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Former Minister of Information and National Orientation, Frank Nweke II on Thursday in Lagos expressed hope for a better Nigeria even in the face of the country’s myriad challenges.

Nweke II, who delivered the 17th annual birthday lecture in honour of Bishop Mike Okonkwo, said the country’s challenges notwithstanding, he saw a better and stable Nigeria in the nearest future.

The lecture delivered by Nweke II was organised as part of activities to celebrate the 71st birthday of Okonkwo, the Presiding Bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM). He has clocked 71.

An excerpt of the transcript of his speech reads:

I wish to state without equivocation that I believe in our country, Nigeria. I believe in our collective ability as a people to survive the current morass and prosper, even as I recognize that a nation like any entity can bear only so much buffeting from the elements.

In the case of our country, I cannot pretend that I am ignorant about the unparalleled level of degeneracy amongst Nigeria’s political class and the self serving mindset which has stunted our development, impoverished our people and kept our country constantly on the brink.

My hope for Nigeria’s great future is anchored on my deep faith in God and the talent of her young people, which I consider to be our most valuable resource. I am confident that the rapid global changes in technology and the general interconnectedness in this 21st century would act as a catalyst for change and propel our youth to act in order to make progress.

I am of course not suggesting that we should outsource our human responsibility to God. Far from it, and I said as much in my opening statement to the National Conference in 2014 and I quote:

“……Nigeria cannot develop by accident. No nation has and can develop by accident. The old and the new civilizations which we aspire to be like were not built by accident. They were not built by mediocres. They were not built by kleptomaniacs. They were not built by ethnic and religious irredentists. They were built by visionaries, who were disciplined. They were built through a conscious and dedicated effort anchored on deep commitment to the welfare and well being of their people and their place in the world. These nations have continued to make progress for the same considerations today.”

You will agree with me that at each period in the history of our country, when there has been some modicum of visionary leadership, we had achieved some measure of progress, albeit that it is often not in sufficient doses and at worst not sustained.

The consequence is the arrested evolution of ‘immunity against retrogression’ before it is fully developed, if I may describe it as such. And so our country’s march to progress is continually abridged.

In the end, the effect of this dilemma can be likened to that of antibiotics on a non-compliant patient. Such a patient’s immunity is weakened, making him more susceptible to reinfection and worse, non-responsive to available antibiotics in which case relief can only be achieved from larger doses with the risk of addiction and, possibly, death from the debilitating effect of the infection.

Author: Yemi Olarinre