Nigeria @ 56 clerics hopeful of a better nation
As the country celebrates 56th independence anniversary, amid economic recession and security challenges, religious leaders believe there is still hope for the country, despite what citizens are presently experiencing. They, however, called on government to create enabling environment to attract investors and grow local business, while Nigerians should remain law-abiding and support the various government policies. OMIKO AWA, ISAAC TAIWO and GBENGA AKINFENWA report.
‘Govt Should Give Start-up Loans For Youths To Go Into Small Scale Businesses’
(Pastor Johnson Odesola is the Assistant General Overseer, Administration and Personnel, The Redeemed Christian Church of God).
MY message to Nigerians on independence is that we should keep alive our hope in God and never lose hope. As we celebrate this independence, we should know that God, Who granted us independence from colonial rule, could also grant us independence from recession. Though things are hard, God would perform wonders according to His benevolence and mercy. Nigerians should always remember that God is on the Throne and in control of every situation. He won’t abandon us at this period of recession, but would certainly make a way out of it. All Nigerians need to do is remain united, with a view to moving the nation forward.
I would advise that governments embark on projects that would impact the lives of Nigerians. This is the time for government to seriously consider alternatives to oil. The loan that African Development Bank promised Nigeria should be judiciously spent by embarking on start-up loans that would enable youths go into small-scale businesses.
Nigerians should know that what is happening in the country is global. Since the Bible tells us that everything works for good to them that love God, this recession has its own lessons, which are mainly moderation.
‘We Should Eliminate Bigotry, Ethnicity And Re-Orientate Our Values System’
(Dr.Taiwo Akinola is the Presiding Bishop and Founding Pastor-General of Rhema Christian Church International, Ota, Ogun State).
NIGERIANS should put their house in order and trust in God’s help. Nigerians should pray and act out their trust and faith in God. We should eliminate bigotry and the spirit of ethnicity to move forward in the right direction. There should be re-orientation of our values system to focus on moral, hardwork, nation building, rather than getting quick money, which is the order of the day. We should pursue the virtue of having good names, which is better than gold. God loves us, but we must not overdraw from the bank of God’s mercy. Nigerians should fear God,
Our leaders and politicians should thirst after good governance and follow after those things that would make for peace. The government should be able to make an appeal to the aggrieved Niger Delta boys, so that they can stop damaging facilities that cannot be replaced in five or 10 years.
‘Nigerians Should Seek Dialogue, Be Patient With One Another’ (Bishop Isaac Idahosa is of Illumination Assembly, Lagos).
WE must be grateful to God for keeping us as one and blocking all entreaties that would have dislocated the country. Howbeit, religious leaders must stop hate messages, preach love for the nation and fellow countrymen, as well as, make members fear God. Once we love our nation, become law-abiding citizens, the country and its citizens will make progress.
I would also call on Nigerians to join hands with the Federal Government to ensure that there is absolute peace, and that the various programmes government has put in place to grow the economy work. I also want government to look inward and bring out policies that will attract investors, while building infrastructure and creating enabling environment for businesses of all kind to grow.
We should always seek dialogue, be patient with one another and desist from destroying things and killing at the slightest provocation.
‘We Must Always Put Nigeria First In All We Do’ (Archbishop John Osa-Oni is the Overseer of Vineyard Christian Ministry International, Lagos).
WE have come a long way as a nation, and despite the ups and downs we’ve been through, we have remained together. Though we are going through some challenges today, we must realise that God has interest in this nation, and I am convinced that we shall overcome our myriad of problems.
I, however, think that every generation has its peculiar challenges. We are really going through tough times presently and we can only encourage ourselves to be audacious and gutsy, for only the tough survive tough times. I see a light at the end of the tunnel and boldly declare that we are not hopeless, as a nation.
Religious leaders’ or pastors’ job has not changed in this recession. Aside prayers, we have to motivate members, teach them how to generate wealth amid this recession and impact on their communities.
However, my counsel to everyone is to become smarter with spending and move closer to God, the owner of all resources and be law-abiding. The political class should also sit up and come up with plans to take the nation out of the woods. This is not the time to think of party affiliations, but about the survival of the people and the nation. We all must put Nigeria first in all we do.
‘Nigerians Should Imbibe Right Attitude To Change The Nation’
(Ayomide Abraham is the Senior Pastor of Foursquare Church, as well as, District Overseer and Axis Coordinator of the church in Sango Ota).
EVERY Nigerian must resolve to be connected to the effort to move the nation forward, not only by prayers, but also in practice. Those of us that are concerned about this nation always weep for Nigeria, when we travel to any of the developed countries. It is regrettable that most Nigerians do not imbibe the attitude needed to change the nation; we are not yet ready to pay the price of ‘change.’ It becomes imperative for Nigerians to change this attitude and realise that no change comes on a platter of gold.
