A former Ambassador of Nigeria to Switzerland and ex-Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Dr Martin Uhomoibhi, has stated that Nigerians are Nigeria’s problem, stressing that the country’s problem is spiritual.
Uhomoibhi, who is Founder and President of Pan African Institute of Global Affairs and Strategy, said while the likes of the late Nelson Mandela and Paul Kagame worked towards building a new South Africa and Rwanda, respectively, their counterparts in Nigeria were in their bedrooms lamenting, wailing and praying.
In his address as guest speaker at the first Annual Convention of Old Seminarians Association of Nigeria, Uhomoibhi stated that Nigeria has both leadership and followership challenges.
Uhomoibhi’s speech at the event held in Abuja on Friday was titled, ‘Building Our Fraternity, Strengthening Our Nation.’
He partly said, “I have a final word here. I have expressed that Nigeria is at the crossroads economically, politically and socially. Indeed, some will even say that we are facing an existential threat.
“In my encounters everywhere, I have never shied away from saying that the problem that faces Nigeria – the contest that goes on in Nigeria – is not canal, it is spiritual.
“The challenge of Nigeria is not canal, it is spiritual. From my field experience, I know that the battle that we fight is not canal, it is spiritual. The confrontation is between light and darkness.
“Talking from an empirical experience – one who has held offices and still, perhaps, holding one or two, I know that if you are not strong spiritually and if you do not value the privilege that God has blessed you with, of being who you are, there are consequences. That Nigeria, my country, still exists today is a shock to many people. Shocking! Plan ‘A’ failed. Plan ‘B’ is failing. Plan ‘C’ will fail. Nigeria is an enigma. Nigeria has remained strong.
“Nigeria is not in the hands of anybody. The destiny of Nigeria is not in the hands of whoever, it is in the hands of Him and us. All we need is to work with Him to preserve the entity and unity of Nigeria.
“The problem of Nigeria is not God, the problem of Nigeria is Nigerians. The day that Nigerians decide and agree that these potentials that are locked and bound in this country must be actualised and become reality, the work is done. Americans built America. Britons built Britain. Who will build Nigeria? Nigerians must build Nigeria.
“Would there be a South Africa today without Mandela? Mandela was in jail for 27 years. That was how South Africa became free. Would there be Rwanda today without Paul Kagame? No. Where are our Mandelas? Where are our Kagames in the Nigerian space? They are there but they are hiding. They are in their bedrooms lamenting and wailing; some are actually also praying.
“If you choose not to allow yourself to be used by God, or you made wrong choices, how can you blame God for that? You can pray from now till next year, but God will say ‘I have done my bit, where is your part?’
“There is the problem of leadership and followership. There are inconsistencies in the constitutional provision. The judicial space is in a deplorable condition. The democratic process is challenged.”
President of OSAN, Dr Chinedu Akubueze, noted, “What stands us out is the common Catholic heritage we have as Nigerians who attended Catholic seminaries.”
According to him, the intrinsic training one obtains from attending a seminary is unique and stays with one all through one’s life.
“It impacts the society in the sense we have our members spread across all professions; all fields of life, fields of human endeavour where they contribute their quota towards societal development because as an old Seminarian, you know where you are coming from, you have your background to speak for you and you know people are monitoring,” he said.