•..Flags off one year prayer project
From JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE, Abuja
The President yesterday solicited the co-operation of all Nigerians in moving the country forward. He spoke in Abuja during an interdenominational church service to mark Nigeria’s 52nd Independence anniversary, which comes up today. Quoting from 2 Corinthians 10:4, President Goodluck Jonathan said he alone could not solve Nigeria’s problems. The service had the theme: The weapons of our warfare are not carnal.
This is even as he expressed confidence that there are many Nehemiahs in the National Assembly, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) judiciary, educational and private sectors that would rebuild the nation just like God used Prophet Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
While appreciating Christians, some religious leaders, especially those praying in the remote areas for his government to succeed because they know if it succeeds, their children will succeed, Jonathan assured that no matter the challenges facing the country, they were temporary and Nigeria shall overcome. The President noted for the umpteenth time that his administration had sanitised the electoral process, adding that corruption would soon be a thing of the past.
“On corruption, Transparency International that has never spared Nigeria admitted in its latest rating that Nigeria is second to America in the commitment to the fight of corruption. God willing, we shall overcome it. “On the economic environment, at least, 249 new companies, according to the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, have entered the market. We shall continue to work hard to create jobs for our people.
“I want to assure Nigerians we will not sleep until we stabilise power in this country. “Leadership at all levels is collective. One, person cannot change a nation. Agreed, the leader matters but he cannot change things alone. All of us Nigerians must work together to rebuild our nation. Our men and women will change things in this country.
There are so many Nehemiahs in the National Assembly, the Federal Executive Council, our judiciary; our teachers, businessmen and women and I believe God will use these Nehemiahs to rebuild the country. “I can say again that Nigeria will succeed. With your cooperation, we shall succeed,” he said. President Jonathan later flagged off the one-year prayer project.” He said prayers helped the United States in determining the direction of America and can do same for Nigeria.
Also, Pastor Ayo Ortisejafor, the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), described Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation being funded by those who want to create political space for themselves and those who want to see Nigeria divided. Ortisejafor described as wickedness that Nigeria, according to the Centre for Management Development (CMD) spends N1.6 trillion on generators annually, while “a good number of Nigerians only see electricity cables without having light. Beautiful homes dot the landscape of our major cities while many Nigerians don’t have a place to lay their heads.
For people to be surrounded by so much water and yet not have clean pipe – born water to drink. For men to make incarnations and satanic pronouncements over the nation in shrines and strange altars, all because some of them desire positions at all cost. For people to continue to play politics of religion and ethnicity, while a group of men continue to swell the numbers of widows and orphans on a daily basis.” In his message titled: “God still answers prayers”, and taken from 2 Chronicles 7:14, Pastor Ortisejafor said the question that had bothered him for so long is:
“Does God hear our prayers or has he abandoned us? According to him, “we cannot judge God’s ability to perform on what we see but what we know about God. “On the scripture we read, God expects the church to fast and pray for Nigeria but so our church does not become a ritual, He gives two very important conditions before God can answer prayer. “One, God says we must humble ourselves.
He said he will not forget the cries of the humble. He resists the proud and gives grace to humble. “God hates pride and pride can hinder prayers. If we are genuinely serious about getting answers to national prayers, we must deal with the issues of pride. “The fact that I’m President of CAN does not make me God. “Many of our politicians today especially those elected, are so disconnected from the people and it can be put down to one thing, pride! “When you are disconnected from the people, you become the master and they, your servants. “Pride can hinder prayers and humility brings God’s hand on the people.
“The second condition for answered prayer is, we must turn from our wicked ways. The word of God says shall we continue in sin that grace may abound. “Boko Haram is a terrorist organisation. The activities of Boko Haram are not fuelled by poverty but by a religious fundamentalist ideology. Boko Haram is being funded from within by people who desire to use them to create political space for themselves and funded from without by those who want to see Nigeria divided along religious-ethnic lines. Boko Haram is also sustained by media apologist who feed the unsuspecting public with politically incorrect half-truths.
As a nation, as a people, if we are serious about getting answers to our national prayers, we must as a matter of urgency, turn from our wicked ways. Let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end. “We can have a Nigeria we desire, where no one is oppressed, not judge by religion or tribe but by their content. We can have the Nigeria that we desire”. Also quoting from 1 Kings 18:41, Ortisejafor said: “I speak as a prophet of this nation. It is true that I cannot see the rain but I hear the sound of abundance of rain. The rain of joy, peace, love, security, unity, prosperity.
“The rain will sweep away evil and division. “We will pray for the nation in the next one year. The prayer points of forgiveness and pray for rain that will unite Nigeria. The rain that will divide the good for the evil. “If we meet those conditions, God will hear from heaven, forgive our sins and heal our land (Nigeria). In his remarks, the convener of Nigeria Prays and former Head of State, Dr. Yakubu Gowon, spoke on the intercessory prayer for Nigeria’s transformation. He said this time calls for sober reflection, greater volume of prayer and supplication.
Gowon said the special independence prayers is the gathering of builders and watchmen of our nation, to seek the face of God for the difficulties facing the country and to set the tone for transformation. He said “together, we can rescue our nation from its present difficulties”. Catholic Pontif, Pope Benedict also sent message praying for peace and hope for Nigeria. Senate President David Mark took the First Bible Reading which was taken from the book of 1 Samuel 17:38-47. While the second scripture 2 Corinthians 10:1-5 was taken by President jonathan.
Prayers were said for the President and leaders of the Nigerian Nation, moral decadence, indiscipline and corruption, poverty, unemployment and natural disaster, insecurity, terrorism, conflicts, unrest and the church. Some of the dignitaries present were former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Vice President Alex Ekwueme, Senate President David Mark, Deputy Senate President, Deputy Speaker, ministers, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Chief of Staff, Chief of Defence Staff and service chiefs, top government functionaries, top politicians and members of diplomatic corps.