It was meant to be the Abuja 2018 Nation Building Workshop of the Apostles in the Market Place, a platform for change agents, but it turned out to be what some quests called “a night loaded with wisdom,” and the challenge of what just one faithful person could achieve in nation building.
The speakers and philanthropists who gave account of their interventions in the lives people on Saturday, left many souls touched; and when the story of a girl who had dropped out of school in Lagos, but is now excelling at a school in Abuja was told, it moved people to tears. At the end of the event, many people left the Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hotel heavy with food for thought.
The workshop, with the theme “Building the Nigeria of Our Dream,” was organised by Apostles in the Market Place (AIMP), a non–governmental, non-denominational and non partisan organisation.
The AIMP, a community of Christian leaders and professionals from different fields committed to nation building and the birth of a new and functional Nigeria, is a network of change agents that are passionate about social transformation. They mobilise, equip and support reformers that are committed to building a new Nigeria.
The event was attended by top government functionaries, ministers, senators, captains of industry, religious leaders and youths.
Delivering the keynote address, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo decried the loss of values in the country, especially among the youths and called for the teaching of cherished values, integrity are veritable measures to build and rebuild a nation.
He said: “I am to speak on the theme of the workshop, what can we do to rebuild our nation, but I have also decided to ask the question why we need to rebuild?
“Obviously it is because a lot has been destroyed, values, principles, have been destroyed, moral efforts and all of the other various things that we have cherished have been destroyed.
“And the reality is, of course, that as the years have gone by, we simply have not paid much attention as we ought to, especially to issues of values.
“So today people are not even certain any more what those values should be.
“One of the things I discovered while pastoring was that very many young people do not understand any more, what the real moral questions are.
“It is not just a matter of values being lost, many young people don’t understand what is wrong anymore.“
Mr Osinbajo, who quoted Psalms 11:3, Mathew 28 :19 and Romans 8: 19, said the responsibility of rebuilding a nation is in the hands of the righteous.
“It turns out that there is a whole lot that the righteous can do, when the foundations appear to have been destroyed.
“The reasons why the question was asked the righteous, somehow God has decided that, it is the duty and assignment of the righteous to build and rebuild the nation.
“The scripture tells us also that the righteous are the salt of the earth, the light of the world.
“In other words, everything that was done wrong with our society is just waiting for the righteous to take action to rebuild them,“ he said.
Mr Osinbajo also said it was also expected of the righteous to be a good role model by living a life of integrity .
“We must recognise that even when we make mistakes, we must not give up on doing the right thing; we must set examples of what we want the world to be.
“We must teach these values, we must teach righteousness in our churches
“We must teach the values everywhere, we must teach the values to young people, it is so important that we recognise that righteousness has to be taught.
“So, we need to teach integrity, we need to teach the ways of righteousness, it is really up to us to let young people understand that integrity pays. The currency of the world is trust, if you can’t be trusted it becomes extremely difficult to do business and sustain any kind of relationship.“
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, who quoted from Ezekiel 22:30, said God was searching for faithful individuals to rebuild society.
He said God was looking for a man to stand in the gap to remedy the challenging situations in the society.
Mr Enelamah said it was necessary for Nigerians to take responsibility individually by faithfully committing to proffering solutions to identified challenges in any area.
He said Nigerians must accept responsibility individually to become the person God could use to rebuild the country.
“It has been said that it takes only one committed generation to rebuild a society. If we can individually accept responsibility today, not pointing our fingers at other people but each make a personal commitment to our beloved country, we will be a generation that can rebuild Nigeria.“
“You can make a difference, I can make a difference; God is searching for people in business, in the family, government to make a difference and rebuild the nation.
“Man is God’s preferred method when it comes to solving human problems,” the minister said.
John Enelama, Founding Executive Director of AIMP, who introduced the body to the audience said what truly make a nation great were the values passed from one generation to another.
He said only a transformed people could transform a society, adding that Nigeria required men and women who would lead the transformation in all sectors of the economy.
Mr Enelama said: “The biggest thing a nation needs is a transformed mindset because God cannot change you until you change the way you think.“
High point of the event was the presentation of “Make an Impact awards” to some Nigerians that passionately embarked on impactful projects for the needy. All the award receivers told moving stories that inspired and drew applause.
The projects included those on healthcare services for people with disability, scholarship to out of school children, free legal services to prison inmates, among other empowerment services for vulnerable Nigerians.
The impact makers include Slum2School; The Irede Foundation; Diamond Light; and Shinning Light Kingdom.
A brief and colourful graduation ceremony was also held for the inaugural class of the Change Agents Academy.
The wealth of the night was even evident in the closing remarks of Olukayode Pitan, MD/CEO of Bank of Industry. Staying on the theme of the ability of one man to change society, he cited the examples of how one vote made America adopt English Language instead of German, and other changes the decision of individuals had made in the history of mankind.
Urging all Nigerians to work together to rebuild the nation, he also noted that, “One person can a lot.”