Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Thousands of Nigerians in the past few years have lost their lives to Boko Haram insurgency, clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers, armed militia, kidnapping and other vices. The need to address the vices and nip them in the bud was the nexus of an interactive session, with Right Revd Olumakinde Alawode, President, Maranatha Ministries International and Bishop of Maranatha Chapel Worldwide, Ibadan, Oyo State.
Though the programme was originally organised to brief journalists on the activities lined up to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the ministry, it turned out to x-ray the challenges besetting the nation particularly the South West and the possible way out. The celebration will run between June 2 and 9, 2019.
Alawode said the celebration is in fulfillment of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of the ministry, with free medical tests and treatment and free welfare for people, irrespective of religious and ethnic affiliations.
He said he has been commissioned by God to sound the alarm of Christ’s imminent return and equip the bride gloriously for Christ’s imminent coming, with emphasis on presenting the full balanced gospel for the reawakening and restoration of the church.
Speaking on the state of the nation, Alawode said he was burdened about the future of Nigeria: “We believe in one Nigeria, but a restructured one Nigeria. I am calling on the Federal Government to seriously take up this issue now and early in the second and final term of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“If former President Goodluck Jonathan did not wait till the last minute of his leaving office to set up the Confab, it is possible we may have overcome some persistent problems facing this nation. I want to plead with the Federal Government, the Senate, and House of Representatives to seriously consider the agitations from many quarters and give the cry for restructuring a serious attention.”
Alawode noted that the future seemed bleak for Nigerian youths, considering many daunting challenges facing their generation such as joblessness, broken families, unstable academic calendar, crime, insecurity, negative social media culture, internet fraud, occultism, drug abuse and so on: “It is therefore becoming a common occurrence to see terrible wickedness among young people, frustrations and even suicide.
“Maranatha is pleading with all Nigerian youths across different religions to shun these vices, be bold, courageous and hold on for a better Nigeria. This is our home. We must salvage it together. No doubt about it, the generations of the present fathers in politics and leadership have failed the youths.
“But two wrongs can never make a right. Many of the present crops of youths have also demonstrated that we should not rely on them to champion a better future. We want to encourage our youths to walk in God’s fear, be innovative, creative and be entrepreneurial in their approach to the future. Stop waiting for job; think deep and create jobs. God bless Nigeria.
“Blood is being shed regularly due to Islamic religious extremists’ terrorism, kidnapping and ritualists’ activities. I call upon the Church of God to intensify our intercession for Nigeria.
“We are pleading with the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to mobilise all our service chiefs and security outfits to wake up with an emergency approach to the nation’s current security challenges. It is time to fish out and flush out the fearless mysterious Fulani herdsmen, who are gradually terrorising the South West after unleashing unprecedented mayhem in northern and central Nigeria.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria must stop giving excuses and explanations while these willful acts continue. We don’t need talk we need action. It is very obvious that there is antichristian and tribal agenda behind all these killings. This bloodshed must stop.
“Also, I call for the release of Leah Sharibu, the courageous teenager still in captivity of the Islamic terrorist group – the Boko Haram, for refusing to deny her faith in Jesus Christ, the son of God. Please, free Leah!”
Alawode noted that one of the greatest challenges of Nigeria is the justice system: “A justice system that is porous, money driven, corrupt and partial is an evil under the sun. Why should a simple case be in the law court for decades? Why should 20 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) be defending a criminal because he has money to pay them? Why should anybody be kept in prison for years without trial? Our justice system must be fair and of course be speedy for justice delayed is justice denied. Maranatha is praying for a Nigeria where right will go to the right and wrong to the wrong.
“It seems the civil service is becoming ineffective despite the major percentage of state funds that goes to it monthly as salaries, allowances, subventions and the likes.”
The bishop prayed for the success of new governor of Oyo State, Mr. Seyi Makinde, telling him that the hopes of the people are high concerning what changes they want him to make in the state: “It makes me remember the very high expectations Nigerians had on President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. The new governor is clearly loved by the people. I am praying for him like many others that he will not fail the masses.
“I want to ask everyone to please be patient with him in every possible way. I am calling on the organised labour unions not to embark on any industrial action now. Don’t let the governor start on a rough note. Let all associations that are aggrieved allow the new governor to settle down and then present their grievances via the appropriate quarters and protocols. I believe the new governor will be a listening leader, wise and compassionate.”