As Nigeria marks its 59th Independence Anniversary on Oct. 1, Pastor Tunde Benjamins-Laniyi of the Throne Room Parish, Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Abuja, has called on Nigerians to shun selfishness and sentiment.
The cleric, who made the call during the church service on Sunday, Abuja, said lack of love for country was inhibiting national growth and should be discouraged in all quarters.
He said prayer and fasting as well as love for the country were imperative to guarantee national development.
“We need to fall in love with our country again. Some of us do not have the love of the country at heart.
“Selfishness is taking over. The word `my’ has taken the place of “our” because selfishness and sentiment are on the rise.
“When time is dissolving, space collapsing and the world becoming one, we are being divided as a country.
“Boundaries, space and time are dissolving but in Nigeria we are clamouring for more states and local governments.
“As a people, we are praying but prayer is just a part of it. Now we have to love Nigeria again,” he said.
The cleric urged Nigerians, particularly Christians, to emulate the children of Israel, who even while in captivity, did not give up on their nation.
Making reference to Nehemiah’ s role in the Bible, he said, “In the time of Nehemiah, there were serious challenges and Nehemiah did not only fast and pray but also rebuilt the nation.“
“Nehemiah took responsibility, had an initiative and they started to build the nation again.
“He found purpose because he saw that something was wrong.
“Nigeria needs healing. We are praying without corresponding action.
“Sometimes, you find purpose when you take responsibility. Most of us are praying but not leaving the life. What is governing our personal life?”
The religious leader said it was clear that neither the number of inaugurated projects, demography nor natural endowment would exalt a nation, but doing the right thing.
He said it was saddening that while Nigeria could boast of the biggest churches, the people were suffering.
“In other places, we have busy factories and the standard of life is far better than ours.
“Let us all be that change agent. We can pray from now till tomorrow, nothing will happen.We can change the country through revolution, not by carrying arms but a revolution of love.
“We will wait long if we do nothing. God has given me capacity to lift a chair for instance. Do I need to pray to do that? So, God cannot do for us what he expects us to do for ourselves.
“That is why nations that are not ‘religious’ are excelling. They are doing the right thing. We must shake off the shell of old tradition and embrace the new paradigm of nation building.
“You are the one to build your nation.”
The cleric prayed God to touch every heart to become patriotic.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria became a British protectorate in 1901 while its colonisation lasted until 1960 when it gained independence. (NAN)