Tuesday, 3rd October 2023
<To guardian.ng

Kukah tasks Nigerians, next government on nation building

By Saxone Akhaine, Abdulganiyu Alabi (Kaduna) and Sodiq Omolaoye (Abuja)
10 April 2023   |   3:54 am
Following a resurgence of insecurity in the country, Nigerians have been charged to pray and take action to fashion out the Nigeria of their dreams, as preparations to usher in the newly elected leaders next month reaches crescendo.

• Asks Tinubu to tackle insecurity
• El-Rufai, Defence minister seek prayers for Nigeria
• Osinbajo, SGF preach unity, love, sacrifice
• Obi demands action to stem killings, kidnappings
• De-escalate brewing tension, Muslim, Christian youths beg Nigerians

Following a resurgence of insecurity in the country, Nigerians have been charged to pray and take action to fashion out the Nigeria of their dreams, as preparations to usher in the newly elected leaders next month reaches crescendo.

In his Easter homily, yesterday, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Most Rev. Matthew Kukah, called on Nigerians to rise and reclaim their country from the clutches of the current administration. 

The Bishop spoke about the challenges Nigerians have faced in the past years, including failure of the electoral system, hate speech against imaginary enemies and corruption among others. He also highlighted failure of the political class to address these issues and provide solutions that would improve the lives of Nigerians.

Kukah called on Nigerians to take action and reclaim their country from those who have failed them. While noting that Nigeria is being confronted by a series of security challenges ranging from banditry in the Northwest and North Central, terrorism in the Northeast, militancy in the South-South to calls for secession in the Southeast, among others, he tasked the incoming administration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu to address the security challenges facing the country.

Despite efforts by security agencies and the Federal Government to nip insecurity in the bud, gunmen have continued to wreak havoc, with resurgence in activities after the general elections. Kukah told Tinubu not only to address the situation, but also begin the healing process for the teeming population.

“Keep us alive because only the living can enjoy infrastructure. I am hopeful that you will appreciate that the most urgent task facing our nation is not infrastructure or the usual cheap talk about dividends of democracy.

“For now, the most urgent mission is to start a psychological journey of making Nigerians feel whole again, of creating a large tent of opportunity and hope for us all, of expanding the frontiers of our collective freedom, of cutting off the chains of ethnicity and religious bigotry, of helping us recover from the feeling of collective rape by those who imported the men of darkness that destroyed our country, of recovering our country and placing us on the path to our greatness, of exorcising the ghost of nepotism and religious bigotry.”

He commended the youth on the role they played during the last general elections and admonished them to maintain the momentum until they take back the country and set it on the path of glory.

However, the Bishop commended President Muhammadu Buhari for recognizing that his criticisms of the current administration were not borne out of malice, but rather a desire to see Nigeria reach its full potential. 

“You may have followed my engagement with you through these messages over the years. You publicly referred to me during one of our visits as your number one public critic with a huge smile. I commend you for the fact that you have known that none of this was done out of malice but that we want the best for our country. May God guide you in retirement, while we all embark on the challenge of reclaiming the country we knew before you came.”

Kukah also emphasised the critical role that the judiciary plays in shaping the future of Nigeria. Consequently, he urged the Justices of the Bench to recognise the immense responsibility that rests on their shoulders and to approach their work with a deep commitment to justice, fairness and the rule of law.

“Nigerians are looking up to you to reclaim their trust in you as the interpreters of the spirit of our laws. The future of our country is in your hands and hangs on your deliberations. You have only your consciences and your God to answer to when you listen to the claims and counter claims of lawyers while you decide the future of our country.

“I will not judge you. I can only pray that God gives you grace. It will be up to you to decide how you use that gift, which no amount of influence or power can buy.

“Nigerians are saddened that your sacred temples have been invaded by the political class leaving the toxic fumes that now threaten your reputation as the last hope for all citizens. It is sad that your hard-earned reputation is undergoing very severe stress and pressure from those who want justice on their own terms,” Kukah added.

AS Christians in Nigeria join other faithful worldwide to celebrate Easter, commemorating the resurrection of Christ from the dead, all Nigerians should remember God’s love to humanity during this season and always. This was the message of Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday.

In a brief chat with journalists after the Easter Sunday service at the Aso Villa Chapel, Abuja, he called on all Nigerians to show love to one another.

