The Catholic Bishop of Minna Diocese, Most Rev. Martins Uzoukwu, has said that the greatest achievements of Nigeria was the ability of the people to stay together after the Nigerian civil war.
Uzoukwu in an interview in Minna on Friday that this was in spite of more measure needed to heal the wounds of the war.
He said that Nigerians have generally taken the aftermath of the most tragic event in the country in their stride.
The cleric said another remarkable achievement was the restoration and sustenance of democracy.
“Nigerians have shown that they prefer democracy to any type of military dictatorship. They fought for the return to civil rule in 1999 and have ensured that nobody changes the rules or jeopardises it.”
He noted that politicians on several occasions have made mistakes and taken decisions out of selfish interests which almost tilted the democracy cart in Nigeria.
“Nigeria has also built its economy to become the number one in Africa because of the liberalisation policies of the various governments.
“It is not there yet as the ease of doing business, the challenges of inflation and increasing national debts are slowing the progress of the economy.”
He added that Nigerians were making the country proud with their achievements in various spheres of human endeavours and important contributions to the development and growth of the human family in different parts of the world.
He however noted that it was unfortunate that all achievements as a nation were being obscured and obliterated by the incessant security challenges in the nation.
“We need to improve the situation of security agencies by re-jigging the security structures in the country.
“We are to provide our security personnel with the much needed equipment and incentives to help them in their engagements with groups promoting violence, banditry and kidnapping.
“We need to work hard to bring to book and to face justice the sponsors of violence and those perpetrating the heinous evil behind the scenes,” he said.
Uzoukwu called on the Federal Government to work hard to promote safety on the roads and stop the kidnapping of people which had become a national embarrassment.
“We can arrest the situation by creating a safe and accommodating political environment and also providing a fair political space during our general elections so that Nigerians can truly elect leaders at all levels that will truly represent them.
“The onus is on the present administration to ensure that the forthcoming 2023 general elections are free and fair,” he said.
He said that Nigerians would not be happy if the elections were manipulated, adding that such would breed a sense of injustice which will not help the present state of insecurity and social uncertainties that pervade the nation.
“We should encourage the people to engage in politics with all sense of responsibility to themselves, their communities and our country.
“Our people need to be encouraged also to go out and vote en masse so that any undesirable contestant will be removed, not by violent means, but by the power of the voters’ cards.
The cleric added that government must promote education at all levels and engage the young minds with research, creativity and opportunities to learn life-enhancing skills.
“In the midst of all these is the importance of constant prayers as St. Paul encourages us (1 Thess 5:17). We must continue committing the nation to the hands of God.
“We should be grateful to Him for sustaining us these past 62 years in spite of the many challenges we created for ourselves in the country.
“I call on people of good will of different faiths to utilise this opportunity to pray for the good of our country, the good of our leaders and the success of the forthcoming elections.
“We should also make a spiritual commitment to God that we will play our own part to promote the good and wellbeing of Nigeria as a nation,” he said.