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Marking Nigeria’s Independence Anniversary Despite Anomalies “a miracle of sorts”: Prelate

Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins of Nigeria's Lagos Archdiocese. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Marking 61 years since Nigeria gained independence is “a miracle of sorts,” a Catholic Archbishop in the West African nation has said ahead of the Friday, October 1 event.

In a Wednesday, September 29 news report., the Local Ordinary of Nigeria’s Lagos Archdiocese makes reference to the myriad of challenges Africa’s most populous country is facing, particularly the life-threatening problem of deteriorating security that has led thousands of “our fellow citizens to their untimely death and loss of properties.”

“At this time that we celebrate the 61st independence anniversary of our country, we must thank God for the gift of life and for keeping the country together, despite the atrocities being committed by criminals of various descriptions,” Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins has been quoted as saying.

“It is indeed a miracle of sorts that despite all these anomalies across the land, we are still here to mark this year’s independence,” Archbishop Adewale says in the report published on the website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN).

The Nigerian Archbishop adds, “We pray that this will not be the last and that our country will continue to thrive.”

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Nigeria is passing through one of the most challenging periods since independence in 1960, he notes and urges citizens of the West African nation not to give up on the unity of the country.

The Nigerian Archbishop calls upon those in leadership positions to be proactive in righting the wrongs that have afflicted Nigerians and bring about a country that all would be proud to be associated with.

“We shall thrive and bounce back again only if we are able to address the fact that we are sitting on a keg of gunpowder,” he says in his 61st Independence Anniversary message to Nigerians signed by the Director of Social Communications in Lagos Archdiocese, Fr. Anthony Godonu.

“We are all aware of the issues that need to be addressed but which the leadership at all levels has not found the will to address,” Archbishop Adewale says, and goes on to highlight challenges bedeviling Nigeria, including “insecurity, ethnicism, the activities of Boko haram and banditry need to be addressed.”

Other issues to be addressed are corruption, unemployment, poverty, and lack of good health care system, he says, adding that religious bigotry and fanaticism are other challenges leading to the “disintegration of the country.”

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“We must be brave enough to confront the reality with honesty and objectivity or else we risk the disintegration of the country; God forbid!” says the Archbishop in his September 29 message.

“Evil is thriving in our land because most of those in positions of leadership and majority of the followers over the years have failed to do the needful. And unfortunately, no one is being held accountable,” he notes.

The independence anniversary celebration, the Catholic Archbishop says, presents another opportunity for Nigerians to reason together and face the reality that all is not well with everyone.

“There is a need for discussion and negotiation among the peoples of Nigeria,” says the Local Ordinary of Lagos, and adds, “We can attain the restructuring that would move the country away from the brink of failure that we have found ourselves.”

The Nigerian Archbishop makes reference to the Scriptures saying, “We must therefore continue to ask God in prayers for the unity and prosperity of the country as well as the security of lives and properties of the people.”

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“Since all things are possible with God, we are assured that Nigeria will be great again,” Archbishop Adewale says in the report titled, “Independence: We can make Nigeria great again.”