By Chris Ochayi
ABUJA—Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd), has counselled Nigerian leaders against making unguarded speeches capable of causing instability in the polity.
He said the country required peace in order to attain the much-desired growth and development.
Gowon, who spoke at the 2017 Annual Seminar of the Knights of St. John International Commandery 574, Tuesday night in Abuja, said no nation could develop without peace.
He said: “As leaders, we should not be found with unguarded statements (even if provoked), which do not make for peace and development of the society. Peace is the basis of any development; no nation can develop without peace.
“I also commend the organisers for coming up with the theme of this year’s annual seminar, which is very apt,‘The Role of the Fear of God in Nation Building,’ basically because, the current trend in our beloved country, where other factors other than the fear of God are trying to influence our actions and behaviour to disintegrate and destroy our beloved country Nigeria.
“We really then need to have a serious appraisal of our actions and prayerfully ask God to forgive us and heal our land.
“Every pronouncement must be seasoned with the capacity to encourage and uplift men to work hard towards the unity, peace and growth of the nation. We must show love for each other, shun any divisive actions and utterances; this is the mark of godliness and the fear of God that can make our nation great.”
“As Leader of the flock of God and light to a dark world and generation, we should teach the truth, stand by it and live by it. The Bible tells us to buy the truth and sell it not. The truth any man possesses is the only solid foundation on which he (and indeed the whole nation) can grow.
“When we allow the fear of God to dominate us, there will be effective representation, good governance, fair and equitable distribution of the commonwealth of the people, security, safety and welfare of the populace.”
‘’This is what we all accept as evidence of development. As leader, we should demonstrate our fear and reverence for God through fervent prayers for the land and its people since it is the most potent weapon against the devil. We must rebuke and resist sin and all forms of ungodliness.
“We must consult with men even as we take advice from heaven. We must appreciate the external physical and spiritual aggressions against the nation and keep them in check always. Acrimonies and wrangling predicated on inordinate desires and affections must be contained for us to face a common enemy which is the devil and all his agents.”
Gen. Gowon warned that “nations and kingdoms that did not reverence or fear God were destroyed in history e.g. Sodom and Gomorrah, during the days of Noah. Kings and rulers that did not fear and reverence God paid with their lives e.g. Herod, Belshazzar, Nebuchadnezzar.
“The same things that historical kings and their kingdoms did in ancient times and ended in destruction are still with the present generation; and perhaps in more heinous dimensions. The indices include greed, lust, corruption, pride, indecency, unfaithfulness, malice, anger, selfishness, wickedness and many other evils which are uncountable.
“The results of these are strife, hatred, distrust, wars, etc. These vices, are destroyers of nations and enemies of progress, painfully they have crept into all the structure of our society, particularly the religious, political and cultural institutions and are destroying the very foundations of our corporate existence and our collective desire towards building a very dynamic and progressive nation. “