President Goodluck JonathanÂ has described theÂ amalgamation of the Northern and Southern ProtectoratesÂ Â Â in 1914Â asÂ anÂ act of God.
Jonathan, who joined the faithfulÂ at the Apostolic Faith Church, Jabi in Abuja,Â Â for the last Sunday service of the year, however,Â identified lack of unity and loveÂ as the greatest problemÂ facing Nigeria.
He likenedÂ the nationâ€™sÂ Â challengesÂ toÂ thoseÂ of theÂ Israelites when theyÂ were aboutÂ to move out of Egypt to the Promised Land.
The PresidentÂ said, â€œAs a nation, we have our challenges. Anytime I look at the history of Nigeria and the challenges we face,Â I rememberÂ aÂ partÂ of the old testamentÂ in the Bible that talksÂ aboutÂ the Israelites when they decided to move out of Egypt to the PromisedÂ Land. WeÂ have something quite similar.
â€œAs you are getting closer to the promised land, you meet more obstacles and thank God for the sermon we have heard here today(Sunday). EvenÂ theÂ songsÂ showed that the greatest problem we haveÂ areÂ lack of unity and love.
â€œNigeria was amalgamated by our colonial masters in 1914. ByÂ January 1 next year, NigeriaÂ Â Â will be 100 yearsÂ .Â I totally agree with the ministerÂ that it was not by chance that we are one as a nation, it was ordained by God.
â€œIf God didnâ€™t will itÂ that way and at that point,Â the North and South would not have come together. The details of the North and South coming together makeÂ Nigeria a very great country.
â€œI used to say that Nigeria is great not because of itsÂ oil.Â WeÂ have countries that produce more oil than Nigeria but nobody talks about them.
â€œWe have countries that have multi-billion dollars inÂ their reserves and nobody talks about them but here we are,Â just talking about $40bn in our reserves , yetÂ the biggestÂ andÂ smallest countriesÂ talkÂ about Nigeria. Why?Â It is Because of the diversity from the North to the South,Â the human and natural resources, the potential and the population that we have.
â€œ So, Nigeria is a country that has a special blessing from God. It is thereforeÂ left toÂ us to appreciate God and continue to pray forÂ hisÂ interventionÂ forÂ this country to continue to be great.â€
Jonathan again promised to bequeath a different Nigeria to the next generation.
He said his administration was committed to working hard to overcome barriers that hadÂ to do with religious or ethnic differences.
The PresidentÂ said it was also when such barriers wereÂ crossed that Nigerian children would enjoy a better future.
He said, â€œI promise our children that we are totally committed to making sure that they meet a different Nigeria.Â We will collectively work hard to overcomeÂ ourÂ barriers.
â€œImmediately we cross theÂ barriersÂ and we begin to believe that we are all Nigerians and we are committed to the development of this country, our children will surely meet a better Nigeria. We will try our best but this is not the time toÂ reel outÂ what we are not doing, otherwiseÂ peopleÂ will think I am here to campaign.
â€œBut I assureÂ this congregation, and indeed all Nigerians,Â that by the grace of God and your support, I am where I amÂ today from nowhere. Any NigerianÂ childÂ Â can also be where I am.
â€œI come from the smallest state in this country and even in myÂ state (Bayelsa), my community isÂ one of the smallest. Within myÂ communityÂ in the state,Â mine is one of the smallestÂ , but I am here today as PresidentÂ by the grace of God.
â€œThat is the type of Nigeria we want to create; a Nigeria where you can get what you want if you work hard,Â notÂ a Nigeria whereÂ you know somebody thatÂ knows somebody that will takeÂ you toÂ somebody.
â€œWe will work with you to help you to get to wherever you want to go.â€
The PresidentÂ alsoÂ said he was now wary of what he says in public because of theÂ fear of beingÂ misinterpretedÂ .
He said, â€œBecause for those of us in politics, these days are not the best days to make speeches because any statement we make, people look at how to paint it. The next day when you read the newspapers, you start doubting if that is what you said.
â€œSo any statement we make is alwaysÂ used against us but I am quite pleased to be here with you today(Sunday) to worship with you.
In his sermon titled â€œLiving worthy of great mercies, great faithfulness of God,â€ Rev. Bayo Adeniran said Nigeria would be great again if its citizens learntÂ to forsake their evil ways and returnedÂ to God just like the people of NinevehÂ in the Bible did.
He said, â€œIf Nigeria believesÂ in God like the people of Nineveh, God will heal Nigeria. The swiftness of God shall visit this country. We are so bothered about external corruption, but there is so much corruption in the heart.â€
â€œThe nation starts withÂ Â the individual and the family. Return to God and God will answer your prayers. Nigeria shall not die, itÂ will live if we return to God.â€