President Goodluck Jonathan has urged Nigerians to condemn as well as ignore inciting remarks from certain politicians that Nigeria will disintegrate soon, assuring that the country “will remain one united nation”.
He said only a mad couple divorce after 100 years of marriage and Nigeria is not mad.
The President who was the guest of honour at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration 2013 Inter-Denominational Church Service, at the National Christian Centre, Abuja, with the theme: “Peace and Unity”, said it was high time Nigerians arise in unison and condemn terrorism and those who want to divide this country by inciting the people for selfish gains.
The President stressed that for the country to get to her desired destination, all hands must be on deck, saying while the government will provide the necessary infrastructure and environment, it needed the support of Nigerians to take the nation to her desired destination.
Jonathan particularly commended the Armed Forces and other security service for their selflessness, adding that despite the number of criticisms that trail some of their actions or perceived inactions, they were doing all within their powers to keep the nation one and in peace, adding that the best gift we could give to them was support and prayers.
“Let me welcome you all to this special day that we are remembering those who worked for us, served us and paid the capital prize in a way of course they died for us to live.
“We are here to remember the Armed Forces who serve within and in various parts of the world to bring peace to the world and in that process lost their lives.
“Let me appreciate the church for what you have been doing over the period, for what you have been doing persistently for peace to reign in our land and the nation to develop.
“Let me especially appreciate the leaders of the Christians who have on a daily basis organise various prayers for us.
“Let me especially thank the armed forces because today is their day and also the police and other services, we sleep because they stay awake.
“In some cases where things happen people blamed profusely but for those of us who get reports on daily happenings about such challenges, we know that these men and women have been doing very well.
“I thank them for their gallantry, dedication to service, for the work they have been doing for us and we pray that God will see them through.
“I use this unique opportunity to encourage them to continue to do what they have been doing and we believe this country will get through her various challenges.
“As we remember the work the Armed Forces and other security outfits have been doing, I think the best gift we can give to them as a people, is to pray for them and in our daily activities to preach peace, love and unity. Because if we love ourselves and we live in peace and emphasis more on the unity of this country, some of our challenges we are having we probably may not have.
“But if our leaders at whatever level, whether political, community or religious, talk more about those things that divide us instead of those things that bring us together, then we will be encouraging the younger ones who know little or nothing about the history of this country to do things differently and sometimes conduct themselves in a way that is clearly anti social.
“Some the best gifts we can give to the Armed Forces and the sister organisation is for us in our various activities to emphasis the need for us to live in peace, love ourselves and unite.
“Some people talk about disintegration of Nigeria, now even at political levels some people take it as weapon of enteritis when they want to discuss politics. But my conviction and I believe that of most people here and those listening to us is that Nigeria will continue to remain a united nation.
“Nigeria will not disintegrate. Anybody who is doing research on sociology, psychology or political science, I know Nigeria will remain one.
“In 2014 we will celebrate our centenary, 100 years in existence. It will only take two mad people to stay in marry for 100 years and say that is the time you will divorce and we are not mad. If there are issues that have been brewing over the period and we have been managing, we will continue to manage.
“We will not think about separation. I always say some nations have their own history, atimes people question the unity of this country especially when they talk about the amalgamation of the north and south in 1914, some big countries have very ugly pasts. But is not for us to begin make history it is for us who are alive today to shift our focus and begin to talk about those things that will bring unity, development.
“I always say that Nigeria is great is not because of our oil, because we have people that produce more oil than us but we are appreciated and still reckon with because of our size and diversity both for human beings and environment. These are areas we should exploit for unity and development.
“So please let us all stand up and condemn those who say otherwise about our unity, those who call for our disintegration or who make similar statements should be condemned by all Nigerians.
“But if our leaders at whatever level, whether political, community or religious, talk more about those things that divide us instead of those things that bring us together, then we will be encouraging the younger ones who know little or nothing about the history of this country to do things differently and sometimes conduct themselves in a way that is clearly anti social”
“As a country made up of great citizens, when we work together, when government play her role and the citizens also play their role, surely we will get to where we want to go. If only the government or only the people are work, and the other is not playing the required role and provide the enabling environment, of course we will not go anywhere.
