A former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, on Sunday, said Nigeria’s problems are better resolved through ceaseless prayers by the church, and not through violence, retaliation and unforgiveness.
Gowon, who is the President, Nigeria Prays Movement, made the statement at a special prayers session at the Deeper Life Bible Church Headquarters, in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the annual event brings together Christian faithful from various denominations as well as political office holders.
Gowon, who took his reading from 2 Chronicles 7: 14, urged the congregation to pray for the nation, saying that God is interested in the Nigeria situation at all times.
“The church must provide a moral compass for the nation to make the people imbibe the fear of God and to follow righteousness.
“Brethren, it is important to remind us that the church is God’s House of Prayer. With the general elections coming ahead, it is natural for people to become anxious and fearful of what the future holds for Nigeria.
“In the light of the wanton killings in the land-be it politically motivated or instigated by the dark agents of insurgency like Boko Haram, armed herdsmen or rustlers, there is great need for us to come together to pray and intercede for our dear nation and its people. God’s solutions to the problems of this country is not in guns, retaliation or physical weapons but in prevailing prayers of the church.
“May I ask the people of Nigeria to embrace the spirit of love, patriotism and commitment to the good of our nation, irrespective of political parties or religious affiliation or tribal differences,” he counselled.
According to him, citizens of this country hold important role of maintaining peace and unity for the nation’s progress and prosperity.
He cautioned Christians against reprisal attacks, retaliation, vengeance and religious intolerance in the guise of self-defence.
He further pleaded that “whatsoever the provocation, whatsoever the threat, for the sake of our country, Nigerian Christians should never resort to retaliation that could lead to a religious war.
“I call on the authorities to provide the necessary physical protection for all. We must continue to demand for the government to be alive to its primary responsibilities of protecting lives and properties of poor citizens.”
Gowon said the mission of Nigeria Prays was to mobilise all Nigerians to offer prayers for the healing and transformation of the nation.
The general commended the host minister, Pastor William Kumuyi, for his love and commitment to the nation’s growth and development.
In a message, President Muhammadu Buhari also commended Gowon and Kumuyi for their passionate love for national cohesion.
Buhari, whose message was read by his media aide, Mr. Femi Adesina, said described the love and commitment of Gowon and Kumuyi to the unity and cohesion of the country, as unparalleled.
According to him, “prayer is the right thing to do and the way to go. Nigeria is not a mistake. God that brought us this far won’t abandon us.
“It is right that we pray to God for the unity and prosperity of Nigeria. None of Nigeria’s challenges is greater than God. In God we trust and He will take us through the challenges.”
Also in his remarks, Pastor Kumuyi, who spoke on ‘Divine Assurance When Nigerian Prays’ said God will answer if His people, faced with national perplexity can pray, adding that “Nigeria won’t disintegrate, we are just starting.”
He expressed the believe that if God could turn around and show mercy to Nineveh, Egypt, Assyria and other countries as well as various individuals in the Bible days like Rahab, there is hope for Nigeria.
In a related development, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has admonished politicians to look after the welfare of Nigerians and not just for their fat salaries and allowances.
Onaiyekan made the call on Sunday in Abuja as the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, (NACA), held a special service to commemorate the 2018 World AIDS Day, with the theme “Know your status”.
“It should be politics of care for Nigerians not politics of fat salaries politicians give to themselves. Let’s look at the way we pay public servants. If politicians go to parliament to recoup losses on business, they will not have the time for the people, we know that not much service will be rendered”, he said.
According to the cleric, a good politician should be a well disciplined personality with selfless service to make live better for his people.
He said: “This should be reflected in the community where he lives in all ramifications. Discipline is necessary for an orderly society and political life, without it, the social life would become miserable.” NAN