Prayer for troubled Nigeria by a despondent youth By Emmanuel Obasi

Emmanuel Obasi

Father God, your humble servant, a youth of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous and arguably most gifted black nation, come to you this day on my knees and totally humbled.  I come trembling, confused and fearful – yes father really fearful – as I think of my beloved country which recently reached a landmark age, golden jubilee it is called.  I come knowing that you can do everything and no counsel of yours can be withheld from you.

It is clear to me that the counsel of your heart for Nigeria was aptly captured in the speeches and utterances of our founding fathers, heroes past and friends when Nigeria was born nearly 52 years ago – as an independent nation.  These were men and women whom you put your Spirit into at the time, to prophesy concerning the child just born into the world, I mean into the comity of sovereign and free nations. Permit me to say Lord God that they were your prophets.  They were your prophets because they spoke (prophesied) of a great and prosperous child – Nigeria, a nation capable of rising to the status of or even above such great nations as America.  They spoke of a nation which, considering its enormous latent and visible resources, (human, natural, rich diversity, etc), will in no time begin to run and then go on to set great records in the world stage.  Such records were to include: a just and egalitarian nation; a nation whose landscape is decorated with choice and enviable infrastructure – educational, social, etc; a nation of imposing industries, providing more jobs than her well educated and trained citizenry could fill; a nation of men and women who will always recognize that there is dignity in labour – honest, hardworking, incorruptible people.

Father, this popular saying has it that ‘‘life begins at 40’’.  In the case of my beloved country, child-Nigeria, she turned 40 years ago, but is yet to begin life.  I say so because at nearly 52 years, none of the prophesies about her have come to concrete fulfilment and as a youth of this country, this is really disheartening, to say the least.  Father, You and I know that the non-fulfilment of these prophesies are not because they were false or that you have withdrawn your authority on them, far from this. The truth is that the men and women who over the years have received/handed down the baton of leadership from our founding fathers have failed us woefully.

Mighty God, I remember the stories and profiles of our founding fathers.  My late father (who died battered and disenchanted by the Nigerian system in my early university days), told me a lot of the stories and I corroborated most of what he told me from what I read in print.  They were selfless men and women, true statesmen, visionaries, leaders out to imprint their names in the sands of history.  They were people whose words and lives inspired awe, patriotism and hard work.  They offered themselves to serve.  They got into the struggle for a sovereign nation, inspired by the spirit of service and because they believed in the Nigerian cause.  They were not opportunists, looters, liars, greedy and corrupt men and women.  They had their weaknesses, yes, but their spirit of service far outweighed whatever weaknesses they had.  I do not lose sight of the fact that they were mortals.

Father God, I do not wish to bother you with the many things that dishearten and make me tremble about my country Nigeria. I will break down enumerating the details.  During our Golden Jubilee Celebrations, I listened to men and women at different fora speak and enumerate the various reasons for our woes.  They also tried hard to proffer a way forward for my beloved country.   They believed (and spoke out), that we have not lost it all and that we have another 50 years to get restored.   As I listened, I cried and the same time rejoiced. Yes, I rejoiced because I realized all hope is not lost, not with the country brimming with such fine and articulate minds, such as I listened to.  Yes father, there is hope because I sense the crystallization of thoughts and deliberate choices of good people in Nigeria – hearts and choices saying one thing, we can rise up from today and possess it. And I know that you are ever willing to order and prosper our good collective choices.

And so FATHER GOD, I pray you today to please help Nigeria to truly begin life as we set our sights on the so much talked about year 2020, when we would have added another decade to our existence – clocking 60 years.You waited for us to begin earlier, but we were not ready.  You encouraged us when we turned 40, but again we were not ready.  We have passed the landmark age of 50 years, will are 52 in few months from now and it is still doubtful – yes doubtful to me – if we are ready to start life.  LORD GOD, the tunes have suddenly changed and I fear for the worst. We are no longer just grappling with the heavy burden of corruption, failed leadership, decaying institutions and systems- including a near moribund educational system and the like; it is now the heavier burden of terrorism – brothers killing brothers with reckless abandon as a way of making their points, expressing their grievances or enforcing what they want- whatever these means.  What was never imagined by our founding fathers – your prophets of old has suddenly crept in upon us and is threatening to blow us and our oneness to shreds – so it appears to me LORD.

Questions are being raised all around, most bordering on our oneness as a sovereign, united nation – with peoples of different/distinct cultures and cleavages.  Should the different cleavages go their separate ways?  Should they remain one or may be enter into some kind of arrangement that still portrays oneness?  LORD GOD, the questions are as myriad as they are fearful – yes, really fearful.

In all these LORD, I choose to believe that 2020 will come upon us and so I pray; help us to begin to live.  I can hear the resounding response of the youth of Nigeria, my generation, saying Amen.  I know they are also following recent developments.  Fear, doubt, despondency, etc. are also welling up in their minds.  Nevertheless, I know they want their country to begin living and so I pray.  Help us to begin to walk right, obeying the laws of our country and your Holy laws.  During elections, may we be ready to make our votes count, to probe deeply before we cast our votes.  Help us to reject the use of mundane things and empty promises to fool us, impose mediocrities upon us and further mortgage our future and those of our children. It is easy to decipher empty promises because the pedigree and antecedents of those making it are well known by us.  Yes, these are well known unless we pretend and chose to remain fools.  But father, may you not allow us to. We are ready to hold accountable those that we vote, (yes I mean vote because our votes must count), or those appointed into positions of authority, to help us steward our country’s resources – your good gifts to us.

May we no longer take the position of indifference and just allow people we put in positions to do what they want. No, never again.  May we resolve never to be found wanting again in the discharge of our civic responsibilities first to Nigeria, but beginning from our families and local communities.  May we resolve to engage at all times, in honest job and living, knowing that our labours will never go unrewarded.   May we resolve that come the year 2020, when we celebrate our 60 years of nationhood, we shall be busy reflecting on how great we have lived life.  We shall also be rigorously strategizing on how to consolidate on our great achievements as a united sovereign nation.   

LORD, may it be that in 2020, we will be telling the stories of present happenings – especially terrorism – and how we overcame as a people with your help and mercies.  I have read stories of countries that passed through near crippling internal developments – may be close to or even worse than ours – and yet overcame.

And so LORD, my eyes are on 2020 and I know it s possible with you.  Thank you Lord. Amen.

Mr. Obasi, a Lagos-based chemical engineer, blogs at REHOBOTH


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