“But when we work together our children and our children yet unborn will be happy.
“God willing with your prayers and commitment Nigeria will get to where she wants to go”, he said.
Nigerians, always united
In his message titled: Embracing the legacies of a worthy officer, Rev. Supo Ayokunle, President Nigerian Baptist Convention, reading from the book of Luke 7:1-10, said is one thing to be given opportunity to serve but another thing to serve very well. He added that while some people will serve in a place for short time and leave indelible mark while others despite long service his impact will not be felt.
He said the example of the Roman Centurion who was in charge of a hundred Army, an Ambassador in the land of Israel should be emulated by Nigerian Armed Forces and other security services.
He said to the men in uniform, “though you have the power of the gun you do not have all the power, power belongs to God”.
He charge them to emulate the legacies of the Roman Soldier.
“One of his legacy was that he was a caring boss that took those serving under him as sons. He charged the Nigerian officers to treat the soldiers with cares because only then will they command their respect.
“Don’t abuse those under you or those in your community, you are suppose to serve them not bully them”.
He also mentioned the Syrian Soldier Naaman, in the Bible who treated his maid with care which prompted her to lead him to the Prophet in Israel for his healing.
The Clergy also said that the Roman Officer also provided security for an endangered officer under his care. “You are to provide security for the people of Nigeria, your uniform is not for fun but to service.
“Do not condone the act of terrorists, fish perpetrators out and punish them.
“The third legacy, the Roman officer had was the fear of God which made him to run around to seek help for the sick soldier”.
The Clergy lamented the lack of fear of God in the nation adding that “is lack fear of God that make people not to render service of the nation.
“If you serve God with fear there will be no corruption in the land any more. We should know that we are encompassed by crowd of witnesses and God sees every dark secrets”.
He said fourth legacy was that he had faith in God. “Men of the Armed Forces you need faith to survive and move forward in your profession. While you are trying to keep people safe that He will keep you safe as well”.
“Another legacy of the soldier was humility. Though he was the man in charge, he knew there were powers more than his. He respected the authority of Jesus, which was why he said Jesus does not have to come to him but he should just issue a command and it will come pass”.
“Respect is reciprocal, respect those that work under you”.
To Nigerians he said, “you are what you are by the grace of God but show humility”.
“Next legacy was his love and loyalty to his nation.
The saboteurs in government condoning terrorism by Boko Haram, you do not love this nation. Those of you who leak secrets to Boko Haram do not love this nation. It is a crime not to love this nation.
“You should be dedicated, place the nation’s interest above yours, be faithful in all you do, don’t betray the confidence repose in you, defend the nation against internal and external aggression, don’t dehumanise others because you carry guns.
“Last legacy, is that of building. He build the synagogue because he loved the nation.
“My question to our Armed Forces and other security outfits is what, what are you building? Will what you are building build or destroy the nation? You are suppose to build the nation wherever you go to serve.
“To the government of Nigeria, to build a strong and reliable armed forces, modern day equipment is needed for them to do their work more competently. They must be equipped to fight terrorism, armed robbery, kidnapping, oil bunkering etc.. They need to be train and re-trained and recruit more to serve the ever increasing population of the nation.
“To Nigerians, we are all builders and must support the armed forces by providing the necessary intelligent information, they will succeed in their work”.
The first scripture reading was taken from the book of Romans 12:9-21, by the Minister of State for Defence, Olusola Obada,
The second scripture reading was taken from the book of 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, by President Jonathan.
Prayers were said for the President, the Armed Forces and peace in Nigeria, for the legislature and judiciary, on security, terrorism, conflicts and unrest and for the families of the fallen heroes.
Those president included First Lady, Patience Jonathan and his mother Eunice Jonathan, Senate President David Mark, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihidioha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, members of the Federal Executive Council, Service Chiefs and their spouses, members of the diplomatic corps, members of the private sector and Christians from different denominations.