October Devotion – Nigeria at 56, Please get on your knees
At 56, Nigerians may have prayed more than their political leaders have worked. Sadly, our leaders have not matched the honest desires, prayers and aspiration of the people with selfless service and patriotism that are required to move this country forward. It’s yet another month of October, let’s join our hearts in prayer as we mark the October Devotion.
If prayer changes things; it will change Nigeria we still believe, because people are praying. And so, if there is any time Nigerians need to prayer harder and make tearful supplications to the Almighty God, it is now. Even at 56th independence anniversary, the nation is sick and gasping for breath. It is necessary, though, to point out that the sickness is not sudden by any stroke of the imagination. The nation has been ailing for long and various diagnoses have been given. But because Nigeria was not taking its drugs, the cancer has spread. What is now needed is the “Great Physician” – He can pick his team from anywhere: East, West, North and South!
This is why the October Devotion this time cannot be treated with levity. In fact, the yearly observance has never been more relevant. The nation’s economy is literally grinding to a halt. Nigeria earns little but owes much. The debt burden is huge, a whopping N16.29 trillion, an increase of N4.17 trillion from last year’s. There is disunity in the land as never before, distress, hunger, poverty, joblessness and total helplessness among ordinary Nigerians, who now subsist on less than N100 per day. The situation is bad!
The Pope has started the prayer petition with a global prayer for peace, which has eluded the world generally. Without peace, not much can thrive or happen economically. At a meeting held recently in Akure, Ondo State, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) lamented over the state of the nation as they found that the country was sinking deeper into the mud. They observed that all the former problems and some new ones, including violence, corruption and nepotism are back in full force. They urged the Federal Government to take quick measures to reverse the burgeoning economic recession before hunger mows down more Nigerians.
It is worthwhile to note that the Federal Government, on its part has not seriously promised any immediate change. President Muhammadu Buhari is not inspiring any hope but the Vice President Osinbajo has told us that Buhari would lead Nigeria across the Red Sea as Moses did the Isrealities in Biblical times. We are uncertain if Prof Osinbajo is implying that Nigerians would be in the wilderness with Buhari for 40 years.
We, therefore, need God because 40 years is a long time and many lives will be lost. We are calling on Catholics everywhere to observe the October Devotion with all seriousness at every level – Parish or chaplaincy. Special prayer times should be set aside by the priests and should be diligently observed. Prayer and Devotion time should not be allowed to clash with any other church activity or meeting, however important.
It should also be remembered that the October Devotion makes a demand on the family. Families are required to gather together at special times to pray and say the rosary, also bearing in mind that this month is set aside for the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph.
In the light of the economic downturn in our country and the attendant problems, especially in the family, we are required to make special prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary to help us pray to God for the restoration of life, hope, meaning, economic growth, stability, peace and for the healing of our broken land – our nation Nigeria.
Without divine intervention, our 56th Independence Anniversary is nothing more than another celebration of pain and suffering.