By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong has said that despite current challenges facing Nigeria, he was optimistic the country will rise to fulfil its divine mandate as the largest black nation in the world.
He noted the country has made “giant strides in the last 60 years in various areas including education, health, science and technology, agriculture, infrastructure and democracy,” and charge citizens not to give up as the task of making the country great rest on the positive contributions of every citizen.
The Governor spoke on Sunday during a Church service at the St. Monica’s Catholic Church, Rantya, Jos where he marked the 60th independence anniversary of Nigeria.
While acknowledging that the nation still faces other challenges related to security, good governance, unity and corruption, Lalong said Nigerians must be united to resolve these issues in order to make room for development.
According to him, “The responsibility of making Nigeria great belongs to all of us that dwell in it. It is our country and we have no other. While we hold accountable those in public offices (whether elected or appointed) who have been given the assignment of leadership to be accountable, fair, just and proactive, we cannot fail to support them. Failure to support them because of differences of religion, ethnicity, politics and other affiliations will keep all of us running in circles and down.”
In his homily, Msgnr. Prof. Cletus Gotan citing Ezekiel 18:25-28 and Philippians 2:1-11 among other scriptures said Nigeria is a great country which is blessed in all aspects but has been held down by greed, political maladministration, corruption, poverty and insecurity.
He said Nigeria is in need of a Nehemiah who will galvanise positive action for emancipation of the nation to a direction where justice, equity, fairness, righteousness and tolerance will take precedence over parochial considerations which appear to have been given prominence in governance.
State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Polycarp Lubo said the Church on the Plateau will continue to pray for the peace and progress of Nigeria as well as Plateau State.
Director General of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) Sir. Joseph Ari was also at the service to offer thanksgiving to God for his reappointment for a second term in office by President Muhammadu Buhari.