Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Prelate of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, His Eminence, Dr Ekpenyong Akpanika, has regretted that Nigeria has nothing to celebrate 63 years after gaining political independence.
According to him, Nigeria’s future is bleak in view of the economic realities.
Dr Akpanika in his Independence goodwill message, regretted that successive Nigerian leaders have failed to put the country on the path of greatness.
In the message signed by the Director of Information and Public Affairs, Presbyterian Church Nigeria, Rev. Dr Nnoke Ibe, the Prelate regretted that policy summersaults and lack of direction by the leaders have put the country on the brinks.
It read in part: “Looking at the atmosphere and prevailing circumstances in the nation at this time, I am constrained to admit that Nigerians seem not to be in the mood of celebrations. Unfortunately, the normal reasons for which we celebrate during our Independence Day seem to have eluded us.
“While the year started with the feelings of trepidation, many Nigerians were still hopeful that the turn out of the electoral processes would unveiled a new vista of hope for the nation. Unfortunately, that expectation seems to have been dashed.
“In fact, Nigerians are forced to pay for the policy mistakes of the past regime whose uncontrolled borrowing has put the nation in a state of quagmire. It will be recalled that when the borrowing spree started some years back, many relevant and reputable economic monitoring bodies and individuals expressed public apprehension at the policy.
“Nigeria had not so long before then emerged from the vicious circle and stranglehold of borrowing, debt repayment and debt servicing which held the Nigerian economy in bondage for decades.”
He regretted the consequences of the fuel subsidy removal, saying it has unleashed hardship and economic pain on Nigerians.
“The initial ‘reassurance’ that the new system of borrowing was on milder terms has turned out to be far-fetched. Again, the whole scale withdrawal of fuel subsidy seems not to be helping matters.
“The economic outlook is bleak: the national currency has fallen to the lowest ebb in terms of value. Insecurity remains a serious challenge. Inflation is so high that prices of goods and services have gone through the roof. Many Nigerian households have fallen back into poverty.”
The Prelate commended Christians for their continued prayers for the country, and urged for more prayers for Nigeria to come out of its current predicaments.
“I thank Christians who have faith in this country. I can boldly say that the continuing existence of this nation is due to your prayers and support in various ways. It is a sign of God’s divine intervention through the discharge of the Church’s responsibility.
“I therefore call on the Church to remain a refuge and a beacon of hope for long-suffering Nigerians. May we remain focused on our divine mandate of being a credible gauge on which to test the moral values of the nation. With our continuing support, Nigeria will soon attain the glorious height she is destined for.”
He, however, congratulated all Nigerians for their resilience and ability to survive through difficult times, and urged them not to lose hope.
“Fellow Nigerians, the Lord is our strength and defense. He has not allowed us to be destroyed as a nation and as a people. Glory be to His holy name.
“I appeal to us to continue to keep faith with our leaders and the nation. God will soon reward our persistence and hope.”