Inauguration: Religious, political leaders call for peace, unity

LEADERS of all categories had gathered at the National Christian Center on Sunday to pray for Nigeria and all subsets of the country ahead of the 2019 presidential inauguration ceremony slated for Wednesday, May 29.

Speaking at the inter-denomination service, Archbishop Augustin Akubeze, the president Catholic Bishops Conference represented by the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan spoke on the theme: “lets us choose life, not death”.

He called on the leaders to tell themselves the truth, accept their failure and do things the right way as the blame game of pointing accusing fingers at others will not take the country far.

“ The country isn’t in a state worth rejoicing for and many have lost all hope in the future of the country; the ranks of poor people are swelling by the day, as they hopelessly watch in frustration the rich swinging in affluence. All is not well, but all is not lost either,” Onaiyekan said.

He advised Nigerians to be mindful of those who seek to manipulate the diversity of the nation’s ethnicity in a game of divide and rule for selfish interests.

He said religion evokes a strong emotion that should help solve the ills of our nation, not compound them.

“Those who manipulate religion for their selfish personal interest end up destroying religion and harming the nation.

“But the basic provisions about freedom of religion are valid and must be scrupulously respected by all, especially by those who control state instrument of corrosion,” Onaiyekan said.

He lamented the insecurities in the country, “whereby gunmen- and women-unknown and known have been sowing death, destruction and misery almost everywhere. Property, well-being, harmony and peace are endangered by generalised insecurity

“This is the truth and not political propaganda mounted to discredit the government, and the nation must be mobilised to join hands to face the disaster looming over all of us,” he said.

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He urged the leaders to yield to the serious warning from well-intention wise leaders, as there was a need for a drastic change of governance if the nation is to be saved from imminent chaos.

“Doing nothing but complaining and pointing fingers at others is to wait for the worst to happen. The positive and the most responsible action is to stand up to be counted and get involved in building the nation of our dream.”

Prayers were made for divine guidance for the new administration to offer good governance; security and economic challenges; various arms of government; peaceful co-existence; Nigerian families and the unity of the church.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, in his remarks as the special guest of honour, called on all to season their speech with grace as stated in Colossians 4 verse 6, and hope for a brighter and better future for the country.

He reminded Christians of the potency of their words, as it could heal or destroy, depending on the manner it is presented.

Osinbajo encourages Nigerians to stay united.

General Yakubu Gowon, the former head of state, also charged Nigerians to pray for president Buhari and all leaders to execute good governance and safeguard the interest of the state irrespective of religious differences.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha in his closing remark underscored the need for prayer in the country, reminding all to always pray for Nigeria to see the good of the land.

“God has demonstrated his love for Nigeria in different locations, and I say without any iota of doubt that Nigeria belongs to God and to God alone.”

The 2019 presidential inauguration is to hold, on Wednesday, May 29, at the Eagle Square, Abuja.

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