Beloved people of God, honour and praise is here unto ascribed to the Almighty God for graciously granting us the special and undeserved privilege to witness another year, 2018. God has lavished his love and grace upon us, therefore, we must be grateful as a nation despite our numerous challenges, God is sustaining us.
I appeal to all of us that rather than welcome the coming year with self-created merriment and hollow good cheer or even boisterous hilarity, let us like Moses of old, turn our hearts to our eternal refuge and pray “Lord make us glad, Lord let your work appear unto your servants and your glory unto our children, so that all of us may see not only your glory and your power, but also the great glory of your grace in the life and work of our saviour Jesus Christ”.
Let us remember that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Let us enter the New Year with a humble desire and prayer “Christ before us, Christ within us, Christ behind us, Christ on every side”. Only then we can face the future with a degree of hope and confidence, it is only then that His promise will go with us into the unknown and unpredictable future.
Forward into the New Year with an abiding faith in the Godhead. We are not the product of evolution. We know we belong to God. We are His handiwork, His creation. So come what may, we know that “No evil shall befall us, neither shall any plague come near our dwelling” God simply would not allow it. I have no iota of doubt in the Divine abilities of God to stem the tide of all evils ravaging our land. Though the political atmosphere may be tensed, cloudy and chaotic, people may be living in despair, insecurity and myriad of economic problems confronting us as a nation, our God is a specialist in putting things in order and put things in perfect control. “He is a covenant keeping God. He will not break His covenant and promised made by His holy name” Psalm 89: 34- 35. This same God declared years back to the people of Israel in the face of uncertainties, oppression, despair, humiliation by the enemies in the land of captivities and ridiculed by their captors. I foresee a new beginning like prophet Isaiah did, a time of final triumph and peace, a time when good shall triumph over evil. I see a time when the seemingly consumed people of Nigeria shall be freed and liberated. I see a time when “the sword shall be beaten into plough-shares” and a time when this nation Nigeria shall no longer be plagued with disease and death, because “for Zion’s sake God will not keep silent and for Jerusalem sake, God will not sleep, till her righteousness shines like a blazing touch” Isaiah 62: 1- 2.There shall come a time of complete restoration of peace and beautiful things the enemies have stolen from our nation.
In this New Year our government should take a look at the following:
The proliferation of firearms has remained a threat to the security of lives as well as a major global challenge for law enforcement agencies. These illegal possessions of firearms have led to the mass killing of unarmed individuals and groups of people at innocuous events and locations such as concerts, family gatherings and places of worship. Reports emanating from the united Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC) disclosed that over 500 million of small arms and light weapons are currently circulating in West Africa with over 350 million (70%) domiciled in Nigeria. This has made it imperative to amend the ineffectual firearms law in existence in the phase of the modern, sophisticated trend in weapons trafficking and outbreak of violence.
The need for practical action in taking illicit small arms proliferation and violent extremism within a holistic human security approach. We should pay particular attention to border communities, resident in our extensive and often porous borders, who are often the farthest from our capital cities and often with minimal state presence. Government shout enact laws that make gun possession difficult. The illicit circulation and illegal possession of small arms and light weapons have contributed to nurturing hotbeds of tensions and conflicts in our nation.
Corruption at all levels in our national life. No doubt, it is a tough time to be upbeat about corruption at all levels in our national life. When the senses are assailed by the wind blogging figures allegedly stolen through all kinds of schemes, the first reaction is disbelief and hope that another country not yours, is the subject of discussion. When your credulity is confronted with the evidence graft at all levels on an unimaginable scale and you see poverty walking around you in all the four corners of Nigeria, any upwardly journey of the spirit must of necessity take a downward turn. Government should spend more time plotting what they would be remembered for, they should pay more attention to those it brought on board to assist government. Discerning Nigerians are not to have the impression that these are insider’s job whose perfidious acts are too embarrassing to shame in a hurry.
The economic situation in Nigeria still calls for a better approach, as the economic indices of health, job creation/employment and industrial growth are still very low. Power supply remains epileptic, youth unemployment and other vital issues are calling for urgent attention.
Our government and the economic planning/co-ordinating group must work hard and come out with concrete solution to avert the painful effects and hardship austerity created by the high exchange rate and high inflation might have on Nigerian people.
Beloved patriots, let all of us serve our dear nation with all sincerity, with those gifts that God has given to us and put our nation first. Let our leaders show or demonstrate their love for this nation by way of example. Good people of Nigeria, I call on you all, to continue to pray for our nation, that the forces of darkness will not be able to destroy our peace, unity and our growing democracy. Let me leave you with this prophetic word of God as proclaimed by prophet Isaiah “every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hills made low, the rough ground shall become levelled and the rugged places a plain and the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all mankind together will see it for mouth of the Lord has spoken it”.
Again, I wish all Nigerians fruitful, prosperous and peaceful year 2018.
The Most Revd. Dr E. Adebola Ademowo,
Diocesan Bishop of Lagos and Dean Emeritus,
Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)