Former Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, has said President Muhammadu Buhari’s admittance that Nigerians don’t trust his government is a positive step.
The clergyman stated this while reacting to Buhari’s Christmas message when he featured on a Channels Television programme.
Onaiyekan attributed the rising public distrust in Buhari’s administration to widespread deceit being peddled on numerous occasions.
“It is positive that President Buhari recognises that his government has a heavy liability of trust deficits and it is not good for a nation that the citizens cannot trust their government so that even when the government is trying to do the right thing, there is always the feeling, ‘let us wait and see, maybe it’s one of those things again’ which means to speak truth to power, our government must take a look at its modus operandi, its way of operation,” he said.
“Up till now, they ought to be able to know why is it that they have a trust deficit, why is it that people don’t seem to want to trust them. If you ask me basically, you trust someone who is truthful but if you have too many cases of government saying one thing and doing perhaps another, the recipe for a trust deficit.”
Buttressing his point, the Catholic cleric cited the current administration’s claim that Boko Haram has been defeated even when the deadly sect continues to kill Nigerians.
He continued: “We’ve heard a lot said about fake news, about massive deceit, this is not correct and if for example, we were told that the Boko Haram has been defeated and they are still on, people will ask, what do you mean, are you serious so that any time again there is announcement on Boko Haram, people will say, well we wait and see until we are really sure which means we have a task before us and government ought to take that seriously and all those who speak on behalf of government should believe in the sacredness of the truth.
“Nigerians are ready to listen to the truth but when they are consistently deceived, it is neither good for the government nor good for the governed. Here, everyone has to do an examination of conscience. I throw the ball therefore back at not only President Buhari himself but all those who are with him running the affairs of this nation. We will be really happy to have a government to trust.”
Onaiyekan said meaningful development has been elusive in the country because the leaders have refused to demonstrate the needed political will to engineer change.
He called on Buhari to address the widespread insecurity in the country, adding that people can only trust their leaders when they are matching words with actions.