Clerics unveil expectations for 2020
As the New Year knocks on the door, what should Nigerians do to make 2020 more prosperous and better?
What does God have in store for them in the New Year? What is He telling them through religious leaders about the coming year? CHRIS IREKAMBA and AYOYINKA JEGEDE report.
‘Govt Must Deal With Corruption/Insecurity Decisively’
(Most Rev Emmanuel Badejo, Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Oyo)
NEW year celebrations are upon us again, coming right on the heels of Christmas, which is the supreme celebration of God’s love for humanity and creation through Jesus Christ. The Christian spirit is that the New Year brings new things and new realities positively. Indeed, that is the way God wills it. He reminds us: “Look, I am doing something new, now it emerges; can you not see it? Yes, I am making a road in the desert and rivers in wastelands” (Is 43:19). I, therefore, naturally pray for all the best for Nigeria and say to all “Happy New Year.” For Nigeria to thrive in the New Year, democratic culture must grow stronger; the rule of law be better respected; civil and religious rights be guaranteed and protected; unemployment must be tackled and the economy must improve.
We cannot keep deceiving ourselves, embracing praise singers and scoffing at criticisms of our ways. Wishes and prophecies are not enough to make Nigeria better. As things stand, many Nigerians are in desperation, as the high level of crime and suicides show. Politicians and leaders and those in the civil service must humbly acknowledge that our strategies and policies need upgrading. Nigeria might be in great danger, if we do not deal more with corruption and insecurity of life and property, which has generated over two million internally displaced people and caused many to flee the country for greener pastures. With a high level of unemployment and over 10 million out-of-school children, government must simply work harder.
Nigeria cannot live in peace if blatant disrespect of court rulings continues. It certainly cannot develop, if such infrastructure as power supply and transportation network remains so poor. The cost of governance kept high by exploitative policies and laws, must be addressed. True democracy is government with the people, not about a few elected people wielding power and privileges and servicing partisan interests. We must build a united Nigeria by healing deep-seated hurts and wounds. We must remember that the power of the people will always outlast the people in power. Therefore, government at all levels must give Nigerians a sense of belonging through honest and fair governance. With the fear of God, Nigerians must do what is right at all times and render honest selfless service, wherever they find themselves. The Bible says the age may be evil, but our lives must transform it. There is no better time for that than now for a new Nigeria in the New Year!
‘Our Leaders Should Reduce Their
Salaries/Entitlements In 2020’
(Most Rev (Dr.) Emmanuel A.S. Egbunu, Bishop of Lokoja Diocese)
FIRST, we must thank God for keeping us alive to see 2020.
As Christians, we must look beyond what we see around us to the One Who’s got the whole world in His hands: God Almighty. In His Word, we have enough admonitions that we should “Fear not.” Indeed, there is one to last each day of the whole year. The words of Psalmist in Psalm 37 are so relevant now: “Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away… A little while and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found” (vv1-2, 10).
As for expectations, we hope for the best. Our trust is in God to use those in positions of power to do what is right for citizens’ benefit. Our nation has come under the searchlight from many quarters, and we need to take seriously not just what people say about us, but what we can, in all honesty, see to be true. Our roads are so dangerous and most unsafe.
Our educational system has virtually collapsed at all levels, and it is the private initiatives that can now salvage that sector. Our health sector has sent many people to early graves, not because the personnel are incompetent, but because the equipment is simply archaic. We are still using things that have long been consigned to the museums.
We must return to the fear of God and do what is right or else, God Himself will fight against us.
The impunity, with which evil is being carried out, both by political and religious leaders, as well as the average Nigerian, is alarming, and a return to the Lord is the only way we can be healed. There are many Nigerians outside the country who are making great breakthroughs, and who are ready to come home and help rebuild the nation. But we need to create the enabling environment to encourage them.
