Free us from Boko Haram in 2013 –Anglican Primate
From JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE, Abuja
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday assured that with the solid foundation laid in critical sectors like agriculture, power, transportation and roads, the country’s infrastructure will never go down again. Jonathan, who alongside his family members, ministers and personal aides were at the Diocese of Abuja Anglican Communion, the Cathedral Church of the Advent Life Camp, Gwarinpa, Abuja, for the Christmas Day service, said the church has a critical role to play if democracy must be sustained.
He noted that the church is vital to the success of his transformation agenda. The President said a situation where some criminal individuals vandalise government properties to sabotage government’s effort to provide stable power supply and other critical infrastructure, must be condemned, noting that no transformation can succeed without reformation.
The President who expressed happiness that the reforms in the agriculture, power and transportation sectors have been noticed by the Anglican Communion Primate, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, assured that his administration will fulfil its promises to the people. According to him, “the sermon today brought a number of things to the limelight, our transformation in agriculture and others. When we were planning for our campaign, we spent a whole day debating on what should be our theme and we settled for transformation. At the time it sounded strange and many people even asked what are we transforming, but I’m glad that today, people are beginning to see the transformation.
The church has a great role to play if the transformation must succeed because you can’t transform without reformation and it is the role of the church to do so. “I urge the church to come up with various programmes to talk about how we Nigerians can be reformed. “People play politics with things that affect even their own lives. You wonder why a person that carries a saw to cut down a conductor carrying cables that produce electricity, because you want the government to fail. This happened somewhere in Enugu. You begin to wonder if they are humans. That is why we need to reform if we must transform. I want to reassure Nigerians that we are committed and will keep faith with our promises.
At least, what we are doing in agriculture, transportation and power has been noted by the Primate. “We have laid solid foundation for power, agriculture and transport sectors and I can assure you, we will not go back again. “By human thinking, our administration is slow, I won’t say we are slow but we need to think through things properly if we are to make lasting impact. If we rush, we will make mistakes and sometimes it is more difficult to correct those mistakes. I want to assure Nigerians that any step we take whether little or giant, we won’t go back. And where we need to act fast we will do so, that we demonstrated with the flood because it required immediate response.
“Democracy must be dictated by ballot papers and I think we have achieved that with electoral reform. We will not go back but will continue to improve. “For our transformation to be sustained, we Nigerians must be reformed. We must not see our country as where we make money only and build walls and live as prisoners because of the criminal activities of few”, he said. Meanwhile, the Primate of all Nigeria/Bishop of Abuja Diocese, Rev. Okoh, has challenged the Federal Government to ensure in the New Years, that Nigerians are free from Boko Haram harassment, armed robbery, kidnapping, and those who practise political wickedness and the likes that have kept them in constant fear.
In his sermon, titled: “The message of the messiah presence in our midst”, he said those involved in armed robbery and kidnapping cannot blame unemployment for their crime, but greed, as no employment can pay them N50 million or more per job done as they constantly make. Preaching from Isaiah 9: 1-6, and John1:14, the Most Rev. Okoh decried that kidnappers were holding Nigerians to ransom and have heightened tension in the land to the extent that people are afraid to travel home to spend time with family and friends. “We cannot justify them (kidnappers) by looking at the issue of unemployment. A kidnapper is looking for big money and not a job.
There is no place of employment that can pay you N50 million or more for one job done. There is something wrong with our psyche if kidnappers have settled for that as a source of livelihood”. He said there is the need to end Boko Haram, adding that since the incidence of the Islamist sect many have stopped going to church. Okoh prayed that in the coming years, Nigeria will have perfect security, people will no longer have fear for personal security. Okoh said: “Jesus Christ has come to give us eternal salvation, shine his light in the darkness of the world. He has come as the Prince of Peace.
He came down to lift up the poor. The Lord came with the gospel of transformation and power that has transformed us from darkness to light. If you want to know God and his workings, then look at Jesus. He has given us moral light to shun what is wrong and do the right thing. We need to embrace peace in this country. We have of late been praying to have peace between man and man in our country. The Christian faith does not encourage tit for tat for the frequent killings because Christians are peace-bearers. Irrespective of provocations, we must promote peace.
“It also has the solution to the frequent tribalism that has affected us and cause chaos. For all in leadership traditional, religious, political, the emphasis of leadership is the poor, the downtrodden. At all times, their welfare and relief must occupy the priority of the leaders. “We need to thank God for what the government is trying to do that we will no longer be slave to massive rice producers like Thailand. It’s difficult to understand why it took us so long to realise that if we produce our rice that we can eat and generate jobs for our people. Also, we have started producing bread with local content and is good news to the poor.
It will be political miracles if we have constant power supply and it will be good news to the poor. The development of the railway system and the construction of road also will be good news to the poor. “Following the story of incarnation, the government can continue to come down to the poor because God is interested in the affairs of the poor”. The First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, read a lesson from Isaiah 9:2, 6&7. President Jonathan also read from Hebrew 1:1-12. Prayers were said for the first family, government and the entire country.