics. The Catholic priest equally admonished believers across the world not to forget that Jesus is the reason for the season, as they celebrate Christmas. Excerpts:

Nigerian past leaders emerged in their youthful age, but what we have now are people in their 60s and 70s. Do you think ‘tomorrow’ will ever come for the Nigerian youths?

Actually, the fact is that the youth are the leaders of yesterday in Nigeria. Like you said; Gowon was a youth and he was head of state yesterday. So, presently the youth are no longer in power. When the youth were in power was yesterday – in our yesterday we had the youth in power. Obasanjo, Buhari and others were in their 30s and were heads of state; even governors and premiers even at 29, 30. Those were the youthful age, and that is why I said yesterday was for the youth. But, this time now old people are in power and we pray that we should bring the youth back to power.

If we take this locality for a case study: we have the numbers however, the opportunities are not available. So, what platform is the Church creating for the youth to emerge?

Actually, politics in Nigeria is not something we should discuss here. I think it’s a subject for another day; but the Church is playing an important role. What we do is to encourage our youth; first as a citizen you have the power to vote and be voted for in this country. If you feel that you can lead; go out and pick a form and join a party you feel can help you achieve your aim because if the righteous are in power the nation rejoices, but when sinners are there it is a reproach. And, if we can get our youth members to lead we will be happy and will encourage them, but if they cannot – we cannot force them. But, at least, let them go out and vote and vote the right choice, and not just because they have been given something but that they should vote to get the best.

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Is your judgment of the YWC members’ performance a way of saying they should be given more roles in the Church and the larger society?

In the larger society yes; because their role in the Church is defined – they know where they are and other things. The most important thing in the Church is that they are visible. They are not just acting from the background and that most things we do in the Church, they are carried along. This year’s harvest was anchored by the youth; chairman harvest committee was a youth, while most of the sub-committee were headed by the youth in the YCW and charismatic members in the range of the youth. So, they are visible in the Church and we pray that they should be involved in the larger society.

The Church building has been ongoing for a while now; how involved are the youth in the construction process?

It is the youth that are actually doing the work, despite the fact that the contractor and the CEO, every other person that are involved are youths. Their contribution is also very useful and it comes in huge amount, and we appreciate them for that.

Christmas is a season of giving; what is your message to Christians generally and Catholics in particular?

The one message I usually give is that do not celebrate your Christmas without Christ because Christmas is about Christ and you cannot celebrate it without Christ. So, make sure that Christ is at the centre of your celebration. When you do that then everything will be fine.