If we are not going to deceive ourselves, Nigeria as of today has no good name in the comity of nations. We are in a state of reproach. Nigerians are ridiculed by the foreign embassies where they seek immigration. They are often harassed “Why do you want to go to my country, why do you not stay in your own country?”
Many have died in the seas and in the desert when trying to flee the borders of Nigeria through illegal means. Thousands of our young women have been turned sex slaves in the countries where they flee to. It ought not to be because God has endowed the country with everything that is needed to be a pride and a leader among the nations.
There was high hope for a great nation after independence. The fathers of independence concentrated their attention on building the nation. Thus the nation was progressing. The fathers of independence were committed to the development of the nation, so they paid high attention to building manpower on the realization that education is the foundation for a great country.
It is however very sad that the people who were luxuriously trained by the fathers of independence; both civilians and soldiers, with the commonwealth had no commitment to the nation but to themselves, thereby stalling development. They turned the state purse to their personal use thereby leaving a trail of terrible poverty for the common people.
Of course, year in and year out, money is budgeted for the development of the nation but rather than use the money for the purpose, for which it is intended, the various monies end up in the private pockets of the politicians and civil servants. So we witness all around us, individuals with homes and properties, which value cannot be estimated while other citizens wallow in squalor and all national infrastructures are in dilapidation. So University graduates roam about the streets and some of them and other young stars turn to criminal behaviours in what is referred to as Yahoo yahoo. Others become kidnappers and bandits.
However, I never lose hope. All these reproaches can become a thing of the past if we all can revert to the right course, which the fathers trod. All it requires is for every one of us, every one of us; men and women, young and old, educated and uneducated, Politicians and non-Politicians, Religious leaders and laities, Lawyers and judges to be united at bringing the reproach of our nation to an end. Today, I want to relate just two stories where people were united and their unity of purpose turned things around positively for them. So the topic of my sermon today is “The Power in Unity”
Let us pray. The Power in unity.
No one needs to be persuaded any longer that all Nigerians must be united to revert the chaotic situation in our land. It is a task that must be carried out in a situation where religious fanatics could kidnap Government officials in the course of their duty. It is a task that must be carried out in a situation where a military Brigadier can be ambushed by religious fanatics and killed. It is a task that must be carried out in a situation, where religious fanatics can easily penetrate a military barrack and kidnap senior military officers. All these incidents I can confirm are not possible in Saudi Arabia, the world headquarters of the Islamic faith or can we be more religious than Saudi Arabia? It is a task that must be carried out in a situation where the fear of travelling from one town to the other grips everyone due to the fear of kidnappers.
Let us turn into the book of Genesis chapter 11 and let us read the first nine verses:
1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Babylonia; and they settled there.
3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.
4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built.
6 “Look!” He said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! 7 Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.”8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
Let us read verse 6 again: God the Almighty said “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them!” Papa God recognized and affirmed that there is nothing impossible for man, there is nothing, which man cannot achieve, once they are united.
I am preaching on the topic “The Power in Unity” Listen Nigerians, all we need to do if we want the wealth of the nation to circulate around every one of us rather than being monopolised by political syndicates, their cronies and civil servants who are in charge of projects is to be united with one voice. Unity is all we need. But take note that nothing is ever achieved on the platter of gold. So we must be prepared to make a lot of sacrifice. But they are sacrifices that are worth it for future gain. And I warn that if we do not do it now, this generation will not have passed away when the country Nigeria will cease to exist and if it exists, the coming generation will heap curses on us.
Checking out of the country is not a solution. The fathers of the country where you want to escape to had at a time made sacrifices in order for the country to appeal to you. So why do you not repair your own country? After all, there was a time in the past when people all over the world loved to make Nigeria, their place of abode. This was the case up to the 1980s.
Permit me to give you another example of a situation where the power of unity worked. There was once a country called Judah with Jerusalem as the capital city. The country is today called Israel. The citizens of Judah sinned, they annoyed God and God caused them to be exiled to Babylonia. This was in the year 605, 597 and 586 BC respectively and they became slaves of king Nebuchadnezzar. Quite a number of their descendants and their parents who were still alive were freed in the year 539 BC to return to a country that had turned into rubble. The first batch that returned rebuilt the temple, which was originally built by king Solomon, and was the pride of the Jews. But the city fence still lay in ruins.
