The Primate of the Church of the Lord Worldwide, His Holiness Most Revd Dr Rufus Okikiola Olubiyi Ositelu at the just concluded 85th edition of the annual Tabieorar retreat held at the Mount Tabieorar in Ogere, Ogun State, spoke on the current state of the nation and advised the Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government, State Governments and all other stakeholders on the way forward for a better Nigeria.
The Primate dwelt on a wide range of issues which include: Peace and Security, Corruption, Economy and Infrastructure, Youth and Unemployment, Violence against Women and Children and the Covid19 pandemic.
The full address delivered by him read: “The Church does not exist in a vacuum. It is an integral part of the society and therefore has the duty to speak Truth to Power, especially at times like this. Nigeria is currently facing quite a number of socio-economic and political challenges that need to be addressed with utmost importance and urgency. “
“They include Peace and security, Corruption, Economy and Infrastructure, The Youth and Unemployment, Elimination of Violence Against Women and Children, COVID-19 Pandemic, and Restructuring and Fiscal Federalism.”
PEACE AND SECURITY
The primary function of any government is the protection of lives and property of it’s Citizens. Peace is cardinal for development. The pathetic state of the nation’s security is worrisome. Insurgency, shedding of innocent blood, wanton destruction of lives and property, banditry, insurgency and kidnapping of people including innocent school children are rampant and should not be allowed to continue.
The time has come for the Federal and State governments, stakeholders and indeed all Nigerians to aggressively and decisively combat insecurity in the land. Perpetrators should be brought to book and prosecuted.
The security architecture of the country is due for review. The current agitation by some sections of the country to break away is an indication of loss of confidence and lack of trust in government. It is therefore important that the issue of security be addressed urgently.
I hereby urge the Federal Government to consider the decentralization system of Policing, by introducing Regional and Community Police to deliver more effective and efficient service.
Life is precious and sacred, and no one has the right to terminate it with impunity.
Corruption in Nigeria has become endemic. The hydra headed monster has continued to ravage and eat deep into the socio-economic and political life of the society. It cuts across, and includes Federal and State governments’ agencies and parastatals.
The EFCC and ICPC should be strengthened and empowered, and if necessary merged together in order to fight corruption more aggressively; while putting more stringent measures and policies put in place.
“Righteousness exalts a nation, sin is a reproach.” (Proverbs 14:34).
ECONOMY AND INFRASTRUCTURE
The diversification of the economy is a step in the right direction and should be implemented more vigorously, especially in the areas of agriculture and mineral resources. This will create avenues for wealth creation and massive employment.
Government should embark on people’s oriented projects, and put in place structures in the areas of health, housing, education and power.
For instance, electricity all over the world is to national development what blood is to human body. Therefore, adequate provision of power is cardinal for any sustainable development.
I hereby urge the Federal Government to vigorously address the issue of electricity.
It is important to stem the tide of the rising cost of living (foodstuffs, fuel electricity, etc) and thus reduce inflation.
THE YOUTH AND UNEMPLOYMENT
I wish to reiterate that the time is ripe for the government to dialogue with the Youth for a better tomorrow and a New Nigeria.
The events of 2020 have brought to fore the need to actively dialog with the youth and involve the Youth in governance.
The need to engage and empower the youth cannot be over emphasised.
The high rate of unemployment, especially among the youth remains a source of concern.
I hereby urge the Government to vigorously diversify the economy and use the agricultural, mining, manufacturing and information technology sectors to reverse the trend of mass unemployment.
ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN
The rate of Gender Based Violence (GBV) against women and girls is on the increase, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Domestic violence, child abuse and rape are rampant. Stiffer penalties backed by legislation for rapists are highly recommended.
Similarly, I hereby urge all the States that are yet to domesticate the Child’s Rights Act 2003 and Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) 2015, to do so with utmost urgency.
The current increase in the number of confirmed cases due to the third wave of the pandemic is a serious source of concern.
I urge all and sundry to adhere strictly to all the United Nations’ protocols on COVID-19.
I wish to commend all frontline workers for their selfless service.
I commiserate with all those who have lost loved ones, and may the souls of the departed rest in peace.
May God keep you all safe under the shadow of His Wings.
RESTRUCTURING AND FISCAL FEDERALISM
Restructuring into Regional Governments is the prerequisite for ensuring good governance, fairness, equity, justice, peaceful coexistence as well as economic development for Nigeria, and the time is now.
It is the panacea for the myriad of challenges confronting the country.
I therefore, urge the Federal Government and the National Assembly to give it due consideration in order to enhance and fast-track the development of the country.
Fiscal Federalism is the major antidote for many of the woes confronting Nigeria. With Fiscal Federalism in place, all the regional violent groups will seize to exist.
I hereby urge the Federal Government and the National Assembly to promote Fiscal Federalism and regional integration, and healthy competition among the component units of the federation.
I enjoin my colleagues of other denominations and indeed all Nigerians to have the fear of God, and continue to intercede for Nigeria so that peace, security and prosperity will reign in the country.
May the Peace of God which surpasses all human understanding forever abide with you all, and may the good Lord intervene in the affairs of Nigeria, in Jesus name, Amen.
The Most Rev. Dr. Rufus Okikiola Ositelu.
The Primate of THE CHURCH OF THE LORD (Worldwide).
August 22nd, 2021