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Nigeria Won't Break, Jonathan Assures

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SAN FRANCISCO, January 13, (THEWILL) - President Goodluck Jonathan, Sunday, assured that Nigeria would remain an indivisible entity in spite of the challenges threatening the peaceful co-existence of its people.

The president gave the assurance while speaking at the inter-denominational church service held to mark this year's Armed Forces Remembrance Day at the National Christian Centre, Abuja.

Those at the service included the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan and the president's mother, Eunice Jonathan; Senate President David Mark; Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha; and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pious Anyim.

Others included members of the Federal Executive Council, Service Chiefs and their spouses, members of the diplomatic corps, members of the private sector and Christians from different denominations.

Jonathan, who noted that the Federal Government alone cannot fix all the challenges facing the country, called on all Nigerians to resolve to make the country work so as to build a stable and prosperous nation.

The president, who also called on Nigerians to resist the current trend of terrorism and the calls in some quarters for disintegration, hailed the country's Armed Forces and other security services for their roles in keeping the country as one.

"Nigeria will not disintegrate. Anybody may be doing research on sociology, psychology or political science, I know Nigeria will remain one.

"In 2014 we will celebrate our centenary, 100 years in existence. It will only take two mad people to stay in marriage for 100 years and say that is the time they want divorce; and we are not mad. If there are issues that have been brewing over the period and we have been managing, we will continue to manage.

"We will not think about separation. I always say some nations have their own history, atimes people question the unity of this country, especially when they talk about the amalgamation of the north and south in 1914, some big countries have very ugly pasts.

" But is not for us to begin make history; it is for us who are alive today to shift our focus and begin to talk about those things that will bring unity, development."

According to Jonathan, "We are here to remember the Armed Forces who serve within and in various parts of the world to bring peace to the world and in that process lost their lives.

"Let me appreciate the church for what you have been doing over the period, for what you have been doing persistently for peace to reign in our land and the nation to develop.

"Let me especially appreciate the leaders of the Christians who have, on a daily basis, organise various prayers for us.

"Let me especially thank the Armed Forces because today is their day and also the police and other services, we sleep because they stay awake.

"In some cases where things happen people blamed profusely but for those of us who get reports on daily happenings about such challenges, we know that these men and women have been doing very well.

"I thank them for their gallantry, dedication to service, for the work they have been doing for us and we pray that God will see them through."

He also used the opportunity to encourage the Armed Forces to continue to do what they have been doing, assuring that the country will get through her various challenges.

According to Jonathan, "As we remember the work the Armed Forces and other security outfits have been doing, I think the best gift we can give to them as a people, is to pray for them and in our daily activities to preach peace, love and unity."

He stressed the need for Nigerians to love one another and strive to live in peace, noting that by so doing, some of the challenges being encountered would be avoided.

"But if our leaders at whatever level, whether political, community or religious, talk more about those things that divide us instead of those things that bring us together, then we will be encouraging the younger ones who know little or nothing about the history of this country to do things differently and sometimes conduct themselves in a way that is clearly anti social," he said.

According to Jonathan, "Some of the best gifts we can give to the Armed Forces and their sister organisations is for us in our various activities to emphasise the need for us to live in peace, love ourselves and unite.

"Some people talk about disintegration of Nigeria, now even at political levels, some people take it as weapon when they want to discuss politics. But my conviction and I believe that of most people here and those listening to us is that Nigeria will continue to remain a united nation.

"I always say that Nigeria is great is not because of our oil, because we have people that produce more oil than us but we are appreciated and still reckon with because of our size and diversity both for human beings and environment. These are areas we should exploit for unity and development.

"So please let us all stand up and condemn those who say otherwise about our unity, those who call for our disintegration or who make similar statements should be condemned by all Nigerians.

"As a country made up of great citizens, when we work together, when government play its role and the citizens also play their role, surely we will get to where we want to go. If only the government or only the people are working, and the other is not playing the required role and provide the enabling environment, of course, we will not go anywhere.

"But when we work together, our children and our children yet unborn will be happy.

"God willing, with your prayers and commitment, Nigeria will get to where she wants to go", he said.

The President, Nigerian Baptist Convention, Rev. Supo Ayokunle, who delivered a message entitled, Embracing the Legacies of a Worthy Officer, at the occasion, pointed out the difference of being called to serve and serving.

He urged the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies to emulate the Roman Centurion who, according to him, was in charge of a hundred Army.

He reminded security operatives that "though you have the power of the gun, you do not have all the power as power belongs to God."

Ayokunle charged the Nigerian officers to treat the soldiers under them with care because only then will they command their respect.

"Don't abuse those under you or those in your community, you are supposed to serve them not bully them. Do not condone the act of terrorists, fish perpetrators out and punish them.

"The third legacy, the Roman officer had was the fear of God which made him to run around to seek help for the sick soldier," he said.

He however lamented the lack of fear of God in the nation, saying "It's lack of the fear of God that makes people not to render service to the nation.

"If you serve God with fear, there will be no corruption in the land any more. We should know that we are encompassed by crowd of witnesses and God sees every dark secrets."

He advised Nigerians to support the Armed Forces by providing them with necessary intelligent information needed to succeed in their work.