Country men and women, permit me to congratulate all and sundry on the outcome of the 2015 general elections. The cloud of fear, uncertainty and countless prophesies of doom were enough in themselves to scare even angels. Most of the foreign journalists that came to cover the elections came with bulletproof vests, expecting all hell to break loose. Friends and foes of our great nation were waiting for Nigeria to burn, but like Jonah over Nineveh, thank goodness they were disappointed.
As we reflect on the great thing that God has done for us as a country, we must all set aside our political differences and unite for the peace and prosperity of our great nation. Electoral victory is an event; nation building is a continuous and never ending process. Every one of us must see the incoming government as our government, whether we voted against the APC or didn’t vote at all. We must all see the President-Elect as our president with effect from May 29th, whether you are Christian, Muslim or Animist.
In the light of this, I will like to echo the thoughts of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, as captured in his book Flashes of Thought, “my advice to any leader, whether of a country, a company, a team or anything else, is to unite hearts before uniting efforts and to feel the spirit before building the place”. The coming days must see the government and people of Nigeria doing everything to unite Nigeria and Nigerians. Our hearts must unite before our efforts can produce the right results.
The only way to build the Nigeria of our dreams is to first heal the wounds and address the issues that divide us. We must discard mutual suspicion, hidden fears, perceived marginalisation and all forms of discrimination, whether religious, tribal or ethnic. As Leaders or citizens, we must see ourselves as Nigerians first, before we are Yoruba’s, Hausa’s, Igbo’s or Isoko’s.
Outside the shores of this country, we all see ourselves first as Nigerians. I recall meeting an Igbo businessman on the streets of Budapest spotting the signature red cap; O how we hugged and exchanged pleasantries. Abroad, we always maintain a united front. I saw a video of Nigerians in South Africa uniting to protect the lives, businesses and properties of one another from the ongoing condemnable Xenophobia. They came together under the umbrella of “Nigeria Union” to fight for their common good. This is the type of unity that we must present at home. The unity of the hearts is what we need to unleash the greatness locked up in our people and our land.
The story of the tower of Babel comes to mind as I look towards the years ahead of the incoming government. Every Nigerian is looking forward to the government to champion the course of the building of a great Nigeria. For us to build a nation that heaven and earth will applaud, we must be a united people. For at Babel they were of one language, one speech and one vision. Let it be said that the 2015 elections was the beginning of the building of the Nigeria powerhouse that became a world super power.
Our leaders must unite going forward, the unity we seek is not a leadership united to loot our commonwealth, but a leadership united as a force for social good, with a burning passion to please the people. The effort of government should be towards the comfort, satisfaction, and happiness of Nigerians. Like Al Maktoum said, “The government must work for the people, achieve its objectives through the people and measure its success through their satisfaction.” The inspirational Sheikh adds, “The government is an authority, but it is an authority at the service of the people and not an authority over them. Its mission is to please them and to build a promising future for their children.”
I wish the incoming government wisdom, grace and Godspeed as we all work towards team Nigeria United.
Sunday Ogidigbo is the Lead Pastor at Holyhill Church and the Executive Director of Holyhill Relief Foundation in Abuja. You can follow him on twitter @SOgidigbo. For more details, visit www.sogidigbo.com.