“My message is contained in the scripture in John 3:16, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life.’

“It’s a message of the amazing love of Jesus Christ; amazing love of God, that he gave up his son so that you and I will not have to pay again for our sins. So, it is an amazing day; a fantastic day and I wish you all a Happy Easter and a great and happy resurrection morning,” the VP stated.

In his Easter message, the State House Chaplain, Pastor Joseph Malomo, noted that Easter was a time of sacrifice; and a time to remind humanity of God’s love and His salvation of mankind.

On his part, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, said Easter is an important season in the life of every Christian. He said there are two lessons for Nigerians to learn; the lessons of sacrifice and legacy.

“Christ came into the world; gave his life sacrificially for the redemption of mankind; what that teaches us is that we must sacrifice for our communities and for our nation.

“The second lesson is a lesson of legacy; when he was leaving, he gave a great commission. He said: go into the world; preach the gospel to everyone; so we have a duty as believers, as Christians to make sure that everyone hears the gospel—the redemption gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“These are two strong messages that I leave with Nigerians today—the need for unity, the need for brotherliness; the need for us to sacrifice for one another. That is the only way we can grow and become a sustainable country,’’ he said.

GOVERNOR Nasir el-Rufa’I of Kaduna State also called on Nigerians to pray for the country and the state. He said the lessons of Easter are profound and deep, demonstrating their timeless power to inspire people over the ages.  

Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye, said in a statement: “On behalf of the Kaduna State government, the governor congratulated Christian faithful on the completion of Lent, during which the faithful engaged in acts of fasting.

“The lessons of Easter are profound and deep, demonstrating their timeless power to inspire people over the ages. This festival encourages people of faith to continue to practice in our daily lives the lessons of sacrifice, care for the poor, deep spiritual reflection and love for all humankind, irrespective of tribe or religion.

“As we celebrate Easter, let us reflect on the timeless resonance of the message that hope triumphs over despair. Let us uphold each other in our common humanity and pray for peace in our land. Let us do our best to promote harmony in our communities and reject strife in our land. Let hope never depart from our hearts. Let us pray for our country and our dear state as we prepare to usher in elected new leaderships next month.”

In a related development, the Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Salihi Magashi (retd), has urged Christians to emulate the virtue of sacrifice by Christ for enhanced participation in nation building.

In a statement by the minister’s media aide, Mohammad Abdulkadri, Magashi charged Christians to seize the opportunity provided by the Easter celebration to embrace spiritual rejuvenation and to pray fervently for God’s intervention to end insecurity in parts of the country. He further admonished Christians to offer prayers for the leadership of the country at all levels.
He also urged Nigerians to galvanize support for the officers and personnel of the military and para-military who do not enjoy public holidays in defending the nation’s territorial integrity.

MEANWHILE, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, has charged the Federal Government to take extraordinary measures to address insecurity.

The former governor of Anambra State made the call while condemning the killing of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Benue State. Obi also condemned the abduction of some residents in Wanzamai village in Zamfara State.

Obi wrote on his Twitter page: “I am deeply saddened by reports of the visceral violence and gruesome killing of IDPs in Benue and the kidnapping of dozens of people in Zamfara. Such bloodletting is unconscionable and stands condemned. Government and all stakeholders must take extraordinary measures to address this menace that is impacting negatively on our existence as a nation.”

FOLLOWING the conduct of the 2023 general elections and the attendant hostilities that came with the poll, Muslim and Christian youths across the country have urged Nigerians to de-escalate acts leading to tension and disunity in Nigeria, especially on social media, for national cohesion. 

The youth made the plea at a religious dialogue, tagged, Faith Talk: We Are One, organised by a Civil Society Organisation, Connected Development at the weekend in Abuja. 

The dialogue was aimed at initiating an open ground for conversations and to strategise for a collective way forward in spite of the differences of Nigerians in religion and ethnicity.

Speaking, chief executive officer, CODE, Hamzat Lawal, stressed the need for peace in nation building, saying “we are one in our different looks, beliefs, ethnicity and religion.”

According to him, in the spirit of Ramadan and Easther celebration, Nigerian youths must reflect, de-escalate the tension and negative narrative ongoing in the digital media space to reshape the country for prosperity. 

In this article