By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Olasupo Adeniyi Ayokunle, has urged Nigerians to unite in fighting the ills afflicting the country.
He said that Nigeria is a nation that is greatly endowed and blessed by God.
In a statement issued by his Special Assistant (Media & Communications), Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, to mark Nigeria’s independence anniversary, CAN said notwithstanding the present challenges facing Nigeria, the country has a bright future.
“I am one of the people that believe that Nigeria can rise above her challenges and be a great nation in the world. It is true that today we are confronted with many challenges but with the cooperation of all of us, both the leaders and the led, we can rise above our challenges and be the great nation God designed us to be,” he said.
He explained that in terms of geographical location and good weather, Nigeria’s weather is tropical with two good seasons almost equally divided within the year, the wet and dry season.
According to the CAN president, both seasons give farmers the opportunity to harvest their plants and harvest their crops.
The CAN president lamented that one of the major challenges facing the country is that of religious and ethnic division.
He said that this division along ethnic lines has often led to communal crises and unsuitable environment for economic development.
Ayokunle said the leaders need to work harder and allow governance to have positive impact on the citizens.
“The people must be provided uninterrupted power supply, good roads, security of their lives and properties. Jobs and social welfare amenities must be made available to stop criminality and the brain drain we are experiencing in our nation. Leadership should not be about what we can grab but what we can sacrifice. These are the pathways to greatness,” he said.
He said that Nigerians must be prepared to love one another irrespective of differences in their religions, ethnicity and political affiliations.
He said the country has never effectively implemented development plans that would lead to creation of employment opportunities for our growing young population.
“If we would not be politically correct, lack of employment opportunities in Nigeria has been a major contributory factor to insecurity especially kidnapping, armed robbery and ritual killings,” he said.
Ayokunle advised experts in Nigeria to advise those in power on how the country’s economy can be stronger and create a more conducive environment for businesses to thrive and more investors to come into the country.
“The more committed to this we are, the safer our country would be. At the same time, overseas migration would come down and our nation would witness development,” he said.
While commenting on the recent xenophobic attacks against Nigerians in South Africa, Ayokunle said that it was wrong for the people to take laws into hands and perpetrate barbaric acts.
“Nigerians in diaspora who are committing crimes are not as many as those who struggle to make ends meet legitimately,” he said.
He thanked the federal government for the mature way in which it handled the attacks against Nigerians in some African countries, especially with South Africa.
“While we feel ashamed for those who commit crimes both in Nigeria and abroad and urge them to change and stop disgracing their nation, we plead with foreign countries who give the excuse of some Nigerians who commit crimes to persecute and mistreat all Nigerians abroad to stop such barbaric action.
“Each nation has laws that deal with criminals, let such laws be applied to deal with any criminal in their nations rather than encouraging their citizens to attack foreigners,” he said.