Ben Agande, Abuja
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday said neither Boko Haram or any group can frustrate the country from attaining it’s deserved place in the comity of nations.
Speaking at a church service at the National Christian centre to commemorate the 53rd Independence anniversary of the nation, President Jonathan said those who want to use the diversity of the nation to create crisis in the country will not succeed because God has a purpose for allowing Lord Lugard to amalgamate the northern and Southern Protectorate to form the nation.
According to the president, the killing of about twenty one students at the college of Education in Yobe state by suspected Boko Haram terrorists could be depressing but assure that despite the challenge, Nigeria still has a very bright future.
“Today you will agree with me that if you are in my shoes you will lack the words to say anything. We had this programme in mind and when we went to bed last night and agreed that we will all gather here to thank God for what he has done for this country. Only few minutes after midnight about twenty one students were murdered by a group that called themselves Boko Haram.
“If you were wearing my shoes what comment will you have to tell Nigerians what message will you tell the parents of these young people, our future leaders who were killed at the College of Agriculture? Can you say that the killing of these students is political? Those students belong to which political parties? Will you say it was ethnic cleansing? Those students belong to which ethnic group in Nigeria? Was it religious? Those students were they Christians or Muslims or what? This is what we see on a daily basis. It is quite depressing but having listen to the message of the CAN president you will agree with me that all of us have hope.
“By God’s grace we will get to where we want to be as a nation. The journey of a nation is just like the journey of an individual. We must have ups and down. The challenges we are seeing now is very transient. We will surely get to where we want to be.
“No Boko Haram or any group can frustrate this nation. Just like our lord said though the spirit is willing our body is weak. Sometimes our body may be weak. Sometimes our body will be very weak. We feel the pains of those who are direct relations of those who were killed carelessly. These are creations of the devil to slow down our progress as a nation. We have reached the turning point of where we must move and join the developed societies” the president said.
The president added that though some people have expressed don’t about the country, God could not have made a mistake by letting Lord Lugard bring us together as one country.
“As we look up to our centenary celebrations, there are quite a number of questions people sometimes ask themselves that maybe Lord Lugard made a mistake to amalgamAte the northern and southern part of our country. People talk about Sovereign National Conference and so on. But those of us who are Christians know that God does not make mistakes. He created a country with a very high degree of diversity in terms of human beings, our culture and even environment; in terms of the ecological zones for agriculture and tourism and all these are to be exploited for the development of the country.
“For those who are trying to exploit our diversity to create problems for us as a nation will not succeed. I assure you that Those who voted and put us here we will continue to do our best despite the challenges and we will surely leave this country better that we met it. That is my pledge and that is the pledge of the government that you voted to be here” he said.
He added that his administration has put in place measures that will make the country achieve its potentials as a great nation.
“if you look at the journey of nations, before you liberate people, you must make sure that there are civilise ways of electing their leaders and we have almost reached there. We will make sure that we conduct free and fair election. Forces of evil don’t want it that way. They want a situation where they will impose themselves or others on the people.
“Immediately we liberalise the power sector it will be like the telecommunication sector. We have almost gone through the first phase of the privatisation. People thought that because of corruption we will not succeed but we have privatise almost three billion worth of federal government assets and there are no stories of wrong doing. This is the turning point because power is critical to the development of any society” he said.
Earlier in his sermon the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor said despite the challenges the country is facing, God will liberate it from forces of evil saying that “Nigeria is in the hands of God”.
He called on political office holders to make sacrifices for the good of the country adding that if they will make half of their earning available to be used for the over all good of the country Nigerians will be willing to make sacrifice for the country.
While expressing the willingness of CAN to mediate in the dispute between the federal government and the academic staff union of universities, Pastor Oritsejafor called on both parties to be prepared to shift ground for the interests of the students and the nation.
The service was attended by the president of the senate, David Mark who read the first bible Passage; former presidents Ernest Shonekan and Yakubu Gowon, the deputy speaker of the house of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha and several other government functionaries