Emeritus Bishop Adelakun reveals Nigeria’s bane as Catholic Diocese of Oyo begins three-in-one celebration
It’s season of celebrations for the Catholic Diocese of Oyo. The diocese is celebrating its 60th creation anniversary, the 50th Episcopal Ordination anniversary of its first bishop, Most Rev. Julius Babatunde Adelakun and the Priestly Ordination of three of its deacons.
Activities lined up for the week-long celebration had started on Sunday, June 18, 2023 with awareness in all parishes by the youths of the diocese. Today, Monday, June 19, the diocese had a press conference to formally herald the programmes to members of the public.
Tuesday, June 20, is visit to the less privileged homes in Oyo, Ogbomosho, Kisi and Igboho. On Wednesday, 21st June, the diocese will host leaders of other religions to an Inter-Religious Dialogue at Bishop Adelakun Hall Asogo Oyo at 10am.
On Thursday, June 22, there will be planting of Anniversary Trees in all parishes of the diocese while in the evening of the day, there will be Vespers/Dinner at the Cathedral by 4pm.
The grand finale of the three-in-one celebration will come up on Friday, June 23 with Thanksgiving Mass and Priestly Ordination at St Bernadine Catholic Church, Owode Oyo by 10am. Three deacons including Rev. Raphael Akinyemi, Rev Stephen Olalere and Rev Julius Ojo will be ordained priests.
Addressing journalists on Monday at Bishop Adelakun Hall, Asogo Oyo, the Emeritus Bishop of the diocese, Most Rev. Julius Adelakun identified lack of justice as the bane of Nigeria.
The bishops, therefore, called on the nation’s leaders and the entire citizens to imbibe sense of justice and values, saying without these, the country would continue to retrogress.
The elderly clergyman who described the event of his ordination golden anniversary as a sign of God’s faithfulness, said it was embarrassing for the country that President Bola Tinubu, some National Assembly members, Governors and others had been sworn in despite that election cases against their victories were yet to be done with in courts.
He said there was a need for all Nigerians to go through a change of mentality by being truthful in their dealings, ensure that justice is done and that no one is denied of his or her right.
The 89-year-old Emeritus Bishop who chronicled how he started his priesthood vocation at the old Oyo Diocese said the nation may not experience peace if justice is absent, emphasising that, “Democracy will really be democracy the day we can elect our governors and President without any liquidator. It is embarrassing to find out that cases were still going on in court against the President whom we installed on Democracy Day. This same week we were installing, we were hearing cases against him and we pray we pass that.”
According to him, “All of us in Nigeria must go through the necessary change and the change we talk about is the change of our mentality, charge to trust one another, change to carryout our business in a truthful way; any business we do, especially in the public office. Let us try to go beyond personal advantage which is our enemy. We are working for personal benefits but we should work for the good of the community, especially when we are in public offices.
“Our INEC do carry on in such a way like they are beyond questioning and reproach. We ask unnecessary questions because we don’t trust ourselves. Let us do things right, in that way, we can move forward. That’s the path of justice I spoke about. Without justice, there can be no peace. If you look at the whole situation in Nigeria, we can see that what is keeping us behind is lack of sense of justice in everything we do. If we learn to be fair and just in our ways, we will be a lot more delightful in Nigeria. That’s my appeal to Nigerians, let us try and improve our mentality,” Adelakun stressed.
In his remarks at the press briefing, Bishop Badejo noted that the desire of the Catholic Church is that there would be a time when no one would have to beg for food, saying the schools, hospitals, financial institutions, skill acquisition centres the diocese have are to ensure that this aim come to reality.
The bishop further stated that one of the major challenges the country is battling with is lack of values, decrying that some Nigerians act like monsters.
“Our own is not just to bring people to fill our Churches but to bring the Church to fill the people with human values. Hopefully, through our schools, through our hospitals, through our training centres, and our interactions with people, we can grow and develop young people who have integrity; who understand and love honesty, young people who can be trustworthy, who become human beings that appreciate selfless service so that when such people get into politics, when they get into the media, when they get into their private business or civil service, they will think twice and do so with values.
“The problem of Nigeria today is that we have individuals who, sometimes, are like monsters. Who is a monster? A monster is someone who has no value, anything goes. Nothing is out of reach. But, when people have values, they will think twice before they kill others, they will think twice before they deny others their rights, they will think twice before appropriating to themselves what does not belong to them. So, this is the purpose of Church and this is what we are trying to do,” Bishop Badejo noted.
He lauded the Emeritus Bishop for the many initiatives he brought to the diocese, saying, “Many initiatives in the Church today as started by the bishop (Adelakun) of his age and class, but two of the most important initiatives of the Church today and are still being strong actually started in Oyo Diocese when Baba (Adelakun) was Bishop and that’s the Church’s Communication Apostolate. That’s why the late Prof. Faniran was the one who rose to the pinnacle in this country and for the same reason, by the grace of God, I have risen to the pinnacle of Church Communications in Africa.”
“If he (Adelakun) didn’t have the vision, Oyo Diocese wouldn’t have that record. The second initiative was the Youth Apostolate. Baba Adelakun started what we call the former Youth Apostolate in the old Catholic Diocese of Oyo. All the Dioceses of Nigeria now follow suit but credit must be given to whom it’s due and that’s Baba. Today, the diocese has 25 schools located in the most rural areas in Oyo Diocese. We have hospitals that serve the people, skill acquisition centres, the Justice Development and Peace Commission of Oyo Diocese is second to none.
“We have heard about the establishment of a bank, the finance institutions, the work they are doing with thousands of farmers, the work they are doing to the empowerment of youths and women. All these things have only one purpose, to bring the message of the Church, the message of Christ to everybody, irrespective of whether they are Catholics, Christians, Muslims or whatever,” Badejo explained.
The cleric further said, “Our desire and hope as a Church is that one day will come when nobody in Nigeria will have to beg for food. It is to ensure that there would be a day when nobody would have to refer to another before they survive. It might be long years away but we are not supposed to sit down and fold our arms. That’s why we will be visiting five less privileged homes and institutions, visit the internally displaced people, the refugees, the handicapped children and so on on Wednesday, so that they can feel the joy of the celebration.
“The other aspect of Wednesday is just as important, our relationship with people of other faiths. It’s actually going to be a conversation; we are inviting our Babalawos, Ifa and Sango worshippers, Muslims to come and let us talk about how to have a more harmonious society. I must say we have had great cooperation from our brothers from other faith. Our own Church has brought a lot of benefits to them but they also have brought a lot of benefits to us in the ways that they can. So, we want to sustain this harmonious relationship that exists in Yorubaland.”