by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
Nigerians have been told not to allow the current challenges facing the nation to push them towards de-marketing the country or even advocating for its disintegration, as the consequences will not only be uncertain, but unimaginable.
Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, made this assertion, while speaking at an Inter-denominational Church Service to mark the 61st Independence Anniversary at the Government House Chapel Rayfield, Jos, stressing that, “Nigeria still remains a great nation that will surmount its challenges to realise its potentials for greatness.”
The governor added that, while some may use the current travails that the nation is witnessing to cast a shadow of hopelessness and despondency, he cautioned the people to never allow the trials of today to overshadow the many successes that the nation has witnessed in the past and the many good things that have continued to happen up till date.
He said, “Many ‘prophets of doom’ had prophesied that we shall not live to witness this year, and some people representing both internal and external interests have also worked fruitlessly to fulfill this prophesy.
The governor stated that, he was very sure that at the end of the day, Nigeria shall emerge very strong and prosperous, exceeding all expectations and putting behind all disappointments.
“All that is needed, according to him, is for Nigerians to work together in unity, tolerance, sincerity, loyalty and patriotism to ensure that the nation lives up to its God-given potentials,” he noted.
The governor disclosed further, thus: “For far too long, we have focused on our differences and weaknesses, and trivialized or even ignored our strengths and prospects.
“We seem to dissipate so much energy on defining people, based on their religion, tribe, ethnicity and even political orientation – completely neglecting their capacities, gifts, talents and willingness to serve humanity; and we have been blinded by such myopic considerations that we fail to see that God has a plan for creating us with diversity and yet making us dependent on one another,” he stressed.
The governor maintained that there is no great nation that has refused to embrace diversity, tolerance, excellence, good work ethics, and a national philosophy that is based on honesty, reward for hard work and punishment for defiance.
While insisting that, Nigerians cannot embrace corruption, despise hard work, shun the rule of law, champion nepotism and bigotry, act selfishly, oppress one another, particularly the vulnerable, and yet expect to build a great nation.
He said, “Great nations haven’t entrenched good governance, rule of law, tolerance, patriotism, social welfare, respect for human rights and zero tolerance to corruption and indiscipline – an example that Nigeria has no option than to follow, if it must make head way.”
The Deputy Chaplain of Government House, Rev. Ezekiel Dewan, in his sermon, taken from the books of Jeremiah 27 and Luke 8:24-25, among other chapters, said Nigerians must avoid negative narratives, as “there is power in the tongue.”
He said those, who give up at difficult times, may not benefit from God’s intervention when it arrives, as they may be too blind to recognize it.
He admonished Nigerians to pray for God’s mercy on Plateau State and Nigeria, as the Bible directs citizens to not only pray for their leaders, but also for the cities where they dwell.
He also urged the people to be constant in prayers for God to turn the wisdom of the wicked into foolishness and stop them from troubling Nigeria.
In separate goodwill messages, the Atah Ateng of Ganawuri (representing the State Traditional Council), GOC 3rd Division and Commander Operation Safe Haven, Maj-Gen. Ali, said though Nigeria is passing through difficulties of insecurity, poverty and disease, among others, there is hope for the future as God is raising leaders, who will unite all people, lead with the fear of God, and shun all forms of evil for nation development.
Special prayers were offered for the State Government and the Nation.