O God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, there is no doubt that You’ve put together this great and beautiful nation called Nigeria. Yes, quite great and beautiful, though the inhabitants be small- and shallow-minded, and though we be selfish and extremely wicked – wicked to one another and completely indifferent about the pitiable state of our nation.
We do not believe that the rich combination of nationalities, biodiversity, topography, natural resources and pleasant climate that You have arranged in our land was put together as a time bomb to explode the inhabitants out of existence. If anything, evidence from other nations with huge diversity show us that there is rather more to gain than to lose from diversity. The United States, South Africa, India and China stand tall today as nations that have managed well their diversities and derived great dividends from doing so. Indeed, there is great force and blessing in ‘unity in diversity.’
You’ve been good to us since we began our journey as an independent nation nearly 50 years ago. You’ve been particularly so kind to us in the last ten years when we began another democratic dispensation. Crude oil, the only natural resource among the lot that You gave us, that we have restricted ourselves to exporting, has witnessed unprecedented increases in its international price, enabling us to earn so much foreign exchange than we have ever done at any period before. Within this period You changed our international status from that of a pariah state to a cynosure in the comity of nations, attracting international attention and a lot of foreign direct investments.
And how did we show our gratitude? Not happy that those who were in government before this period practised graft, we elected to multiply it to a record that will never be equalled by any generation to be born. We created jamboree projects to fritter away our resources, showing no concern for the millions of less-privileged we have amongst us. Not satisfied that our profligacy was not causing any red matter to flow on our streets, we engaged in killing one another through ethno-religious crises, assassinations and murders. Armed robberies, kidnappings, ritual killings, vandalisation of public property, 419 and Yahoo Yahoo (fraud) are the other ‘sacrifices’ we have used to thank You so far. Piracy, production of fake and adulterated medicines and other products, tax-evasion, cheating, lying, immorality, etc. make up the list of yet other things we chose to offer as thanksgiving in place of heart-felt praise.
O God, save us from ourselves as we seem poised to destroy every good thing You’ve put together. Take away from us that wicked inclination that makes us want to soil and spoil any good thing we see. Deliver us from those tendencies in us that will only make us sabotage the great destiny You have ordained for us. Lord, save us from the path of self-destruction that we so ignorantly and gleefully tread.
As a nation we had fought and somehow survived a gruesome civil war before, yet we continuously tread so dangerously close to that path as though we’ve lost all recollection of the terrible calamities of that war. We’ve condemned the once-incessant military incursions into governance as one of the single most important factors that have retarded our growth, yet after only 10 years of continuous civil democratic rule there is ample evidence that we have forgotten everything so soon. We, especially our politicians, are carrying on as though we don’t care, creating those terrible socio-economic conditions that military adventurists used to exploit as excuse to rear their ugly heads again and again. Corruption, which military regimes were themselves not immune from, has reached unprecedented levels that make the most corrupt military regime seem like a saint in comparison with recent democratic governments.
We’re wont to put the blame solely at the feet of leadership forgetting that a people get the kind of leadership that they deserve. Is it not because as a nation we’re terribly sick that we now have the unbearable burden of a sick president imposed on us? As we pray that You deliver us from bad leadership, we pray even more fervently that You rescue us from bad followership. Give us a leadership after Your heart – a leadership that truly fears God and not one that lies, steals and kills in Your name. And give us a followership that is no less committed.
Please, Almighty God, bring us into our Jubilee as a nation completely free of oppression, injustice, marginalisation and corruption. Deal a deadly blow to all the vices that plague us, especially the evil monster of corruption. Let our Jubilee mark Nigeria’s entry to the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. Let it begin a new season in which all the huge resources of the nation are harnessed for the good of all, creating a kind of paradise here on earth. This, no doubt, will help to strengthen our faith in the reality of Your Paradise above and reinforce our resolve to get there, no matter the cost.
Because we’re such a sinful and wicked lot, we may not be sure that our motivations for this prayer or even the words of this prayer have been right and in accordance with Your will. Nevertheless, please look beyond us and for Your mercy and name sake, and because of the great destiny You’ve prepared for us, let Your will be done in Nigeria. May the verdict of history never be that the great destiny God willed for Nigeria was willed in vain. Amen.