30th April, 2012
General Yakubu Gowon, the Chairman of Nigeria Prays, has disclosed that the organisation was formed to seek divine intervention for the county’s problems.
Gowon, a former Nigerian military Head of State, said at a forum organised by the South East Zone of the organisation, that the group was formed in October, 1996, during the regime of the late General Sani Abacha.
He said at that time, Nigeria’s international image was at the lowest ebb because of political instability, corruption and the infamous Advanced Fee Fraud (419).
Gowon said that Nigerians in the Diaspora, who were disturbed by the conditions of the time united and took a decision to address the country’s economic and political problems.
“They came to me and we held a series of meetings in London on how best to tackle the nation’s problems considering that even the government could not find the solution.
“We agreed that since we, as human beings, could not find the solution, there is somebody in heaven that can solve our problems if only we can go to him in prayer,” Gowon said.
He said that in an effort to implement the decision, a body of intercessors was formed and the members embarked on three months intensive prayer to seek the face of God.
He said that he later met Abacha over the plan by the group to hold a national prayer for the country to be tagged, “Nigeria Prays.”
He said that ‘’Abacha accepted the idea and also supported Nigeria Prays, saying that he believed in the power of prayers.
“He also recommended that I should mobilise both the Christians and Muslims for a joint national prayer and supplication to God,” he stated.
Gowon said that rallies were subsequently organised in Abuja and different zones in the country culminating in the establishment of state coordinating offices of the organisation.
He said it was sad that in spite of prayers by the organisation, Nigeria’s problems not only remained unresolved but escalated through acts of militancy, kidnapping and terrorism.
He said that the issue of the Boko Haram sect posed a great challenge to the group and implored all Nigerians to remain steadfast in their faith in God and “to pray without ceasing.
“I assurethat God will answer our prayers and bring an end to the problems of insecurity in the country.
“If we will take our problems to God genuinely, He will hear our prayers and heal our land.”
The Chairman of the event, which was tagged “Chance to meet with partners,” Rep . UzoAzubuike, and others underscored the need for Nigerians to take the challenges facing the nation to God.
In his opening remark, Azubuike, said that the alarming state of insecurity in the country showed that the security agencies had been stretched and were looking for appropriate strategies to deal with the situation.
He said that there could not be a better time to seek the face of God for solution to the nation’s problems than now and urged Gowon to reconsider Abacha’s suggestion for the mobilisation of Nigerians of all faiths for prayers.
Azubuike, representing Aba Central Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, said that the problem of Nigeria was neither religious nor ethnic but “ignorance of few people at the low level of society.”
The Rector of Abia Polytechnic, Mr. Allwell Onukaogu, in an address of welcome, also emphasised the essence of prayers and paid special tribute to Gowon for initiating the programme.
The General Overseer of Jesus the Way Ministry, Enugu, Rev. John Oga, who delivered a short exhortation, said prayer was “invaluable” and a potent means of eliciting divine solution to the nation’s security and economic challenges.
Gowon had earlier been conferred with the chieftaincy title of “Ome Udo” (Peace maker) by Eze Ezenwata Mbakwe, the First Deputy Chairman of Abia State Traditional Rulers Council.
The ceremony took place in Mbakwe’s palace at Okaiuga in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia.