The Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said Nigeria may break up if efforts are not made to address the cracks.
He said efforts to mend the crack may be opposed, but such opposition would be defeated with focus and consistent prayers.
Osinbajo gave the warning on Sunday in Abuja at an interdenominational church service to commemorate Nigeria’s 60th Independence anniversary.
The Vice-President was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, at the National Ecumenical Centre, where the anniversary service held.
In attendance were representatives of the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Head of Service of the Federation, Folashade Yemi-Esan; permanent secretaries, military officials, members of the diplomatic community and other senior government officials.
Referencing the biblical story of how Nehemiah championed the rebuilding of the broken walls of Jerusalem, Osinbajo said, “The story should be a challenge to every Christian in Nigeria. It’s only that kind of Nehemiah’s love that will make us, as Nigerians, to rebuild the cracks we have in our walls today.
“For us in Nigeria, Nehemiah should be taken as a metaphor for those Nigerians who either reside in Nigeria or outside, to cry to God to use the abandoned opportunities in Nigeria to address our challenges of nation building.
“Fortunately for us, our walls are not yet broken but there are obvious cracks that could lead to a break if not properly addressed.
“Nehemiah started with fervent prayers, seeking the face of God and pleaded with his king to allow him return to Jerusalem to rebuild the broken walls because wall signifies peace, security, contentment and prosperity. It signifies the essence of the state of the nation.
“There’s an urgent need for a Nehemiah in our country, Nigeria, today. And like Nehemiah faced opposition in his efforts to rebuild the walls, any Nigerian that desires to rebuild Nigeria must also be ready to face stiffer opposition which will come in torrents. It can only be diffused by consistent focus and prayers.”
The Vice-President, however, expressed optimism that the 60th Independence anniversary could herald a rebirth Nigeria, saying “no group is more prepared for this task than our religious bodies.”
The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Dr Samson Ayokunle, in his sermon titled, ‘The crucial need to attain greatness at 60’, stressed the need for justice, which, he said, would bring peace, tolerance and love.
“For us all to be on the same page, have sense of belonging and be happy, the doctrine of equality, that is equal access to employment, governance and education, must be available to all. The principle of inclusivity must be adopted. Nobody or region must be excluded from the scheme of things in Nigeria.”
Things will get better – Abiodun
Also, at a special 60th Independence anniversary service held on Sunday at the Cathedral Church of St. Peters, Ake, Abeokuta, the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, urged Nigerians not to be despondent, despite the challenges facing the country.
The governor said Nigeria had proven to be an enigma, defying all predictions by pundits that it would not survive till now.
He said, “Despite all predictions, Nigeria is still standing. Our diversity is our strength. We are a resilient and confident people. We surmounted the Civil war, Boko Haram. Tomorrow will bring the best in us. All we need to do is to work together. Nigeria will move forward. We must not prophesy doom. Nation building is not for government alone, but the responsibility of all.”
In his sermon, retired Primate, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Peter Akinola, called for repentance and tendering of apology to the families of those who had lost their loved ones as a result of killings around the country.
Sanwo-Olu calls for unity
Similarly, the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, called for unity at an Independence thanksgiving service in Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his wife, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, said, “I enjoin us to use this opportunity to rededicate ourselves to the unity of this nation and continue to live peacefully with one another in love.”
In his sermon, the General Overseer of the Foursquare Gospel Church, Rev. Sam Aboyeji, called on Nigerians to show gratitude to God for all He had done in the past, especially during the critical times.
Nigeria needs more prayers – Kwara dep gov
Likewise, the Deputy Governor of Kwara State, Mr Kayode Alabi, called for more prayers for Nigeria and change of mindset among the citizens.
Alabi added that the country needed unity, urging citizens to shun religious, ethnic sentiments.
The Kwara deputy governor spoke at Calvary Baptist Church, Gaa-akanbi, Ilorin on Sunday at a service to commemorate Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary.
In his remarks, Kwara State CAN Chairman, Most Rev. Paul Olawoore, encouraged Nigerian leaders to prioritise the eradication of poverty and hunger in the land.
Support your leaders, says Lalong
Similarly, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State said Nigeria would rise above its current challenges to fulfill its divine mandate as the largest black nation in the world.
Speaking in Jos on Sunday during a church service at the St. Monica Catholic Church, Rantya, Jos Plateau State, the governor said there was a lot to celebrate despite current challenges.
Lalong said, “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 will keep all of us running in circles.”