President Goodluck Jonathan
By Muhammad Bello and Adedayo Akinwale
Despite alarming predictions that Nigeria will disintegrate, President Goodluck Jonathan has assured that the nation will remain one indivisible entity not only now but far into the future and eternity.
President Jonathan made this declaration Sunday at the 2013 Inter-denominational church service held at the National Christian Centre, Abuja to celebrate this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day.
The President flayed the incendiary comments of some political elite, saying the remarks made by some of them on the nation often tend to suggest that the country was on the precipice awaiting disintegration.
Comparing the country to a centenary couple, the President observed that those of such age long matrimony would not contemplate divorce.
Noting that the country has not gone bunkers yet, Jonathan solicited for the support of all Nigerians in order to build a stable and prosperous nation.
For the umpteenth time the President admitted that government alone could not salvage the nation, thus urged the citizenry to contribute their quota.
Admonishing Nigerians to resist the current trend of terrorism and calls for disintegration, he applauded the nation’s armed forces and other security services for their relentless efforts in combating the menace of dangerous elements commend the army for helping to keep the country together.
His words: “Let me welcome you all to this special day that we are remembering those who worked for us, served us and paid the capital price for us to live.
“We are here to remember the armed forces who served within and in various parts of the world to bring peace to the world and in that process lost their lives.
“Let me appreciate the church for what you have been doing over the period, for what you have been doing persistently for peace to reign in our land and the nation to develop.
“Let me especially appreciate the leaders of the Christians who have on a daily basis organised various prayers for us.
“Let me especially thank the armed forces because today is their day and also the police and other security services, we sleep because they stay awake.
“In some cases when things happen, people blame them profusely, but for those of us who get reports on daily happenings about such challenges, we know that these men and women have been doing very well.
“I thank them for their gallantry, dedication to service, for the work they have been doing for us and we pray that God will see them through.
“As we remember the work the armed forces and other security outfits have been doing, I think the best gift we can give to them as a people, is to pray for them and in our daily activities, preach peace, love and unity. Because if we love ourselves and we live in peace and emphasises more on the unity of this country, some of our challenges now may not quite be with us anymore
“But if our leaders at whatever level, whether political, community or religious, talk more about those things that divide us instead of those things that bring us together, then we will be encouraging the younger ones who know little or nothing about the history of this country to do things differently and sometimes conduct themselves in a way that is clearly anti social.
“Some people talk about disintegration of Nigeria, now even at political levels some people take it as weapon when they want to discuss politics. But my conviction my message to most people here and those listening to us is that Nigeria will continue to remain a united nation.
“Nigeria will not disintegrate. Anybody who is doing research on sociology, psychology or political science, I know Nigeria will remain one.
“In 2014 we will celebrate our centenary, 100 years in existence. It will only take two mad people to stay in marriage for 100 years and say that is the time you will divorce and we are not mad. If there are issues that have been brewing over the period and we have been managing, we will continue to manage.
“We will not think about separation. I always say some nations have their own history, atimes people question the unity of this country especially when they talk about the amalgamation of the North and South in 1914. Some big countries have very ugly pasts. But is not for us to begin to make history it is for us who are alive today to shift our focus and begin to talk about those things that will bring unity, development.
“I always say that Nigeria is great is not because of our oil, because we have people that produce more oil than us but we are appreciated and still reckoned with because of our size and diversity both for human beings and environment. These are areas we should exploit for unity and development.
“So please let us all stand up and condemn those who say otherwise about our unity, those who call for our disintegration or who make similar statements should be condemned by all Nigerians.
When we work together our children and our children yet unborn will be happy.
“God willing with your prayers and commitment, Nigeria will get to where she wants to go”, he said.
In his message titled: Embracing the legacies of a worthy officer, Rev. Supo Ayokunle, President Nigerian Baptist Convention, who delivered a message entitled: ‘Embracing the Legacies of a Worthy Officer’ pointed out the difference of being called to serve and serving.
He urged Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies to emulate the Roman Centurion who was in charge of a hundred Army.
He reminded security operatives that: “though you have the power of the gun you do not have all the powers, power belongs to God”.
“One of his (the Centurion’s) legacy was that he was a caring boss that took those serving under him as sons. He charged the Nigerian officers to treat the soldiers with care because only then will they command their respect.
“Don’t abuse those under you or those in your community, you are supposed to serve them not bully them”.
“Do not condone the act of terrorists, fish perpetrators out and punish them.
“The third legacy, the Roman officer had was the fear of God which made him to run around to seek help for the sick soldier”.
The Clergy lamented the lack of fear of God in the nation adding that “is lack fear of God that make people not to render service of the nation.
“If you serve God with fear there will be no corruption in the land any more. We should know that we are encompassed by crowd of witnesses and God sees every dark secret”.
Ayokunle stressed that, the primary objective of the armed forces is to provide securities for the people of Nigeria.
He therefore urged them not to compromise the security of the country by yielding to the evil desire of a handful of callous people who are bent on bringing the country to a stand still, but to fish them out to face justice.
“The problem of Boko Haram would not have gone to this level if the members of the armed forces are loyal to the country”, stressing that “the presence of saboteurs (among the security apparatchik) who are revealing government strategies and plans to perpetrators of evil are not helping matters”.
The saboteurs in government condoning terrorism by Boko Haram, you do not love this nation. Those of you who leak secrets to Boko Haram do not love this nation. It is a crime not to love this nation.
“You should be dedicated, place the nation’s interest above yours, be faithful in all you do, don’t betray the confidence repose in you, defend the nation against internal and external aggression, don’t dehumanise others because you carry guns
The cleric further noted that those officers that are supporting Boko Haram are not faithful to the country, while urging them not to disappoint the confidence the nation has bestowed on them.
To Nigerians he said, “you are what you are by the grace of God but show humility”.