As Nigeria marks its 62nd Independence Day anniversary, the Prelate of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, His Eminence, Ekpenyong Akpanika, has said the country was still grappling with corruption, backwardness, terrorism and other social menaces.
He, however, urged Nigerians not to lose faith in the country, saying with the right leadership, the myriads of challenges currently facing the nation would be resolved.
The clergy stated this, on Saturday, in a Goodwill Message to Nigerians on the occasion of the nation’s 62nd Independence Day anniversary.
He said, “Beloved people of Nigeria, I am delighted at this opportunity to send my goodwill to all citizens of this great nation as we celebrate our 62nd Independence Day Anniversary. This message is my first as the newly elected Prelate of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria and the Moderator of the General Assembly.
“My election came at a very auspicious time in the history of our nation as the country is struggling to emerge from the various challenges facing it and also as we prepare for the general election, which comes up in the next few months. I strongly believe that God Almighty who has always been there for us will once again forge a path through the uncertainties of the times and help us see the light of a new dawn as a nation.
“May I first and foremost express my good wishes to our President and Commander-In-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) on this national celebration. I acknowledge that it must have been hectic for him to steer the ship of leadership of a nation whose challenges seem intractable and insurmountable. But the grace of God has been upon him as he has exhibited uncommon strength of purpose and determination to make positive impact as the leader of a country like Nigeria with diverse problems and expectations.
“Nigerians have noted his concerted efforts in trying to improve the social infrastructure of the country, fight insurgency and banditry and improve the economy. It is our ardent prayer that these efforts will begin to yield the desired results in the nearest future.
“I want to heartily congratulate all Nigerians for being alive to celebrate our nationhood. Every Nigerian, especially those who reside within the country deserves special congratulations for their dogged spirit and determinaton to survive the challenges of the period. Nigerians have time and again proven that they are resilient and will not succumb to difficulties they are facing. On deep reflection, we are forced to conclude that Nigeria at 62 is not yet the nation of our dream.
“Unfortunately, we are still grappling with some primary and elementary issues bordering on corruption, poor infrastructure, insecurity, tribalism, religious crisis, ethnic divisions, industrial actions, underdevelopment, banditry, poor social services etc.”
He added, “At this time of celebration, many of us are forced to wonder if there is any need for it or if there is hope for Nigeria’s future. May I remind us of this eternal truth: if we lose hope, we lose all. With this, I encourage Nigerians to continue to hold on to the hope that one day, and very soon, we shall get it right as a nation.
“We must keep believing that soon our dear country will experience a rebirth. That was the same message Prophet Isaiah gave to the Jews when they found themselves in exile in faraway Babylon. At that point in their history, their two nations of Israel and Judah had been devastated by wars and ceased to exist and there was no hope for their rebirth.
“Isaiah encouraged them not to give up hope, assuring them that not only will their nation be reborn, but that the rebirth will be miraculous. The new Israel will be reborn in an instant without much struggle. The God that they have served since the days of their fathers will accomplish this. This prophecy was fulfilled about seventy years after the Israelites went into exile. The world also saw the fulfilment of the same prophecy in recent history. Nigeria is in a perfect position to experience that miracle of rebirth in our history.”