Nigerian men from all walks of life, across various church denominations recently agreed that Nigeria needs restructuring of the Spiritual kind. That is why the launch of a One-Nigeria badge and a Prayer for Nigeria card was one of the highlights at Men’s Breakfast Roundtable, a regular gathering of men put together by Kingdom Men Global Network in Lagos recently. The theme was The Men Nigeria Needs Now.
The event drew about scores of men from many churches and several walks of life and had the Rector of Methodist Theological Institute Nigeria, Very Reverend (Dr) Sunday Olasoji Onadipe as lead speaker.
Onadipe, who also serves on the Board of Trustees of event organisers, Kingdom Men, pressed Nehemiah into action, as it were. He called out Nehemiah’s commitment to his nation that led him to abandon the personal comfort of a prestigious and influential job in a foreign palace; his ability to raise and unite a team behind his national restoration project; his tenacity in the face of opposition and, above all, his total dependence on God.
He identified and recommended those attributes of Nehemiah as quintessential for the Men Nigeria Needs Now. He prayed that the men present will allow God to grow or develop those attributes in them in the interest of the Nigerian nation, to the glory of His name.
In his presentation, Chief Host, Pastor Remi Akano identified disunity as the bane of Nigeria. Not exactly a novel discovery, you might say – correctly. But quoting from Psalm 133, he pointed out that the lack of unity is the reason Nigeria is neither prospering nor at peace, because it is at the place of unity that God commands His blessing.
Continuing, he asked: “So, why are we disunited?” He went down memory lane identifying some of the hurts and harms of the past across the geo-political zones of the country and posited that for as long as those issues are not forgiven; for as long as we un-earth them at regular junctures to win political battles or as bargaining chips in our national cake sharing bazaars, for so long shall we remain disunited.”
He, therefore, said forgiveness across the ethnic nationalities and geo-political zones is an urgent necessity. The men Nigeria needs at this critical point must be willing to forgive at a personal level and lead the campaign for forgiveness at inter-ethnic and even inter-religion levels.
We must remember that God commands forgiveness and even made it a condition for forgiving us our sins, he said. “The import of this is that collectively we have not received God’s forgiveness nor have we received it at the ethnic nationality or even personal levels.”
Of course, he admitted that “deeply ingrained hurts are never easy to forgive, except with the use of God’s prescribed and provided weapon: Love. Quoting from 1Peter 4:8, he reminded the men present that, ‘Love conquers a multitude of sins.’ He also reminded them that they already have a love nature; love being one of the components of the fruit of the Spirit that God has given all born-again Christians.
His charge to men in the hall and through them to all Nigerian men was: “You have the love; reach deep within you and activate it; use it to reach out and forgive all who have wronged you and then lead the war against unforgiveness in your clan, your community, your ethnic group and the nation. The result will be unity – and because God blesses unity, peace and prosperity will overflow in the land.”
The event then climaxed with the men, bedecked in a ‘One Nigeria’ badge being led to pray a ‘Prayer for Nigeria’ by Mrs Mosunmola C. Onadipe, wife of the guest speaker. In one accord, the men prayed as follows:
“Bless this nation, Nigeria, O Lord;
Grant us the grace to live in harmony as citizens of one indivisible entity;
Enable us to forgive ourselves for all the hurts and harms of the past;
Empower us to reach deep down within us to find the love that you have deposited in us, and having found it, to lavish it upon our brothers and sister no matter their ethnic nationality;
As we love one another with the love wherewith you have loved us, let us find unity and peace;
As we unite, we trust you will command your blessing upon us – one and all, such that the blessing with over flow into our streets and spread to all our neighbours;
As we forgive, love and unite, let our granaries be full, providing all kinds of produce;
Let our sheep bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields;
Let our cattle be heavy with young, suffering no mishap or failure in bearing;
Let there be no cry of distress in our streets;
Blessed are we, Nigerians to whom such blessings fall!
Blessed are we Nigerians because God is our LORD!
So it is and so shall it remain from generation to generation,
In the MIGHTY NAME OF JESUS. AMEN!”
Both stanzas of the Nigerian National Anthem were also rendered just before the closing prayers.
Commented one of the attendees: I accept the challenge to love, forgive and be united with my compatriots henceforth. And I know Nigeria will not be the same again after this meeting, God bless you, Kingdom Men for this effort.”