President Goodluck Jonathan declared yesterday that his administration’s transformation agenda was not a magic wand that would solve all the challenges confronting the country at once. He said the major concern of his government was to demonstrate an unfailing love for all Nigerians instead of hostility and violence.
Also yesterday, a former British prime minister, Mr Tony Blair, said from the difficulty he went through in his bid to transform his country, the task of national transformation anywhere in the world required the efforts of committed leaders.
Both Jonathan and Blair spoke when the president dedicated the House on the Rock Cathedral in Lagos.
President Jonathan observed that Nigeria had undergone a series of tough times, particularly during the military era, adding that it was the intercessions and prayers of Christians that saved the country from the worst from happening.
He said, “The great task before us as a nation is to demonstrate unfailing love wherever we are and to show that underlying our faith and belief is peace and harmony, never hostility or violence.
“The task of achieving our greatest potential as a nation lies in the collective effort of every individual and community, underpinned by love. If we all do our part, no matter how small, the Nigeria we crave will be a reality.”
Jonathan who said the House on the Rock Cathedral was an achievement of science, technology and the presence of God in the lives of Nigerians, added that “it is also an unmistakable demonstration of our capacity for great achievements as Nigerians in any endeavour where we put our energies, industry and determination towards”.
Quoting some verses from the Bible on the virtues of building the cathedral and its spiritual relevance, the president added that the vision of Rev. Paul Adefarasin, the metropolitan senior pastor of House on the Rock, to build God’s house was commendable.
Mr Blair, who attended the occasion with by his wife Cherie, expressed optimism on the Jonathan administration in its bid to transform the country and change the fortunes of Nigerians who, he noted, were still wallowing in abject poverty.
Noting that he believed in the ability of the country to overcome its current challenges of insecurity, occasioned by religious zealotry, Blair said the quest for religious peace and reconciliation was not peculiar to Nigeria alone.
Recounting his experience in office and using Jerusalem and the Middle East where there is protracted conflict, Blair said he “will love to see the day that Jerusalem will not only be a holy place but a centre of love for all”.
In his sermon, Rev. Adefarasin, who said Blair was his mentor in inter-faith, to which he admits he is committed, decried a situation where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
He urged government to uphold equity and equality among citizens within the ambit of the rule of law, enthusing hope that Nigeria will be great.
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