By Emanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
Former Head of State and National Chairman, Nigeria Prays, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd), has urged Nigerians to pray harder for God’s intervention in pulling the nation out of the current economic malaise as well as other ills affecting the nation.
He made the call at the weekend in Umuahia during the plenary of the 56th annual diocesan synod of the Methodist Church Nigeria, Diocese of Umuahia, noting that the efficacy of prayer in engendering divine solution to difficult situations remained an indisputable fact.
Gowon said that Nigerians should not lose hope, insisting that “prayer is a veritable tool for changing situations and circumstances, no matter how difficult” .hence Nigerians should “be tenacious and firm in our faith as we follow and serve the Lord.”
“In spite of our present difficulties and problems, let us be faithful and grateful to God for all His mercies and graces to us and our nation and never to doubt the ability of our God to help in solving our problems,” he said, adding, “Let us renew our faith and call on the Lord and hold on to the efficacy of prayer”.
The former head of state was at the event conferred with the Excellent Leadership Award for which he expressed profound gratitude to the leadership of Methodist Church Nigeria for its unflinching support to Nigeria Prays since its inception.
The economic situation in Nigeria was given much attention in the address of welcome presented by the Archbishop of Umuahia Diocese, Most Rev. Raphael Opoko, who observed that the nation was in the throes of untold hardships while public officials continue to loot the treasury.
He pointed out that the theme of the synod, “God’s word, our guide” was well thought out given the bad situation in the land as “it appears all indicators of darkness have prevailed against our nation”.
According to the cleric, security challenges, separatist movements, demand for resource control, among other unresolved national issues were enough indicators that Nigeria is in dire strait.
He also cited the mindboggling discoveries of hidden loots as yet other glaring symptoms of a very sick nation, saying “another area of disturbance is the bank of flats in Ikoyi, bank of the bunker in Kaduna and quite recently, the bank in the cemetery, kept in the grave vault”.
Archbishop Opoko regretted that the mismanagement of national resources in the last couple of years had brought Nigeria contempt and reproach to Nigeria in the comity of nations, adding that “the word of God therefore becomes a necessary illumination to bring light into our dark atmosphere”.
Turning his attention to the economic situation in Abia state, Opoko called on Governor Okezie Ikpeazu “to see to the welfare and wellbeing of workers” who are owed arrears of salaries.
He stated that the economic crunch “is now biting even the church” explaining that even though “when you see people dancing and thanking God, it is an indication that they are happy but thanksgiving offering today is scarce because workers complain that they are starving”.
Chairman of the session, Hon Sam Onuigbo, who represents Ikwuano/Umuahia federal constituency, congratulated the diocese on the occasion of the annual synod as well as the archbishop, who marked his 56th birthday in March.
Gowon was accompanied to the event by national and zonal coordinators of Nigeria Prays.
Two former governors, Peter Obi and Chimaroke Nnamani of Anambra and Enugu states respectively, were among the dignitaries that accompanied Gowon to the event.