From Gyang Bere, Jos
Chairman of Northern Governors Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Bako Lalong, has asked Nigerians not to allow the challenges facing the nation to push them towards advocating for disintegration of the country as the consequences will not only be uncertain but unimaginable.
Lalong who spoke at the inter-denominational Church service to mark the 61st independence anniversary at the Government House, Chapel, Rayfield Jos, said Nigeria still remains a great nation that would surmount its challenges to realise its potentials for greatness.
He said the country’s challenges, especially insecurity, would be overcomed and urged Nigerians to be grateful for the country’s progress so far in spite of the challenges.
“God has indeed been faithful to Nigeria and we must be grateful.’
He said said also that Nigeria was blessed with abundant human and natural resources, but required unity, tolerance, sincerity, loyalty and patriotism to maximise such resources for its development.
“We must come together and solve our problems because no one can build Nigeria for us.’’
According to him, commitment from the leadership and followership was critical to achieve the feat. There is no nation which is great today that has refused to embrace diversity, tolerance, excellence, good work ethics, and a national philosophy that is based on honesty, reward for hard work and punishment for deviance,’’ he said. He added that Nigerians were known as a highly religious people which should be demonstrated by showing love to all irrespective of ethnic, religious or political differences.
“We must stop being religious and start being godly.’’
He noted that the security challenges were setbacks for Plateau’s progress and assured that he was determined to put an end to them and called for the cooperation of residents, especially religious and community leaders to achieve the objective.
“I call on you to play your part in securing your immediate community and giving prompt information to security agencies to be able to act appropriately,’’ he said.
He also called on Nigerians to intensify prayers and vigilance as security agencies and government worked towards defeating perpetrators and sponsors of crises.
Reading from the book of Jeremiah 27 and Luke 8:24-25 among other chapters, Deputy Chaplain of the Government House Chapel, Rev. Ezekiel Dewan said Nigerians must avoid negative narratives as there is power in the tongue.
He said those who give up at difficult times may not benefit from God’s intervention when it arrives as they may be too blind to recognise it. He admonished Nigerians to pray for God’s mercy on Plateau State and Nigeria, as the Bible directs citizens to not only pray for their leaders but also for the cities where they dwell. He also asked that there should be constant prayers for God to turn the wisdom of the wicked into foolishness and stop them from troubling Nigeria.
In separate goodwill messages, the Atah Ateng of Ganawuri (representing the State Traditional Council), GOC 3rd Division and Commander Operation Safe Haven Maj. Gen. Ali, said though Nigeria is passing through difficulties of insecurity, poverty and disease among others, there is hope for the future as God is raising leaders who will unite all people, lead with the fear of God, and shun all forms of evil for nation development.