Religion has been made a tool for division by politicians, and we must be courageous enough to know when people hide under religion to do evil. The young girls abducted, notably, Leah Sharibu, have been torn from their parents for so long, with all the trauma of that experience, and our leaders make it look like it is an impossible situation to redress. God is watching and will call our leaders to account. Many people have been uprooted from their ancestral homes and are now in IDP camps, where even the little that is provided is subjected to so much storytelling. We need to fear God.
The counsel our nation needs now is that our leaders must make citizens’ welfare top priority. What has been used to execute election malpractices and the huge sums that have gone down the drain for substandard service delivery could have made Nigeria the envy of the world, if only a fraction of it had been properly deployed. It is not too late to change our attitude so that our story will change for the better.
‘Love Your Nation And Your Fellow Nigerians
(Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo A. Ayokunle, President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)
GOD alone deserves praise for the New Year because none of us has power over life. He is the Creator and determiner of life.
In Jeremiah 29:11, the Bible says, ‘I know the thoughts I have towards you, plan of good and not evil, to give you a future and a hope.’
God’s plan for us and for Nigeria is good. The good will come if we cooperate with God and allow Him to have His way. We will only be our own enemy if we walk in our own way and neglect His Will. The pathway to this is simple: fear God by obeying Him and then, love your nation by loving your fellow Nigerians. Do not do evil to your neighbour; love your neighbour, as yourself.
We would show our seriousness in experiencing what the good Lord has prepared for us, if we forsake all evil acts we perpetrate against our fellow Nigerians and allow peace to reign. Anyone that loves God and obeys Him will not be involved in kidnapping for whatever reason but would earn his/her daily bread through hard work. God’s love is demonstrated in our lives for fellow humans by running away from banditry, terrorism, nepotism, ethnicity, armed robbery and all things that would make life bitter for others and breach the peace of the community.
Nigerians must learn to embrace one another for us to do peaceful and productive pilgrimage together. All shortcuts to make it in life must be avoided.
Secondly, those in government must also lead the nation aright. All Nigerians must be loved and allowed to fulfil their purpose in life through equal opportunities. Ethnocentrism must be avoided in the allocation of the nation’s resources, while equity must be embraced. Those appointed must spread across all the zones in Nigeria for a sense of belonging. There is no zone, today, where we do not have credible and technocrats that can deliver the dividends of democracy.
Additionally, those in government and all of us wherever we are must run away from embezzling our commonwealth. Applying the nation’s resources by building such infrastructural amenities as roads, befitting airports, stable supply of electricity, state-of-the-art healthcare facilities and quality education, among others, would make the New Year desirable for everyone in the nation, as God intends it.
Above all, after we have done our best, we should not cease from praying, as everything depends on prayer. Prayer makes things to work out because God answers prayers. Definitely, Nigeria shall rise above limitations and challenges.
‘Faith Conquers All Challenges Including
That Of 2020’
(Bishop Francis Wale Oke, President, Sword of the Spirit Ministry, Ibadan/presiding Bishop of Christ Life Church, Worldwide)
2020 is going to be good, by the mercy of God. Now, the New Year will come with its challenges and is always the case with every year. Those who trust in God and hope in the Lord, He will give them the courage to overcome in the New Year, no matter the challenges. As we look unto God, everything will be alright.
It’s good that the budget has been signed, which is very rare. But then, it should be executed, and the masses should feel its impact.
We are praying for Nigeria, and I call on intercessors to rise up and pray more. We have challenges as a nation. We should not live by fear but by faith. The just shall live by faith. There is no challenge that faith cannot conquer and so, as we move into 2020 by faith, the Lord will give us faith to overcome 2020 challenges.
