Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Prelate of Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, His Eminence Dr Ekpenyong Akpanika, has bemoaned the plight of Nigerians following bad leadership while calling for a new order in 2023.
In his Christmas and New Year message, Dr Akpanika tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to bequeath credible and peaceful polls in 2023 as his enduring legacy to Nigerians.
He recalled that Nigerians through their resilience had continued to push on despite the biting effects of bad governance.
The message signed by the Director of Information and Public Affairs of the church, Rev. Dr Nnoke Ibe, and made available to Ikengaonline said Nigerians were tired of suffering under bad leadership.
It read in part: “Through God’s grace, the nation and her people have survived the traumas of the past years. We have seen poverty and hunger as never before. We have slept with only one eye closed because of the challenges of insecurity.
“Many families have been forced to part with life savings in order to get back their loved ones from the clutches of kidnappers. We have experienced the worst flood in many years in which lives and properties were lost.
“Many have lost their jobs and many businesses have closed due to the sluggish economy. But the resilient Nigerian spirit has once again prevailed through God’s grace.
“If it had not been for the Lord who was on our side…’ Indeed God was on our side and His mercy prevailed. I am however, compelled to say that Nigerians are tired of being congratulated for surviving.
“The time has come for us to experience good leadership which translates to economic and socio-political growth. Nigerians truly want to enjoy the benefits of being Nigerians.”
The Prelate tasked Buhari on credible polls in 2023, warning that if Nigeria fails to get it right in the forthcoming polls, the country may be in for darker era.
“The 2023 elections will surely decide the direction and the course for our dear nation. Our failing to get it right this time or making any mistake will surely spell doom for Nigeria.
“As we wish him well, I humbly remind His Excellency that the lasting legacy he will leave behind is a free and fair election and a peaceful transition to a new government. We sincerely pray that God will enable him to achieve this.”
He advised against voting based on ethnic, religious, political and other primordial sentiments but a focus on competence and capacity of candidates.
“In the past, we have allowed tribalism, ethnicity, religious bigotry, sectionalism, unreasonable and extreme party loyalty, greed and selfishness to determine our voting patterns. The result of this is clear for us all to see.
“In the past years, the fortunes of the country have taken serious downturn with our nation descending to become the poverty capital of the world and its citizens finding it difficult to live through each day because of extreme and biting poverty. Moreover, the scourge of insecurity and corruption seems to have taken permanent residence in Nigeria.”
Dr Akpanika called for serious prayers for Nigeria, expressing confidence that with divine intervention, Nigeria would have successful elections with desirable outcome in 2023.
“We must get it right this time! Nigerians should pray and work for good leadership. There is the need to make sacrifices and forego certain pleasures in order to seek God’s face concerning the nation.
“Nigeria is at a crossroad and it is the responsibility of every true citizen to join hands to pull her out of the current political, economic and social quicksand.
“As we share the message of Christmas, let us also share the message of peaceful, fair and credible elections. The usual New Year Eve vigil should be a time for Nigerians to beseech God to help His people and bless His heritage.”
He tasked Nigerians on peaceful conduct and to shun any act capable of plunging the country into crisis.
“The Yuletide is a time to celebrate peace. This divine peace must reflect in our conducts before, during and after the elections. No one should allow himself or herself to be used to foment trouble and violence.
“The profound words of our past president, Goodluck Jonathan that no one’s ambition is worth any body’s blood must be our maxim. Our politicians must preach this and abide by it.”
The Prelate also tasked the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as well as security agencies to live up to expectation and not betray the confidence of Nigerians in 2023.
“May God help all the institutions given the responsibility to conduct elections the grace to ensure credible, free, fair and non-violent elections in 2023.”
The Prelate expressed optimism that the 2023 elections would give birth to a new Nigeria.
“Because I strongly believe that Nigeria shall rise again, I leave you with these eternal words of God as written in Isaiah 9: 1-4: ‘Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan— The people (Nigerians) walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”
The Prelate, however, scored Buhari high on agriculture and infrastructural development.