By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja
The President, of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), His Eminence Archbishop Daniel Okoh, has urged the people not to lose hope in Nigeria, as the country marks its 62nd Independence Day celebration.
He stated this in his goodwill message on Saturday, titled ‘A united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria is possible’ in which he charged Nigerians to act in faith towards God and fellow citizens, and be confident that the nation would overcome its current challenges.
Although Archbishop Okoh noted that Nigerians are still grappling with issues of common concern, he urged them to do the best they can to ensure justice and peace reign in the country.
The CAN President said: “On behalf of myself and the Christian Association of Nigeria, I congratulate all Nigerians on this occasion of the 62nd Independence Day Anniversary of our dear country.
“As we commemorate the day Britain handed over the political leadership and governance of this nation to us, let us maintain with great enthusiasm the expectations that Nigeria would become a great nation that would be the pride of Africa and indeed black man.
“We must acknowledge that God Almighty has made it possible for us to take full charge of the abundance of natural and human resources that He freely gave to us.
“Despite the political instability our nation has experienced since Independence, the past and present leaders of our nation have demonstrated commitment towards ensuring that we remain united as one indivisible entity.
“Though we are still struggling and grappling with so many issues of collective concern, such as insecurity, kidnapping, unnecessary killing and decapitation of innocent citizens, diminishing value of human life, social injustice, desecration of worship places, a violent threat to the seat of political power, cheating, blatant stealing of our oil, flagrant degradation of our human environment, denial, betrayal, rejection and outright exclusion in many areas of our existence as a nation, all of which has put many in distress and has made many citizens angry, we must not lose hope!
“Let us continue to rely on the faithfulness of God as we continue to do the best we can to ensure justice and peace reign in our country.
“I urge you to take the unpleasant experiences that have plagued our nation in the past as necessary lessons of life that will make us a stronger, better and resilient nation on earth.
“In the face of the hardships in our country, let us continue to exercise patience through perseverance as we bring all our challenges to God, trusting that He will reveal His righteousness and grant us justice in our times of distress.
“In the same vein, let us be guided by the Holy Book in all situations as we continue to speak up and stand up against injustice and work for peace in a constructive way.
“As we march gallantly towards the next general elections, let us bear in mind that we have a stake in this country and so refrain from engaging in acts that will destroy the fortunes and the prospects of this nation.
“Rather than take up arms to kill each other and terrify innocent Nigerians, adults in this nation should take up their voters’ cards and go to the polls. We must resist any threat (strong or subtle) in whichever form to stop us from going out to vote on the day of elections.
“We must also shun vote-buying by being conscious of the truth that politicians who present some inducement to voters, especially on the polling day are not really interested in the welfare of the people
“I counsel you to look out for politicians who are genuine and who are sincere to provide the basics that will be the catalyst for economic growth and development.
“To be honest, I do not believe that all Nigerian politicians are the same – there are those that still have the interest of the people at heart. They are in our midst, but you must put aside primordial sentiments and be objective to be able to find them.
“We must not relent in praying for the success of the 2023 elections and supporting the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct free, fair, and peaceful polls next year.
“I appeal to the Federal government to go the extra mile to resolve the impasse with the university lecturers for the sake of our young people whose future is at stake.
“I also urge the government at all levels to provide basic infrastructure – security, good roads, constant electricity supply and basic health care for citizens and other residents in Nigeria.
“I pray to our Lord to rescue Nigeria from the hands of wicked people, grant us peace, and help us continue to love one another irrespective of our religious and ethnic diversities.”