A Kaduna-based Catholic Priest, Reverend Fr Augustine Isek, at the weekend hinged many of Nigeria’s problems on what he described as the psychological poverty of both the country’s leaders and the led.
He stated this as keynote speaker during the 41st Annual General Meeting (AGM) of International Confederation of the Society of Saint Vincent De Paul National Council of Nigeria, ended on Sunday at Saint Annes, Kaduna.
Speaking on the theme of the meeting, “The poor: sacrament of the presence of Christ”, the Catholic priest said, unless Nigerians disabuse their minds and see themselves as solutions to their environmental problems, the country would not progress.
He said the “psychology of every man is the engine house for changing his environment. The moment our mind is renewed, our environment too will be renewed.
“We should stop shifting blame. We should be the generators of change at our individual capacity. The problem is that our mentality is generally one of dependency. We always look out for somebody to solve our problems not knowing the solution we are looking for is in us. So, until there is a mentality shift, we will remain in poverty,” he said.
National President of the Society in Nigeria, Kim Eseka Emmanuel, said the society as an arm of the Catholic Church, founded in 1833 but came to Nigeria in 1960, has been involving in hidden charity having touched several lives.
“As of today, in Lagos province alone, we spent nothing less than one million naira every year as we reach out to prisons to secure release of those we can, we grant scholarships to those we know that need it and so on.
“The annual meeting is an opportunity for members across the country to meet and review what they have done in the past year, give reports on how the funds raised were utilised and drawing up a policy for another year.
“We chose Kaduna for this annual meeting to let them know we feel what they are feeling. Some of these challenges are burn-out of poverty. People need to know that Christ lives and one of the greatest assignments He gave us was giving.”
Earlier, the outgoing President, Kaduna Metropolitan Council of the Society, Dr Osita Egwuete, said, “the society has touched more than one million lives in Kaduna Metro alone. We do raise funds through membership contributions, donations by philanthropists and parishioners in the church.
“We help people in need irrespective of their status – once it is established that you are in need, we come in to offer help in any way we can because the society is coming together of different professionals.
“What differentiates us from other charity organisations is that we members don’t help ourselves from the monies we generate and that is the one key thing that is serving as check and balance in us,” he added.