All these while, Nehemiah who must have been born as a slave, remained in Babylon as a slave but in an exalted position. He was king Artaxerxes’ cupbearer. He got distressing news about Jerusalem and other captives who had returned. The people were in great affliction and reproach, just as it is happening to most Nigerians today. The wall of the city was also broken down and the gates burned with fire (Nehemiah 1:3), just as it is in Nigeria. Let us call a spade a spade, the walls of Nigeria are broken. Nehemiah became sullen. It was palpable and his boss, the king noticed it.
Nehemiah became burdened for the country of his ancestors and he was prompted into prayers and fasting (Nehemiah 1:4-11). O Father God, that you will raise for us in Nigeria, thousands of Nehemiah who will be sincerely burdened about Nigeria. The result was that the king not only permitted him to go and rebuild the city wall; but provided him with a protective escort and every material that was needed to rebuild the city wall (Neh 1-2:9). Nehemiah prayerfully and carefully planned for the building of the wall (Neh.2:11-20). He was Governor of Jerusalem between 444 and 432 BC. Very many citizens were involved in the building. The account of who is who that were involved in the construction is recorded in the book of Nehemiah chapter 3. The High Priest was in the front line (vs 3). With the High priest carrying bricks, what excuse would the junior Priests and the Levites have, to fold their hands? (vs 1,22,25,17)
Consider what will happen if the head of the Christians and the head of the Moslems, the Sultan of Sokoto will lead the campaign for the restoration of Nigeria. What excuse will the Imams and the Bishops of Churches and the thousands of General Overseers have, not to follow suit? In the building of the Jerusalem wall, Temple servants (vs 26), rulers of different districts, and even ladies got involved willingly (vs 12 18,19). Consider our esteemed traditional rulers in Nigeria to champion the restoration of the nation to what it was at independence!! Consider all our past Heads of state; military and civilians and the first ladies to vow to restore Nigeria with all sincerity and not with lip services.
Of course, the task of building the Jerusalem wall was not smooth sailing for Nehemiah. It is normal that there would be detractors, distracters and scoffers. Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem the Arab (Neh 6:1), the Samaritan army officers, other Arabians, Ammonites and Ashdodites were filled with rage (4:1-3,7). They insulted and mocked. They plotted to kill the workers. They tried to persuade the workers to abandon the work (4:11-12). They threatened and frightened Nehemiah (6:19). On four occasions, they invited Nehemiah to a meeting, but it was a deceit. It was a plot to kill him. They slandered Nehemiah in order to lure him to their meeting. They planned false allegations of rebellion against him before king Artaxerxes with intention of becoming the king as the reasons behind the project (6:1-2, 6-7). Shemaiah who was supposed to be a man of God, a prophet even, was an agent (6:10). He was hired by the enemies to lure Nehemiah to abandon the project. No-adiah a prophetess and other prophets (6:14) tried to discourage Nehemiah, including some wealthy politicians and others from Judah (6:18-19) who had sworn allegiance to Tobiah.
So in this restoration of Nigeria, which I am championing, we may not expect everyone to be on our side. The people who are profiteering from the prevailing deep corruption will more than likely mount opposition. However, in spite of the overwhelming opposition, which Nehemiah faced, the building of the wall and the fixing of the gates were completed in a record time of 52 days (Neh.6:15). How was that possible? It was, because “The people had a mind to work” (Neh.4:6). It was possible because the people were enthusiastic to get it done. It was possible because the people were united to get it done. I am preaching on the topic “The power in Unity”. I am absolutely convinced that Nigeria can be restored. It is not late only if respected voices in the nation would have the mind.
It is possible if our esteemed traditional rulers will use the power in unity. We can immediately join the league of respected nations if our past heads of state and the first ladies have the mind to do it. It is possible if religious leaders on all sides of the coin will determine it and emphasise in their pulpits on Sundays and Fridays, righteousness and Godliness and dedication to the nation. It is possible if our politicians will develop a love for their fellow citizens and sincerely work out plans to take them out of poverty by ensuring that they and the civil servants stop diverting money budgeted for developments to their private pockets. They must be prepared to allow their earnings to be in line with other civil servants.
Every of these highly placed people must be prepared to forgo some of their current luxurious benefits. Governors must allow the Local governments to function independently without holding their funds. The Local Governments must be made to allow the traditional rulers in the Local governments to have a say in the running of the Local governments. The Chairman of the Traditional council may be made the ceremonial head of the Local government. This is the only way by which the grassroots can feel the impact of the government.
To be continued. Let us pray!
By Sam Aweda, Pastor, Jesus for the World Revival Mission (Peoples’ Church)
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