Elections: U.S pastor prays for Nigeria

Pastor Franklyn Richardson, Senior Pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Mount Vernon, New York, has prayed for a peaceful outcome of the upcoming general elections in Nigeria.

Richardson, who pastors one of the largest American churches with people of African and Caribbean descents, said at the church service to commemorate the 2019 Black History Month that Nigeria is too important to be drawn into any political crisis.

The cleric, who hosted the Consul General of Nigeria to New York, Mr Benaoyagha Okoyen, representing the diplomatic community at the service, said: “We pray for peace in the Nigerian election; we pray that the outcome will be peace”.

He advised that whoever loses the election should accept defeat or challenge the outcome in a peaceful manner, according to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.

“It’s not about who wins, it’s about keeping the calm in the country no matter what.

“And that’s in the best interest of all Nigerians and all Africans in the world that there be peace in Nigeria,” the cleric said.

According to him, Nigeria or any other country in Africa could not afford any political crisis again.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Presidential and National elections scheduled for February 16 was postponed to February 23 few hours to the commencement of the polls.

Similarly, the Governorship and House of Assembly elections were shifted from March 2 to March 9.

The Consul-General of Nigeria, Benaoyagha Okoyen, in his remarks at the church service, commended the Nigerians and Africans in the diaspora “for their resilience, determination and ingenuity”.

“In recognising the central roles of Blacks in the United States history, we must continue to celebrate the distinct cultural heritage, accomplishments and acknowledge the enormous contributions of the Africans in the development of the United States of America.

“As we commemorate this year’s Black History Month, the Consulate General of Nigeria in New York wishes to pay special tribute to the tireless efforts of the extraordinary African-American leaders and all Africans in the diaspora, who defend and promote justice, fairness, freedom and equality for all people,” Okoyen said.

The Guest Preacher, Dr Boykin Sanders, stressed the need for African diasporas to trace their ancestry back to Africa.

Sanders pointed out that the Jews traced their roots back and returned to develop their homeland, saying Africans should return to develop Africa.

The Church remembered the Africans who died from exhaustion, and cruel conditions, as well as those who were killed for their resistance in slavery.

Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month, is an annual observance in the United States, Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom from February 1 to February 28.

The observance began as a way for remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora.