Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is optimistic that Nigeria’s challenges are temporary, even as he urged Nigerians to look forward to a more prosperous future.
Speaking at the 2017 Independence Day Interdenominational Church Service with the theme: “National Unity in the Bond of Peace and Love” with the anchor text being Ephesians 4:3, held at the National Christian Center, Abuja, Osinbajo urged Christians to demonstrate love even to their enemies.
He noted that the greatest commandment in the scripture is “love the Lord your God with all your strength and love your Neigbour as yourself.”
He also prayed that the nation will blossom and overcome challenges and that the glory of the former days will be nothing to be compared to the glory of the latter days.
“This is responsibility of all who are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Our nation is at a point where we should teach the people the virtue of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Nigeria’s former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Godwon (retd), while also speaking for other former leaders present, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Head of Interim Government, Ernest Shonekan, also urged Nigerians to continue to pray for the peace and unity of the country.
The Senate President who was represented by Senator Shola Adeyeye noted that Nigeria has been in a crises because “we seek the glory of men and not the glory of God.”
He said “Do not fear for Nigeria has fought for its unity and that unity will remain.”
First scripture reading was from the book of Ephesians 4:1-16 and was taken by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen while the Second scripture reading was from the book of Ephesians 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 and was taken by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
In his message, titled: “Godly leadership”. Rev. Aminu Turaki of TEKAN/ECWA speaking from the book of Jeremiah 9:23-24, posed several questions including whether Nigeria can remain united as one, indivisible country? Is patriotism possible? What knowledge and information are Nigerians being fed with? What principles and attitudes govern Nigerians? Is peace, security achievable in Nigeria? What will it cost me personally to be a peace maker, a servant leader? Why are Nigerians not willing to make sacrifices?
The Cleric who noted that Nigeria leaders have abandoned God, described godly leader as one that does godly things, who fears God, who is guided by principle of righteousness and that God holds the leaders accountable for the people.
Turaki appealed to Nigerians to go beyond attacking each other and engage for the benefits of all.
“I want to appeal to all Christians, Muslims, the traditional rulers and leaders to go beyond attacking each other and seriously engage and interact with each other so as to create a new national ground, religious values that can guide a national religious ethnic unity in diversity.
“Secondly, I want to appeal to all national ethnic nationalities and regional groups to go beyond attacking each other to seriously engage and interact with each other so as to create a new national common ground for inter group rites and ethics that can guide and moderate a national life and ethic of unity in diversity.
“I passionately appeal to the Federal Government of Nigeria that in view of the current state of the nation, an urgent national conference be convened to settle the question of restructuring.
“As a member of the 2014 national conference, much ground work has done and be used as a working document in view of the present realities. I passionate appeal to all Nigerians to embrace common ground values that unite us and shun controversial values that create crisis and conflicts. Be the change you want to see, and change begins with me.
There were praise and worship as well as special rendition from CAN Choir and Hallelujah Nigeria 400 Hours Praise Team.
Prayers were said for Nigeria, security and economic challenges facing the nation.
Prayer was also said for President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and others in the Federal Executive Council, the legislature and judiciary both at national and state level, governors and deputy governors other state government executives for peace to reign.
Prayer was also said for the nation’s armed forces and for God using them to maintain peace and stability in the nation.
Prayer was also said for political stability, Nigerian families, peace and development in the country and the unity of the church in Nigeria.
Notable personalities in attendance were former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd), former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Head of Interim Government, Ernest Shonekan, Chief of Defence Staff and service chiefs, former service chiefs, All Progressive Congress (APC), John Odijie-Oyegun, Central Bank Governor (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, Former Information Minister, Jerry Gana, members of the diplomatic corps, CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle and other clerics among others.