Nigeria in Distress

This is honestly painful to admit, but we have no other option but to painfully admit it.
In September 1993, during their 2nd Plenary meeting, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) approved the ‘Prayer for Nigeria in Distress’. This prayer is still said to date.
It is now 29 years since we started saying the prayer. TWENTY-NINE SOLID YEARS. Some reading this were not even born when this prayer was approved.
Is it not painful to admit that the “distress” of Nigeria when the prayer was first approved is not as bad as the “distress” of Nigeria today after 29 years of saying the prayer?
Still more, in 1998 the Nigeria Catholic Bishops approved the “Prayer Against Bribery and Corruption in Nigeria.” It is now twenty-four years since we started saying that prayer. Let us be honest with ourselves, the corruption in Nigeria in 1998 when we started saying that prayer, is it comparable to the corruption today? Does it not look like the more we pray, the more the decay?
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) was established in 1976. That means the association is 46 years old. Go through history, there is no year the association has not called for general prayers and fasting for Nigeria. Sometimes Christians in Nigeria are tasked to fast and pray for Nigeria for 21 days, sometimes even longer. I have once joined some Pentecostal Christians to pray for Nigeria. Despite the shouting that gave almost everyone headaches and body pains, Nigeria keep growing worst.
Let us put it clearly, for 46 years we have been praying and fasting for Nigeria, it is of the fact that things keep going worst by the day. Can we truly say our prayers are answered? Does it not look like the more we pray the more deteriorating things to become?
This is why I said in the beginning that this is painful to admit, but we have no option but to painfully admit it.
Yes, God has not answered those prayers and will not answer them BECAUSE THE PRAYERS ARE MEANT TO BE ANSWERED THROUGH US.
We must constantly bear this in mind, God created us to be co-creators. In other words, we have been given the power to continue in the work of creating a beautiful world. The difference between us and God is that God creates out of nothing (ex-nihilo), but we create out of something. All the “something” we need to get our country out of problems has been provided, it is not the fault of God. Pray and fast, if you do not work for it, you cannot get it. Hit your head on the road as you cast and bind, you are only bringing headache to your head, and if you do not take medicine afterward, you may die.
Part of the prayers against bribery and corruption stated clearly:
TOUCH OUR LIVES and the lives of our leaders and people so that we may all REALISE the evil of bribery and corruption and WORK HARD to ELIMINATE it.
Did you notice that in that prayers, all that God needs to do is to touch our lives so we can realize the evil of bribery and corruption? How many of us do not know the evil of bribery and corruption? If we all are aware, can’t we conveniently say that God has done his part??
Did you also notice that in the prayer it is actually us that have to work hard to eliminate it and not God???
Do you still blame God? Has he not answered our prayers?
We are good at shifting everything to God. For example, at election time we will gather and pray, but sit back at home and will not vote. Many of us don’t even have PVC and it does not worry us.
Or even if we vote…
We will gather and pray for a good leader but will vote for the bad ones, then turn around to blame God.
Those who were entering the church yesterday and do not have PVC will most likely be praying for a better country, yet take a survey and you will be shocked at the number of Christians who have never voted in an election.
The last time I came to Nigeria, I was attacked by the so-called unknown gun people. Everything I had with me was taken. My phone, laptop, passport, PVC, cash. I am just lucky to be alive. It is not an experience I ever want to remember.
If you have never experienced this, you will not understand.
Ask yourself, how come you can endure fasting for 21 days praying for the country but can’t push to get PVC.
How come you can stand outside the whole night listening to prophecies during your adoration vigil but can’t queue to vote?
Please, I beg you with all you hold dear, go and get your PVC and vote for the candidate that did not bribe delegates. It is morally evil to vote for a candidate that you are aware bribed his way through.
Fr. Kelvin Ugwu
Fr. Kelvin Ugwu
Fr Kelvin Ugwu MSP is an influential Nigerian Catholic priest on a mission in The Gambia.

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