COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 14TH GENERAL SYNOD OF THE CHURCH OF NIGERIA (ANGLICAN COMMUNION) HELD AT ST. MARK’S CHURCH, NNEWICHI, NNEWI, DIOCESE OF NNEWI, ANAMBRA STATE BETWEEN TUESDAY, 12th AND SATURDAY, 16™ SEPTEMBER, 2023
The 14th General Synod of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion held under the guidance and protection of the Almighty God at St. Mark’s Church, Nnewichi, Nnewi, Diocese of Nnewi from Tuesday, 12th – Saturday, 16th September, 2023 with the theme “Arise and Build: God’s Mandate for God’s People in a Broken World” (Nehemiah 2:17-18). It was presided over by the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, The Most Rev’d Henry C. Ndukuba, DD, and his wife Mrs. Angela E. Ndukuba, the President of Women and Girls’ organizations who presided over the Mothers’ Union Executives. In attendance were 155 Archbishops and Bishops, 187 Clergy, 453 Laity and 298 members of the Mothers Union Executives.
Also in attendance to represent the Primate of the Church of the Province of West Africa was The Rt Rev’d Thomas B. Elango Dibo – Bishop of Cameroon. The Executive Governor of Anambra State, Prof. Charles Soludo, his Deputy, Sir Onyeka Ibezim and some other Government functionaries were present at the Opening Ceremony to welcome the delegates to Anambra State.
The General Synod issues the following Communique:
The book of Nehemiah stands out as a rich resource for godly leadership and service to God and humanity which is applicable to our situation in Nigeria today.
The theme encourages personal walk with God, fervency in prayer, consistency in following God’s instructions and word. Nehemiah was a pragmatic leader who took seriously the threat of opposition and responded courageously to their plots. We must be ready to do the right thing with God, for the welfare of the less privileged in the society; corruption and injustice must be challenged. Building a just and equitable society must be the way forward. Building the lives of the people and their welfare is a veiy sustainable way to rebuild the structures of the society, the church and the family.
The General Synod congratulates His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR on his inauguration as the President and Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, all elected Governors and their Deputies and members of the National and States Assemblies. The General Synod further calls on the President and all those elected and appointed not to disappoint the people.
Some challenges facing our Country:
(i) Worsening Insecurity in our Nation:
Increased insecurity has continued to haunt our nation. The Boko Haram insurgents, herdsmen militia, bandits, and the so-called unknown gunmen have continued to unleash terror in different parts of the country. Some communities have been sacked by these criminals and in some cases some government security agents have been implicated. Hundreds of lives have been lost in acts of brutality which have left many victims.
Some of our Church members have been victims of abduction and killing. Kidnapping for ransom is on the increase such that nowhere seems safe. Highways, homes, and even the sacred precincts of worshipping centres are not spared. We condole with all the bereaved and pray for the eternal repose of the deceased. While we continue to call on Governments to stand up to their primary responsibility of safe guarding the lives and property of Nigerians, we enjoin all to strengthen security measures in their homes and institutions.
We call on all citizens to be law-abiding, and vigilant, and to shun all forms of violence and criminality.
(ii) The Economy of our Nation and its effects on the citizens:
Our crumbling national economy has continued to make life difficult and hard for our people. As the value of the Naira continues to decline, the high cost of goods and services, have continued to soar. Still more, the sudden removal of oil subsidy without putting in place adequate measures to cushion the effect of oil subsidy removal has added to the ordeal, hunger, anger, and frustration of the people.
The Synod calls on the Government to make all our refineries work. As a result of high unemployment and hard-biting economic conditions, many Nigerians wallow in abject poverty, and many either flee the nation in search of better living conditions or resort to crime and begging to survive. This situation is further compounded by the growing debt burden that is mortgaging our future and that of upcoming generations.
We, therefore, urge the Federal Government and its relevant agencies to immediately take definite and realistic measures to ameliorate the pains and suffering of the people. Furthermore, Governments need to provide enabling environment for the creation of more jobs by both the Government and the private sector.
(iii) The mass Exodus of our young professional population and the future of Nigeria:
The General Synod observed the current mass exodus of our professionals and young people as worrisome. The political, economic and security situations in the country show that our youth have little to hope for in Nigeria. This perception must be changed such that those who desire to go out of Nigeria will do so by choice and not because they feel constrained. This problem of brain drain and depopulation of the most productive workforce needs to be thoroughly addressed and reversed.
Indices of Good Governance:
The Synod believes that Government has a constitutional and statutory duty of protecting human rights and securing basic justice for all. Society, as a whole, is responsible for building up the common good, and the role of Government is to guarantee the minimum conditions that make human rights and justice possible.
Good governance ensures protection of the rights to life, human dignity, liberty, fair hearing, among others. Despite the many failures of our leaders to ensure good governance, we still nurture and sustain the hope of a democracy that will usher in a renewed era of social justice, equity, peace, and prosperity. These fundamental rights are further enhanced in the rights that are enshrined in the Constitution of Nigeria, such as the rights to health, education, basic amenities, et cetera. Unfortunately, these rights are not justiciable, thereby leaving the enjoyment of these rights to the whims and caprices of the people in power.
The General Elections
We are grateful to God that the elections came and went without experiencing the worst possible scenario predicted in some quarters. A recurring concern about our election process includes cases of vote buying, intimidation of voters aimed at frustrating and compromising the future of the people. We must aim at modeling credible electoral process before the watching world.
The General Synod observes, with dismay that the multi-billion naira BVAS technology which was promised to be a game changer in our experience of elections has been subjected to scandalous contradictions and the earlier official endorsements have now been riddled with ambiguities.
The General Synod calls on the Judiciary to remain steadfast in upholding justice, equity and fairness and abhor any act that will put the Judiciary to question.
Hike in Tuition of Educational Institutions:
The General Synod observed the recent widespread hike in school fees, especially in Government owned institutions. This has the potential to deny the masses access to good and affordable education. This move may have been out of good intentions to recover the fallen standard of education but it is ill-timed, given the harsh economic conditions unleashed by the sudden removal of subsidy. To remedy this situation, the General Synod calls on Government to return to the status quo in view of the present harsh economy.
The General Synod calls upon Government to uphold our cherished Federal Character policy as enshrined in our Constitution to reduce tension in our polity. We encourage the Government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to tread on the path of fairness, equity and justice in the distribution of positions, appointments and general infrastructure to guarantee inclusiveness in building the nation of our dream.
The General Synod advices a total over-haul and review of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended to reflect the aspirations and values of all peoples and cultures. A way forward is to revisit the recommendation of the National Conference of 2014.
Finally, we need to rebuild the broken foundations, the walls and secure the gates of our lives, the family, the mission and ministry of the Church and indeed, the spiritual, moral and prophetic voice for God in this nation and the world.