Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Sunday, admitted that Nigeria could be heading for a national break up if urgent action is not taken, collectively, to mend/address the identified cracks that could fasten the unfortunate break up.
Osinbajo said that, though, the task of mending the cracks could face severe opposition but it can only be achieved and diffused by consistent focus and prayers by Nigerians who desire more peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.
The Vice President who spoke through the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, at the 60th Independence Anniversary interdenominational church service held at National Ecumenical Centre, Abuja, on Sunday, made reference to the story of Nehemiah in the Bible, and his role in rebuilding the broken down walls of Jerusalem.
The service which was attended by representatives of the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Head of Service of the Federation, Permanent Secretaries, Military officials, members of the diplomatic community and other senior government officials, provided opportunity for prayers, praises and cutting of anniversary cake.
Osinbajo in his remarks encouraged Nigerians to study the story of Nehemiah and replicate same in Nigeria for a better country. “The story should be a challenge to every Christian in Nigeria who is desirous of following the part of Christian way of life.
“It’s only that kind of Nehemiah’s love that will make us as Nigerians to rebuild the cracks we have in our walls (Nigeria) today. For us in Nigeria, Nehemiah should be taken as a metaphor for that Nigerians who either reside in Nigeria or outside, to cry to God to use the abandoned opportunities in Nigeria to address our challenges of nation building.
“Fortunately for us, our walls are not yet broken but there are obvious cracks that could lead to break if not properly addressed. Nehemiah started with fervent prayers, seeking the Face of God and pleaded with his king to allow him return to Jerusalem to rebuild the broken walls. Because wall signifies peace, security, contentment and prosperity. It signifies the essence of the state of the nation.
“There’s urgent need for Nehemiah in our country, Nigeria, today. And like Nehemiah faced opposition in his efforts to rebuild the walls, any Nigerian that desire to rebuild Nigeria must also be ready to face stiffer opposition which will come in torrents. It can only be diffused by consistent focus and prayers.”
Osinbajo was, however, optimistic that the 60th independence anniversary could herald a rebirth of Nigerian nation, and “no group is more prepared for this task than our religious bodies.”
He, thus charged the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to provide quality leadership to its faithful and properly guide them in making Nigeria a great country that it has been destined to be.
CAN President, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, in a sermon stressed the need for justice which, he said, will birth peace, tolerance and love.
He said: “A nation that is religiously plural like ours require love in practice so as to co-exist without fighting one another. What is sane in using the name of God or hide under the cloak of religion to kill a fellow human? If God wants all of us to be of one ethnicity, race or religion doesn’t he have the power to do it? Why do we want to play God and wickedly terminate the lives of others in account of religion?.
“Nigeria is blessed with abundant human and material resources located in different parts of this country. This underscores the indispensability of all the regions and ethnic groups.
“For us all to be on the same page, have sense of belonging and be happy, the doctrine of equality, that is equal access to employment, governance and education, must be available to all. The principle of inclusivity must be adopted. Nobody or region must be excluded from the scheme of things in Nigeria.
“We must not allow exclusion in any form to manifest in our national life because that would be dangerous for our pilgrimage or voyage together. All ethnic and religious groups must be given equal opportunity in the way we do things, otherwise, why should I remain where I was not recognized or where I was cheated? Will I not rather go on my own way?.
“Why should I be denied access to build my place of worship in any region of the country by government official?. Why should my child be denied the opportunity to study any particular course in any university after he or she has passed the required examination on account of the child’s religion or ethnicity. Ethnicity is ascribed, it is divinely conferred, not achieved by the individual.
“We must know that there’s mutual suspicion of one another in Nigeria, either along ethnic or religious lines. We have refused to do many things we agree to do at dialogue tables because lack of love and suspicion. We need to do away with lack of trust in order to build a great nation.”