Be ready to make sacrifice, Osinbajo tells Nigerians
• Leaders task Buhari on restructuring
• Adebanjo, Okocha, Yakassai, Ikedifie seek review of polity
• ‘Nigerians will resist coup’
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has urged Nigerians to stop the blame game and contribute their quota for the greatness of the country. He spoke yesterday at the 2017 Democracy Day interdenominational church service with the theme: The Dry Bones Shall Live Again” Ezekiel 37:11, held at the National Christian Centre, Abuja to mark the nation’s 18 years of democracy.
Drawing from the biblical story of the good Samaritan to illustrate his message, the Acting President said Nigerians must not emulate the politician and cleric in the story that looked the other way when they saw the man that was attacked by thieves and left. Osinbajo urged Nigerians to be like the good Samaritan who took compassion on him, poured oil on his wounds and took him to the hospital.
“When we look on our country, it is not the state that is the story but how the people react when you see the nation that needs to be helped. “While the politician and cleric looked the other way when they saw the man that was half dead, the Good Samaritan had compassion on him, covered the wound with bandage and took him to the hospital.
“Who truly loves the nation, is it the priest that said a prayer and walked past, or the politician that looked and walked past or the Samaritan that took the wounded to the hospital, paid some money and said treat him, on my return I will upset the bill?”
According to the Acting President, “the nation requires those that can make the sacrifices to make it great, they are those whom Jesus spoke about, people that may not be of note but prepared to make the nation great again. Some are doctors, teachers, young graduates.
“There is sacrifice of integrity against corruption. When you speak against corruption, it fights back, so you must be ready to make sacrifice no matter how highly placed or small you are. Teachers must be prepared to teach, doctors prepared to provide health services, no matter what. Make the sacrifices required to make our nation great whether you are a leader or a follower.”
At the event, Osinbajo prayed God to heal President Muhammadu Buhari and bring him back safely. He also prayed for grace on those willing to make sacrifices to make the nation great.
The First scripture reading, Ezekiel 37:1-14, was taken by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, while the second scripture reading, Romans 129-2,1 was taken by Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
In his sermon, the presiding Apostle of the Word Communication Ministries and Founder of Christ Family Assembly Churches Apostle Sunday Popoola, said the service was mainly to thank God for 18 years of unbroken democracy, to reflect on how we have played our role in the polity and to pray and seek the face of God for our glorious future.
The cleric cautioned all those contemplating coup to jettison the thought, saying a military hijack of power would not succeed in the country any more as the people would resist it.
“If you are out there like me, you will know that Nigerians are fed up and are waiting for something to spark. We need to be patient with the present government which has something to offer. Coup cannot work now and will not succeed.”
Popoola said 100 years after amalgamation, the country cannot continue to blame the imperialists, while urging that the 2014 National Conference must be revisited and the different nations that make up Nigeria must decide the future.
Prayers were said for Buhari and Osinbajo. Prayer were also said for peace, security and flourishing development in the country. Also present during the service were the President of the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Supo Ayokunle; wife of the Acting President, Dolapo Osinbajo; House Speaker’s wife Gimbia Dogora; Mrs. Nkoyo Onnoghen; Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, members of the legislature, judiciary, the military, clerics, royal fathers and members of the diplomatic corps.
As Nigeria marks the second anniversary of the Buhari presidency and 18 years of uninterrupted civil rule today, the cry for the restructuring of the polity in line with the current socio-political and economic realities in the country has become more strident.
Stakeholders, who spoke to The Guardian, called for a federation that reflects the dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers before military adventurism and political expediencies moved the nation towards a unitary system.
Those who bared their minds, including Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Onuze Okocha; a member of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Tanko Yakassai; and former president of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr. Dozie Ikedife, harped on the need to redefine Nigeria in the light of current circumstances and in line with historical facts.
For instance, Adebanjo said the 1954 Constitution, “which our founding fathers, including the likes of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and the Sardauna of Sokoto agreed to, was a regional constitution, which allowed for healthy competition.
“When the military introduced the unitary system of government after the 1966 coup, the crisis in which the country found itself up till date started. Many other things that could have been responsible for our backwardness, including corruption, arose from the military de-structured system. That is why I said we must restructure the country.”
In the view of Okocha, Nigeria is yet to have a workable constitution that will reflect the aspirations of the people within a government that has proper structures.
He said: “We have to set up proper government structures. And this is at the root of it. Over and above it, is that we have to have a constitution that has provisions that meet the aims and aspirations of the majority of the peoples of Nigeria. That is the main issue.
“The constitution needs to be re-engineered, modified, amended and updated, not this piecemeal thing that the National Assembly is doing. The National Assembly should pass a law that will give impetus for the convocation of a proper national conference where all Nigerians will sit and decide what is the best way forward.”
Ikedife dwelt on the alleged marginalisation of the Southeast geo-political zone in the current dispensation and decried the insecurity that has pervaded the land.
“Security in the country has not really been the best because the Fulani herdsmen still kill people, ravage farmlands, rape women and cause destruction here and there. Economically, we are in a situation called recession. My own understanding of recession is that prices of goods and services are on the high side.
“We have a situation where goods and services are not there and the ones there are out of reach. The increased repatriation of Nigerians even from our own brothers in Africa, from countries like Libya, South Africa shows that something is wrong somewhere.”
Except for Yakassai who disagreed with the implementation of the reports of the 2014 National Conference, others wanted the Buhari administration to provide a new direction by adopting the letters of the confab towards providing a new constitution for the country.
The northern politician, however, called for the cancellation of the presidential system of government for the parliamentary system. According to him, the presidential system “is not helping the unity of the people of Nigeria. Rather it is making people put their eyes on that single position and forget about the issues that border us as a country. So I am of the view that we should go back to the parliamentary system of government.”
The respondents also alleged that most of the campaign promises of the administration are yet to be delivered to the electorate even though they all agreed that the anti-corruption war, even if not yet totally won, has exposed the extent of the rot in the system.
But the Federal Government seems unperturbed about the cry for restructuring as it lays emphasis on successes recorded in the last two years especially in the areas of economic diversification, social engineering, infrastructure and social welfare provision.
A report released by the presidency through the office of the Special Adviser on Media, Femi Adesina, disclosed that the government has actually taken giant leaps towards taking the country up the ladder of development in almost all sectors.