We greet all the people of God in Nigeria and in the diaspora in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God on your behalf for divine protection in the face of all manner of threats that surround us.
Our hearts go out to all who have been victims of man’s inhumanity to fellow man in our land, and all over the world. Our attention in this pastoral letter/press release is focused on the Nigerian situation; and so we make particular mention of victims of robbery, banditry, kidnapping, ritual killings, mass murder or genocide and other forms of violence and inhumanity in various parts of Nigeria. We pray for divine comfort for all who have lost loved ones, and supernatural healing for the living who have been traumatized in one way or the other (displaced, dispossessed, raped, robbed, bereaved, etc.). It is painful and regrettable that our nation has been turned into a theatre of violence while our security agencies appear perplexed or overwhelmed.
We hereby join all well-meaning Nigerians to call on all our leaders of thought, and the generality of Nigerian masses, to arise and rescue Nigeria from imminent collapse. While we acknowledge that Government (or, political leadership) is the official force for ensuring stability and cohesion in a nation, we must admit that the current Nigerian federal government has surrendered the initiative to non-state actors. Before our Government surrenders the instruments of state to terrorists and insurgents, the people of Nigeria must arise to redeem their nation. Hence, we appeal to leaders of thought nationwide to urgently come together and convoke an emergency national dialogue aimed at finding amicable resolutions to the various threats bedeviling our nation – most importantly the problem of insecurity.
We are aware that Government does not want to hear the term “Sovereign National Conference”. However, by whatever name such a gathering is to be called, we need to urgently rally ourselves together as a people to discuss how to rescue Nigeria from imminent state capture by agents of evil. Recent events convince all right-thinking persons that terrorists and bandits have become more emboldened than ever and that they are now totally unafraid of the agents of the State (as presently constituted). We shudder to think that the Nigerian state has lost its monopoly of violence and that these non-state actors have accumulated the capacity to demonstrate balance (or in fact, superiority) of terror against the State. However, the fact that they can roam free, and even grant interviews and hold public functions without consequence suggests that they are gradually becoming as powerful as (if not more powerful than) our legally constituted authority. It is therefore imperative and urgent that the people of Nigeria unite to fashion a way to overcome this existential threat, rather than wait for a Government that is deep in denial/slumber.
Such a convocation of concerned Nigerians should mobilize:
– All past political leaders at the national level
– All past former Governors
– All authentic traditional rulers from ALL ethnic nationalities
– Retired Generals and all past seniors officers in the military/intelligence services
– Present and past leaders of the Organized Labor and trade unions
– Leaders of civil society organizations
– Leaders of youth organizations
– Nigerians in Diaspora
– All those who have won international honors for Nigeria in the past
We recommend that no one should be paid for attending this Convocation of Concerned Citizens. All who are concerned about our nation should attend at their own cost, and contribute their quota towards resolving the problem on hand. At such a gathering, Nigerians should listen to all groups that have grievances against the state (including even the bandits/terrorists who are willing to come forward with their grievances), and seek true reconciliation rather than a victor/vanquished situation.
We are aware that many Nigerians have given up hope in this Government and are just waiting for the 2023 elections. However, with respect to the security and economy, the elections are still far away. Unless there is an urgent and radical intervention to arrest our descent into anarchy, this nation may in fact find itself in a situation whereby elections are difficult to hold (if not impossible). This is why we must all arise to help the Buhari administration to stabilize the ship of state (after all, Nigeria belongs to all of us). As things stand presently, if Nigerians leave things entirely to our political leadership, these terrorists and non-state actors may actualize their threat that they would over-run the federal capital and kidnap the President.
We have reached a point whereby mere talk is no longer enough. Nigerians must act quickly to rescue this nation from destruction. Let us accept the fact that our political leadership has failed us, and let us galvanize ourselves (through aggregations of community action) and act now to save ourselves before it is too late. Even though it may deny the fact, it is very obvious that the Buhari administration needs help – this Government appears to have run out of ideas and impetus on how to solve Nigeria’s myriad problems, security in particular. We the citizens just have to help our Government. The time to act is NOW. May 29, 2023, maybe too late.
God save our Country Nigeria
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Most Revd Joseph O. Akinfenwa D.D, Ph.D
Ibadan of Ibadan Anglican Diocese