Why I talk about elections and politics

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As a priest, I do not have a wife nor will I have a child. I do not have a car of my own. The car I received after my ordination, I gave it back to my congregation as I was leaving for Malawi.

I literally do not even owe myself. My superior can wake up any day and decide where I should go.

From Abuja to Lagos, from Lagos to Malawi, from Malawi to The Gambia. . . These have been my movements since 2015 when I was ordained. I chose none for myself. I only obeyed when I was asked to move. Even my book is yet to be published because my superior must first give permission.

My Dad is late. He died 6 months after my ordination. I did not really get to spend time with him after my ordination. He was in Abuja and I was in Lagos for missionary work.

Any way you want to look at it, I have sacrificed my entire self, my will, and my intellect. So, when I talk about Nigerian elections and the need to put the right candidate, the direct effect of your bad choice will not be on me as a person.

As a priest, a one-time dean, a parish priest, and one who is in charge of all Catholic schools here, what to eat is no longer my problem. I can enter any Catholic parish in this world, and I will be welcomed. If I fall sick, the church will take care of me.

I am not even sure if I will ever be posted to work in Nigeria. And if I die right now, my only worries will be those that love me that will be heartbroken. If not, death won’t have been much of an issue to me. I have overcome the general fear of death. Christ died at 33. I am over 36. So you see, I am not too young to die.

Added to that, I do not want to be rich in the sense of having so much money in my account. No! I don’t pray for riches, rather I pray to have a rich life.

When it comes to money, I just want to have enough to take care of my normal everyday needs and to help others if possible.

In Abuja, I have a king-size bed. In the Gambia, it may not be same. But I don’t care. I can sleep anywhere because once my eyes are closed, nothing matters anymore.

I want good governance in Africa, and in Nigeria in particular, because for more than seven years as a priest and ministering to people, almost everything people pray and fast for can be traced to the failure of government/leadership in their countries.

People pray to God for a job. No! God does not give jobs, government does.

People pray for admission into schools and promotion at work. No! God does not give promotion or admission, government does.

People pray to have cars, houses, visas, etc. No! God does not give houses, nor cars, nor visas. . . Government does. Your colleagues in the Western world don’t say those prayers. . . Why?

People pray for good health. This is a good prayer, but it is relative. If you don’t eat a balanced diet, you will have kwashiorkor. If you drink bad water, you will have typhoid. If you don’t see food to eat, you will have an ulcer. If you get bitten by mosquitoes, you will have Malaria. If there is no hospital to give you good medicine, you will die. Even missionaries that came to bring the good news, most died of malaria. It is not about abracadabra. Even as missionaries, God did not save them from dying of malaria. So you see, everything is still the government.

With good governance, road accidents will drastically reduce. Hospitals will be better managed. The Big Brother Naija housemate that died of an accident, did you not watch how the people were even making videos of him when he was unconscious and in need of urgent medical assistance? Did you see the doctors and nurses acting like it is an emergency? Go to National Hospital Abuja, or Specialists Gwagwalada, the story is the same.

I do not know about you, but go and check the number of those registering for IELTS, GRE, TOEFL. Check those in immigration, looking for a passport. Check those in embassies queuing every day looking for visas. They all want to leave the country. Why?

Your Doctors are all leaving the country. Everyone is leaving. There is no light. The traffic is crazy. Everyone is a law. This is why the popular word in Nigeria as of now is Japa.

Why are Americans not Japa-ing?
Why are the British people not Japa-ing?
Even South Africans don’t Japa. . .

But Why you? Why always you?

Simple, your country is totally messed up.

Yet you have not collected your PVC. You are even planning to vote based on tribe or religion and not based on competence. And you think you are doing me? You want to vote for rechargeable candidates so they will be traveling with your money to recharge their batteries and come back to tell you to shut up?

Do whatever you want to do, but don’t take sides with your oppressors.

Pity yourself.
Pity your kids and grandkids.
Pity your innocent neck bearing the heavy burden of carrying your kind of head around.
Vote wisely!
Vote competence!
Don’t be an Ewu Gambia!

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Fr. Kelvin Ugwu
Fr. Kelvin Ugwu
Fr Kelvin Ugwu MSP is an influential Nigerian Catholic priest on a mission in The Gambia.

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