From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most. Rev Ignatius Kaigama, has observed that lack of selflessness and commitment to public service was responsible for backwardness being recorded as regards national development. 
Archbishop Kaigama, in his homily delivered at St. Donatus Catholic Church, Dutse Alhaji, Abuja, accused civil and other public servants of demanding for kickbacks before rendering services that are beneficial to the public.
He, however, advised newly ordained deacons in the Parish to eschew such selfish tendencies and pleasure on rendering to the Body of Christ and the entire society to make it better.
He said:”Our newly ordained deacons could be precursors of today’s civil servants who are expected to render services whole-heartedly to people. Regrettably, not a few Nigerians could agree that many civil servants like other categories of leaders are neither civil nor servants.
Often, they are self-serving rather than serving the interests of those who depend on their services. The qualities expected of servants like good reputation, trust, ability to manage public resources well, the wisdom to carry out an equitable distribution of resources are grossly deficient among most of our leaders, whether political, traditional, security, etc.
“One finds, regrettably, some religious leaders who have metamorphosed from being servants, prayer specialists and preachers to business or commercial strategists. In our country, the syndrome of ‘what is in it for me’ is what has caused our greatest drawback.
“Leaders, rather than ask what they can do for people entrusted in their care, seek what the poor could do for them or how they could unjustly take from what is for the poor to foster their happiness, while the poor sink into deeper poverty and misery.
“Whether it’s the distribution of COVID-19 palliatives, IDP relief materials, food ration for prisoners or school children, the execution of constituency projects or contracts to improve infrastructure, what concerns the majority of public officials is self rather than the common people. Obviously, the calmness and selflessness of the early leaders who promoted unity and loving co-existence is in very short supply today.”
He, thus urged the newly ordained deacons to preach peace and love with due diligence and reverence. “You must teach sound doctrines handed down by the Apostles and resolve to proclaim the Gospel of the risen Lord with firm conviction.”
He reminded them that they are called to be of service to the poor and marginalized in the society without ethnic or religious discrimination especially in these difficult times.
“Refrain from bearing false witnesses and never yield to the temptation of marketing a gospel of materialism. As transitional deacons, yours is not a ministry of convenience, not of choice places, but one that embraces all people, to go wherever you are sent to preach peace and the love of God,” he said.

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