Gowon: ‘Nigeria Currently Walking in the Wilderness’

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Paul Obi in Abuja

Former Head of State, Gen Yakubu Gowon yesterday said Nigeria is currently walking in the wilderness and requires God’s intervention given that His promise is that joy is in the offing.

Gowon stated this during the thanksgiving service to mark 20th anniversary of Nigeria Prays yesterday in Abuja, where he urged Nigerians to continue to pray for Nigeria

He said, “When you ask what prayers has God been answering, you think of all the problems and crisis that we have had in the country and the way the good Lord has been able to ensure that they all are peacefully resolved until we create another problem for ourselves.

“We cannot stop praying for Nigeria especially in the light of mounting challenges that have continually caused citizens to question their identity and the survival of the nation’s democratic structure.”

Gowon noted that the first rally by the Nigeria Prays held at the International Conference Centre Abuja on Oct 1st 1996 when the ship of the Nigerian State was experiencing great turbulence for which the nation needed effervescent prayers of righteous souls to move God’s right hand to calm the storm.

He said: “We knew God was at work for Nigeria because of the manner in which He made it possible for Nigerians of diverse religious persuasions to embrace the idea of a national prayer Ministry that was not affiliated to any denomination in Christendom. ”

That the idea was warmly accepted by the former Military Head of State, Gen Sani Abacha under whose regime the Nigeria Prays was born was a proof that God loves Nigeria”.

The former Head of State observed that the programme was originally planned for 3 months, hence was designed to terminate in December 31, but “God however gave the group a vision to continue not because the problems of Nigeria were intractable for Him to solve but because He knew that the work of nation building is never ending.

“Since He inhabits the praises of His people, He knew Nigeria would continually need Him to see the nation through difficult times in much the same way as He was with the children of Israel, particularly during their walk through the wilderness. Nigeria is currently walking in the wilderness but joy cometh very soon.

“This is the promise of God for our beloved country after rallies and prayers in different geo-political zones of the country”.

According to him, “it was believed that by the time we pray, all our problems would be over but because of the political and economic problems that persisted, there was a popular demand to continue with the vision alongside the political transition programme by Abacha undertook prayer rallies in the 36 states of the federation.”

Gowon added that the major prayer point was for the return of democracy and the economic problems facing the country.

The Prelate of Methodist Church, Most Rev Kalu Uche who observed that God has given Nigeria both natural and human resources to make her very great and a country to reckon with said: “We have tread the path of old Israel and this has hindered development, progress and kept us as toddlers.

“Nigeria that should have been a giant of Africa is now a toddler, our economy is nothing to write home about. Our political climate is fouled. In spite of our unfaithfulness, God’s kindness, grace has been with us. I see hope that Nigeria will become not only the giant of Africa but giant of the world.

“In the midst of problems of recession, unemployment, devaluation of Naira, God is on the throne. I want to say that this government should buckle up and recover and fulfill their electioneering promises otherwise any government that trivialises the well-being of the people will be pushed aside. I don’t belong to any party, my members belong to different political parties so I don’t side any party.

“All I need is honesty, transparent and straight forward government, a government that is serious and let me say to Nigerians, any government that is not serious will be pushed aside. I don’t know how God will do it, but He has a way of doing it.

“We see people who to Church and loot the treasury, we see people who go to mosque and loot the treasury. There should be fairness, equity, justice for all and sundry. Government and religious bodies has no reason to exist if they will not care for the downtrodden.

“Our hands are full of blood, if anyone says the truth, they will send people and kill you. We saw it many years back, and we are seeing it now. There is no rule of law in Nigeria. Justice goes to the highest bidder. Lawyers are corrupt but government is very wrong to embarrass Judges, may God forgive this government,” the clergy stated.