Lagos – President Goodluck Jonathan has urged Nigerians to put aside all religious differences and strive to build one great and united nation.
Jonathan made the appeal at the 7th edition of “The Experience’’, a gospel musical show held at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Lagos on Friday night.
“There’s nothing we cannot accomplish as a nation as long as we can put aside our religious differences. The road ahead demands great sacrifices but there is no shortcut to greatness,” he said.
He said though 2012 had been a very challenging year for the country, it was a testament to the indomitable spirit of the people they could still gather to thank God.
The president, who spoke via a recorded video message projected to a big screen at the venue, said: “This is an evidence that the Nigeria we dream of can be achieved.’’
He thanked Nigerians for praying for the country and said: “As long as there are committed Nigerians praying for our leaders, there shall be success.’’
The programme which had more than 500,000 people in attendance was organised by Pastor Paul Adefarasin of the House on the Rock Church.
Gospel artists that featured included Don Moen, Chevelle Franklyn, Deitrick Haddon, Israel Houghton, Fred Hammond, John Francis and Micah Stampley.
There were also performances by Sammie Okposo, Mike Aremu, Timi Dakolo, South Africa’s Soweto Spiritual Singers, Chosen Treasure, the choir of House on the Rocks and Michelle Williams who rendered the Nigerian anthem.
The event also featured great men of God who led the congregation in prayers for the country.
Among the ministers of the gospel were former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, who registered his joy at being at this year’s event.
He congratulated the convener, Adefarasin, on a very successful event.
Gowon lamented the present situation in some parts of northern Nigeria.
“What is happening in the north bleeds my heart. I thought after the bloodshed we’ve had over the years, we will not have any more but sadly we are still having it.
“Prayers are better than guns and weapons,” he said, as he led the congregation in prayers.
Rev. Felix Meduonye of the Foursquare Gospel Church prayed for improved infrastructure and electricity in Nigeria.
Among dignitaries at the programme were the First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs Abimbola Fashola, Gov. Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State and his wife and Ayo Oritsejafor the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). (NAN)