Gowon: Nigeria passing through the wilderness
• Osinbajo: To Build Great Nation, Leaders Must Shun Evil
Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, yesterday, described Nigeria’s current economic and political travails as a wasteland, expressing optimism the nation would overcome.
He spoke in Abuja at a thanksgiving service to mark 20 years of the intercessory initiative, Nigeria Prays.
“Nigeria is currently walking in the wilderness but joy is coming very soon. This is the promise of God for our beloved country,” said Gowon.
He said the organisation had succeeded in laying a solid spiritual foundation for national reflection and intercession, and had continued to promote virtues of patriotism and transparency among the citizenry, alongside good governance and incorruptibility in leadership.
“For the past 20 years, we have resolutely remained on our knees, so that Nigeria could stand on her feet. We held the first National prayer rally at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, October 1, 1996. When we started out, we had very clear vision to mobilise Nigerians, particularly the Church, to wake up and offer sincere, fervent and consistent intercession for healing and transformation of our land,” he added.
It is unclear whether the same can be said of all or some past Nigerian leaders, but at launch of the book, The Praying General: Story of Yakubu Gowon and Nigeria Prays, emerged revelation that the former Head of State never helped himself to the national purse.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who made the disclosure, said Gowon lived a life without blemish, a virtue that stood him out. “He did not steal our money. He served this country with all his heart. He served it with honesty and righteousness. He deserves to be celebrated.”
Heaping praise on the military leader, who held the reins of power during the Civil War years, Osinbajo described Gowon as a man who provided guidance to all and who had became a symbol of morality.
The Vice President noted that prayer and fasting alone would not transform the nation, except citizens turned away from evil. “What our nation lacks is commitment to righteousness, not prayers,” he said.
He added: “We will continue to pray. God has really sustained this nation through prayers. But we are going to take the next step, if we are to be a truly great nation. If we want to be a great nation that would be able to feed its people, using its resources to do the things that need to be done by government, we must turn from our evil ways and practice righteousness.
“If righteousness is preached on our pulpits, our people will stand out and do right things. We don’t tell our people that they can’t give or take bribes. We don’t tell our people that they must stand for the truth. If we, who are called by God’s name, truly stand for truth, stand up for righteousness, our country will be truly great.”
Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, John Odigie-Oyegun, who read the scripture for the service, said he was convinced Nigeria would recover from its challenges.
While speaking on the topic, ‘God’s Praying General’, the Senior Pastor of House on the Rock, Paul Adefarasin, noted that there was no inheritance greater than a good name.