NewsReligionOpinion: Public Backlash Against Enugu State Government Sponsorship of 274 On Pilgrimage

ENUGU — The biting economic situation in Nigeria is a huge concern as most citizens struggle to make ends meet. Pensioners are not paid and salary payments are not timely and consistent despite the ever-increasing cost of food and rent in Enugu and Nigeria at large.

Infrastructural decadence and lack of basic amenities are the order of the day but excused away by the government as resulting from meager resources available for governance yet they proudly announced sponsorship of 274 pilgrims to Jordan and Israel; 24 to Jordan and 250 to Israel.

Speaking on Thursday at the 2021 Main/ 2022 Easter Pilgrimage Orientation/flag-off ceremony, the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi admitted the sad situation faced by the nation and state.

He said, “Nigeria is going through strange and difficult times and needs God’s intervention more than ever.”

The Governor called on the pilgrims to pray for the nation and state while at the holy land but one may ask the effect of the prayers offered by these pilgrims every year; do they actually visit the holy land to intercede for the nation or went on tourism while on the government’s side, a means to settle her own?

Governor Ugwuanyi has consistently sponsored pilgrims to the holy land hence he was conferred with an award as the Best Pilgrimage Governor in South East Nigeria by the National Christian Pilgrims Commission, NCPC; the 274 pilgrims were referred to as Batch A which means another batch of pilgrims should be expected.

On Thursday, while those gathered for the flag-off ceremony jubilate and shower encomium on the Governor, many seriously frown at the flagrant waste of public funds to a course that will not put food on the table of the masses nor affect development at all.

Maduka Okoli wrote, “Another jamboree and drain pipe to enrich the prodigal lifestyle of the political elite to the detriment of the majority of Ndi Enugu;

“Government has no business with sponsoring pilgrims because religion should be a private affair of the citizens,” he asserted.

Chuwasky Chuka Eze is hipped on the unavailability of basic amenities in the state. He wrote, “No water for the common man for Enugu state. Terrible government.”

Another youth that lives in Enugu named Saint Michael Godson was explicit at the actual need of the citizens on which the meager resources should have been channeled for the benefit of all.

Godson said, “Wasted recourses! Gov. Ugwuanyi what Enugu state needs are working industries, job opportunities, investment in critical areas like pipe-borne water, agriculture, roads, and other areas that can boost people’s lives and the economic fortune of the state. Ugwuanyi thinks.”

Successive governments’ excuse of need for pilgrims to pray for the nation in the holy land is as lame as it sounds as God is omnipresent and cannot be encountered only in Israel.

Many accused the government of misplaced priority as prayers without necessary action like cutting off wasteful ventures like state sponsorship of pilgrims, corruption and lack of planning and execution is the bane of development in the nation.

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