ADDRESS DURING THE PRESS CONFERENCE IN RESPECT OF ONE DAY PROGRAM OF CHURCH LEADERS AND MINISTERS FELLOWSHIP OF NIGERIA ON 10TH NOV. 2020 AT EMMANUEL BAPTIST CHURCH, SABO – OKE ILORIN KWARA STATE.
I want to welcome you to this press briefing in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ on the occasion of a one day program of the Church Leaders & Ministers Fellowship of Nigeria.
The COVID – 19 affected our annual conference which usually holds second week of July every year, but because of the lock down, we decided to shift the program to today.
The theme for the one day conference is “The Church In The Post COVID World”. This topic cannot come at a more appropriate time than this because the whole world is still grappling with the effect of the COVID – 19. There are two main speakers for the conference and we expect over five hundred church leaders, ministers and church workers at the program.
COVID – 19 AND NIGERIA
The COVID – 19 pandemic exposes the state of our health in Nigeria and caught us napping. It came with lots of effects leading to death of some people and paralyzing the economic activities of the nation. The whole nation was locked down for more than three months. The period of the lockdown was a crisis time and learning period for human race. There are opportunities for a step change for us to develop our health sector to cope with challenges that we see everyday in which our political leaders shy away from.
END SARS PROTEST
As we are getting use to the consequences of COVID – 19, we woke up to the reality of EndSARS protest in most part of the country. We have heard terrible things of what some bad eggs in SARS did to some of the youth of this nation and some even paid the supreme price in the hands of the disbanded group called SARS. It must be stated that ENDSARS protest was not a revolution but a rebellion and desperate resentments against police brutality, which coalesced into a mass resistance, protest, rebellion, anger, hunger and frustration, all these contributed to the EndSARS protest.
The citizens of the country have cause to worry because of the reports of killings, rioting, vandalism and looting that seized the soul of our country in which we are still struggling to shake off the economic paralysis of the coronavirus.
The youths of the country must be assured of future hope. They must see hope, feel it, swim in hope and empowered to live a meaningful life. As a people we must answer the questions of our youth, listen to them. We should do everything to create job opportunities and enabling environment for the poor to access finance.
We as a body condemned in totality police brutality in the country, the killings at Lekki tollgate and the attacks from suspected hoodlums who took advantage of the #ENDSARS protest to attack police formations and personnel and destroyed businesses and individual property.
The strike has been on for over eight months with issues in contention far from being resolved after several meetings and interventions from concerned quarters. We are worried as parents because keeping students unengaged for a long time can negativity affect them. An adage says “an idle hand is a devil’s workshop”, we appeal to ASUU and the Federal Government to return to the roundtable and find amicable solutions to all the problems so that our university students can return to school. These innocent students crave for brighter future through education hence conducive environment that will lead to the realization of this should be created.
As church leaders and ministers, we cannot cease from praying for our country. Nigeria because we need prayer more than ever before in this country. However, we hasten to add that, we are near state of anarchy. Leaders display wealth to the chagrin of the masses. There are crises all over and it has been said and argued that Nigeria is a victim of contradiction because of faulty political structure producing poor governance and braze corruption. All the crisis being experienced if not resolved as quickly as possible can degenerate in to big problems. The following should be considered:-
- Those entrusted with governance of this nation must be accountable and transparent in governance
- Let there be balance in appointments into key positions such that all the six geopolitical zones will be equitably represented
- Corruption should be fought without exception
- Security of lives and property should be assured
- Cost of governance has been said to be on the high side in Nigeria. This should be addressed and brought down to reasonable level
- All the major ingredients of major conflict are here such as ethnic mistrust, deadly clashes, kidnapping etc. Our rulers should not take for granted drums of war here and there. Whatever needs to be done to keep Nigeria one will not be too much a sacrifice.
- The welfare of the officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force should be urgently looked into
- Huge resources have been committed to the fighting of insurgency in the country. Loss of human lives is high. Whatever strategies that can quickly end insurgency should be deployed by the governments at various levels
- All the sectors of the economy such as health, education, works, housing, electricity etc. should be looked into
- Votes of the electorate should be made to count while the electoral process should be reviewed from time to time for necessary adjustment to meet with the dictate of present dispensation
This country is ours and he who does not look ahead always remains behind, and a Nigerian proverb says “A man cannot sit down alone to plan for prosperity” we need to join hands together to move our country forward, let there be fairness, equity, honesty, love and the determination to put Nigeria first above personal interest.
Our prayer for Nigeria is that, it will attain greater heights and be a place where all of us will be proud of to the glory of God Almighty.
God bless Nigeria.
Pastor A.O. Aiyedogbon
Chairman, Church Leaders & Ministers Fellowship of Nigeria.