BY : AYODELE AJANI
A call has gone to the religious organisations in the country to bring about development by been agents of change and enablers of the development process even with their concerns about the kingdom of God.
Making this appeal is a National and Regional Development Expert, Professor Kayode Oyesiku while delivering the 3rd Moses Orimolade Tunolase Lecture, titled : ‘Sustaining National Development: The place of religion & religious Organisations’ in Lagos.
Oyesiku who is a Lecturer at the Olabisi Onabanjo University , Ago – Iwoye, Ogun State said religious organisations should serve as the voice for all and lead as partners in the global struggle that can influence state and national policies for development.
” The church and religious
organisations should be able to speak for those who are in bondage and trying to escape the depredation of hunger , poverty, ignorance and those that are seeking the movement of their growth for survival.
” The success of the Catholic Church is an example of the crucial role of religious organisations. As part of its concern for grassroots social and economic empowerment , the Catholic Church established Department of the Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) , a Non Governmental Organization, which support empowerment programmes.
“One of such programmes is the Grassroots Economic Empowerment (GEE) to meet up with the mandate received from the United Nations Development Programme ( UNDP) and the Central Bank of Nigeria for the purpose of total empowerment of the poor and socially excluded in the country and to promote a saving culture and provide micro – credit facilities that will enable its target market in the South West Nigeria to expand life sustaining small scale business”, Oyesiku said.
He said Religious organisations such as Cherubim and Seraphim, should be able to promote sustainable and integral human development through the approaches of empowerment and structural transformation of the same without any form of discrimination.
He said in a way religious organisations must promote social justice and common good through the adoption of participatory approach that empower poor people with disadvantage and the less fortunate to meet their basic needs and become full actors of their destinies.
” Indeed , religious organisations including C&S must see themselves as catalyst for grassroots mobilisation to enable those excluded to take local action to challenge and to overcome oppressive structures that keep them in social, economic and political bondage. In other words, religious organisations must establish creative and cooperative solidarity by partnering with a range of civil society actors to promote pro – policy environment where the basic rights of the people are secured”, Oyesiku said.