On its part, government should build infrastructure and rehabilitate our roads that have become death traps. There is also the need to change this bad habit of repugnant attitude to ‘continuity’ by our politicians. Developed nations in the world achieve that status because they embrace the spirit of continuity and any nation that distances itself from this system would never develop. Instead of new governments continuing with those good things that the previous government embarked upon, they would rubbish everything and start all over again. This attitude is setting us back.
There is the need for a 30 to 50-year development plan, which successive parties would run with. In America, there are constructions and re-construction of roads. There is also need for improvement in the power sector.
Government should come to the aid of Nigerians at this period of recession by subsidising some of our products. There is need for palliative measure to cushion the effect of recession. Some nations store consumable items, which they bring out at a period of recession and they ensure no one buys them to hoard and resell.
There is need for collective peace and demonstration of the spirit of patriotism on the part of Nigerians.
‘Nigerians Should Remain Hopeful, As Recession Will Make Us A Better Nation’ (Pastor Bunmi Idowu is the Presiding Pastor, Shining Family Church, Ota.)
IF Nigerians would critically examine what is going on in the world, take for instance, Syria, we would come to the conclusion that God loves our country. There is no doubt that we have the problem of unfaithful leaders and corrupt politicians to contend with, but that notwithstanding, God has been good to us, as a nation. The recession will surely come to an end and make us a better nation. At the age of 56, we should be grateful to God that He has kept us as one nation.
We should continue to pray for Nigeria and for the leaders, for wisdom from above to enable them fix the problems confronting the nation. The government should also help Nigerians by diversifying to agriculture on a large scale. Farmers should be encouraged, while the government should also embark on mechanised farming and encourage the consumption of locally produced food, such as rice.
‘Nigerians Should Put An End To Ostentatious Living’ (His Eminence, Dr. Chukwuemeka Uche is the Prelate, Methodist Church of Nigeria).
NIGERIANS should embrace peace, for we cannot afford to divide the nation along tribal sentiments. We should, therefore, pray for religious tolerance, love, harmony and shun all vices. Nigerians should be ready to work hard and pray for recovery of our economy, social harmony and political maturity.
The government should cut off unnecessary expenses, excesses and embark on meaningful projects that would be beneficial to the average Nigerian. The government should make credible policies that would revamp the economy.
Government, should rehabilitate our roads, address transportation problems and build good roads. Government should also embark on agriculture in such a manner that it would cause reduction in the cost of food items. We should be able to plant enough cassava, and as we already have enough of beans, we should stop unnecessary importation of food items and go for the essentials. Nigerians should put an end to ostentatious living.
‘Nigerians Should Continue To Pray For Our Leaders’ (Dr. Sefiu Arifayobiega, Arole Faleye III, an Ifa Priest)
THE independence anniversary should be a day of joy for us, but what we are experiencing is far from being palatable. We need prayers, so that the country’s lost glory can be reinstated. It is sad that while some are doing their best to make the country better, others are working in the opposite directions. Despite the arrests and prosecution of corrupt leaders, the evil has not been stopped.
From the president to council chairmen, there should be sincerity to govern the people right. It is only truth and sincerity that can take us to the right destination. Government should rebuild the economy and alleviate our standard of living.
There is no way there won’t be opposition, but we should tolerate one another, live in peace and move the country forward. Our leaders should make life easy for the people.
Nigerians should also continue to pray for our leaders.
‘Nigerians Should Manage What Is Available’ (Bishop Isaac Nwaobia is the Lord Bishop of the Diocese of Isiala-Ngwa South).
My message to the nation is that it is important to note that many Nigerians have gone astray and need repentance. We should all return to God, Who is rich in mercy and ready to receive as many as would come back to Him, just like the prodigal son in the scriptures. Man could be hopeful, but if the hope were not based on God’s ability and power to bring to pass man’s expectation, man’s hope would be dashed.
The country’s leadership should be honest in all they do to ensure that citizens reap the fruits of democracy. Nigerians are facing a hard time, and this is the time for all political and religious leaders to come up with viable programmes that would cushion the effect of recession. Poverty alleviation programme, among others should be ideal to cushion the effect of the recession. Salaries should be paid and contractors remunerated.
Nigerians are suffering and the political climate is not favourable. Government needs to relax some laws that are causing frictions. Nigerians should know that recession is not new in the nation; only that it was not described as such. There were occasions, when Nigerians would eat once in a day or twice in a day, due to prevailing circumstances. All Nigerians need to do is to adjust during this period of recession and cut their clothes according to their cloth. They should manage what is available.