‘Policies Should Have Human Face In 2020’
(His Grace, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, Catholic Archbishop of Lagos)
WHAT we expect in the coming year is that government’s policies should be done in such a way as to give people a chance to still be able to live now, while waiting for the future to be better. In other words, the economic policies should come with a human face that will make people happy. For Nigerians, we expect we will continue to do our best to be patriotic. Nigeria is the way it is, but it can be better if the citizens and government do their bit. And so, loyalty, as well as patriotism at this point in time is very necessary for our country to grow. Beyond that, citizens should also be able to engage more with those in government, so that they will know how we feel and the government should also understand the challenges that people are facing and do more than before.
There is so much poverty in the land, and there is no clear indication that poverty will be alleviated in the coming year. Today, many people don’t have jobs and there is no prospect that people are getting jobs very soon in the coming year unless the Federal Government does something dramatic. So, one is fearful about that. One is also fearful concerning insecurity in the land, the menace of Boko Haram, kidnappers and the Fulani herdsmen. We don’t see any indication that the government is going to put that behind us. We just hope 2020 will be better.
‘In 2020, Nigerians Should Decide To Do The Right Thing’
(Rev. (Dr.) Felix Omobude, President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN)
IAM, not such a prophet that will tell you the world will be coming to an end in 2020. The New Year is coming with its own peculiarities. Human beings will still be human beings, and if we are expecting solutions from the human angle, we may be expecting too much because solutions to the problem of this world are not entirely human. There is a divine influence; a divine dimension. That is why Nigerians and indeed all people of goodwill must seek God. Nobody should be afraid that the sky is going to fall in 2020. We should have faith solidly in God, Who saw us through 2019. He will also lead us into 2020. We should hope for the best in all ramifications in 2020.
I want to call on the Church to hold on tenaciously to its faith to accommodate those who don’t necessarily share in our faith. Christians should allow their light to shine in the dark world, especially in 2020.
Nigerians should be prayerful in 2020. We should be determined to do the right thing. This government has launched a war against corruption, and I think it’s the right thing to do because corruption has set us back in several ways. However, it should be fought sincerely. In 2020, Nigerians should decide to do the right thing.
The government may not be able to build skyscrapers or build the tallest buildings. That’s not Nigerians’ yearning. The government should provide security. These days, you can’t travel on the highway, as kidnapping, robbery and all kinds of crimes are the order of the day. Government should do the needful, equip the police and invest in security.
‘I Don’t Have Fears, I Have Faith’
(Archbishop Joseph Imariabe Ojo, General Overseer/presiding Bishop of Calvary Kingdom Church Int’l, Lagos)
IN 2020, righteousness will exalt those that uphold righteousness. People will be lifted by a righteous life. The Bible says, ‘righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any nation.’ I’m hopeful that in 2020, people will get closer to God. Those thinking that money is everything have realised that money is not everything, after all.
2020 is a year of uplifting. I don’t have fears; rather, I have faith because the just shall live by faith. God’s children have a different economy, which is that of God. The Bible says ‘we are in the world, but we are not of the world.’ Unbelievers cannot understand that. The truth is that we look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. He’s the One that started it. He’s the One that will fulfil it. Therefore, I have no fear but faith that God is in control in 2020.
‘Govt Should Implement 2020 Budget To The Letter’
(Dr. Samuel Uche, Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria)
NIGERIA will be great next year. Therefore, all fears concerning negative things will not come to pass. God has revealed to me that, indeed, our leaders and the followers will have a change of heart. And everybody will join hands to build a viable Nigeria. Next year, there is hope and there will be job opportunities and other blessings for our teeming youths.
Government at all levels should be magnanimous and generous. They should care for the people. They should make the budget work and implement it to the letter. They should ensure that in the coming year, young graduates should be given employment opportunities. In 2020, I am not afraid because God is in control.
‘I Don’t Have Any Fears In 2020’
(Pastor ’Tunde Bakare, Senior Pastor, The Latter Rain Assembly, Lagos)
I DON’T have fears about 2020. I have faith in God, and Nigerians should be hopeful, as God does not abandon His own people. He will intervene in all matters concerning Nigeria, and Nigeria as a nation will flourish and survive.