The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, on Sunday urged leaders in government and the private sector to use the nation's resources equitably for the benefit of all.
Onaiyekan gave the advice in a sermon at the thanksgiving service to mark his 70th birthday at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro Cathedral in Abuja.
He said God endowed Nigeria with enormous resources that should be distributed equally amongst Nigerians irrespective of their backgrounds.
The cardinal said that equity and justice were part of the solution to Nigeria's problems of insecurity, corruption and moral decadence.
"This is my message to all those who control and manage our resources. They must be shared equally for peace and prosperity in our nation", he said.
Onaiyekan also said that Nigerians must brace to the challenge of nation building, noting that no contribution was too small or big to make Nigeria great.
According to him, "building this nation is the responsibility of all, whether you are big or small, rich or poor, it is little contributions of everyone that will make our country great."
He pledged his commitment to the service of the church and to greatness of humanity in the years ahead.
Onaiyekan, who was full of gratitude to God and his colleagues in the service of the church, said continued selfless service would preoccupy his activities henceforth.
"I look to the future ready for God's will, to do my best and to cover lost grounds in the cause of my adventure as priest.
"I want to dedicate the rest of my life to doing only those things that will please God because every other thing is vanity, nothing else matters to me now but to please God", he said.
In his message, Pope Francis extolled the qualities of the cardinal.
He said Onaiyekan was a shining star and a worthy son of the church and Africa and should be supported in his apostolic ministry.
In the message read by his representative in Nigeria, Archbishop Augustine Kasujja, the pope prayed God to grant the cardinal more years of fruitful work in the vine yard of the Lord.
In a goodwill message, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) congratulated the cardinal for attaining the age of 70 in good health.
The Vice President of the conference, the Most Rev. Augustine Akabueze, who read the bishops' message, said Onaiyekan was a worthy servant of the church and a distinguished member of the CBCN.
He said Onaiyekan's role in fostering religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence in Nigeria and beyond was worthy of emulation by all.
According to Akabueze, Onaiyekan has carried out his responsibilities with courage and integrity and has made the church proud in all his activities.
He said that the catholic bishops were proud to be associated with the cardinal and pledged to support him to reach new grounds in his Episcopal assignment.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that clerics and other catholic faithful in the Abuja archdiocese and in the cardinal's home parish in Kogi state attended the service.
Onaiyekan was born on Jan. 29, 1944, ordained catholic priest on Aug. 3, 1969 and ordained bishop on Jan. 6, 1983 by the late Pope John Paul II. (NAN)