The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo yesterday noted that there should be an aggressive reawakening of its public consciousness and trust on the young demographic to lead the federation as a condition to build a new Nigeria.
He said the church “has a critical role in shaping the narrative of the country. There Is nothing apolitical about faith because religion at its core is preoccupied with the total welfare of the people.
He expressed the views at the second national symposium of Cherubim and Seraphim Movement (Surulere District) titled “The State, the Society and the Church” held at the church auditorium along Oshodi-Apapa road, Lagos.
Among others, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Isiaka Amao and General Leader, Cherubim and Seraphim (Ayo Ni O), Dr. Sunday Funsho were present at the symposium.
Speaking at the symposium yesterday, Osinbajo explained that at the heart of our ongoing quest to get the potential of Nigeria and Nigerians to square up with its lived realities “is the need to reclaim our sense of private and public values.
“The Nigeria of our dreams cannot be attained without an aggressive reawakening of our public consciousness; without a sense of collective values rooted in the very principles our faiths espouse, principles of honesty and hard-work, mutual respect, cooperation, tolerance and fidelity to the common good.”
As a pastor who has spent over two decades in public service, the vice president said: “I have an unflinching faith in the capacity of Nigerians to build a country we can all be proud of.
“Like most of us, I have seen first-hand what Nigerians are capable of given the right environment and support. The Nigerian people, particularly the young people today, who are daring great odds to take their place under the sun, represent the beacon of hope for a new Nigeria.
“We must rise up to meet them with the values required to build a sustainable future and inspire them toward the moral imperative of doing good and honest work to the best of their ability, as a service to humanity and to God.”
Citing the book of Proverb 23:18, he said surely there “is hope and future for Nigeria. People’s voices must rise in the fervency of hope at this moment in our national life like never before.
“We have a duty and charge by God Himself to challenge the moral conscience of leadership when we do not live up to the standards of our office. We have the ears and the hearts of the people.
“We must inspire them through our own great example to look to the future with hope and to find that hope in their God-given abilities, in the strength of their character, in the enduring value of honest work and a patriotic commitment to the overall well-being of Nigeria.”
Admonishing the church, Osinbajo said the people of faith who understand the intersections between the state, society, and the church, had always been important to the overall state of affairs.
“Even in a democracy like ours, where the church has no direct control of the levers of state, its influence has never been in question.
“First, its unique moral positioning and authority allows it to serve as a moral arbiter between the people and their governments, inspiring every component of society to fulfil their duties and obligations to each other with integrity and competence.
“Secondly, given its proximity and direct influence on the people, the church possesses a subtle but potent political value, which politicians understand and have always courted.
“In wielding its power, with integrity and a clear conscience, the church is able to serve as a force for good. We have seen this happen across the world and through time,” the vice president said.
Giving his remarks, Fashola said the federation could change by following the path of China, which overcame its period of humiliation to emerge a dominant manufacturing hub in the world.
“The truth is that our development has outgrown our infrastructure needs at the moment. In 1975, I was 12 when the Apapa-Oworonshoki expressway was constructed. Have we expanded it since 1975?
“Around that time the Murtala Mohammed Airport was built to handle about four million passengers or so a year, but processes almost triple that now. Have we expanded that? If we are concerned now, is it just to make it better? How far that goes is a matter of debate and also about choice and resources.”
On his part, Amao said the church was highly influential in the society and the current socio-economic challenges affecting the nation, such as insecurity.
He stated that this situation required an all-of-society approach, thus one can infer that the church has a crucial role in creating the new Nigeria.
“These challenges inhibit the realisation of “unity and faith, peace and progress” as a nation. However, we are aware that the generality of Nigerians are progressive, resilient and peace-loving people.
“Hence, the Church, the Society and the State need to cooperate more than ever before to realise-the new Nigeria that we all desire.”
“Nigeria has acquired several combat aircraft and equipment for the Nigerian Air Force to support surface forces in asymmetric warfare as well as to detect and neutralise enemies of the State, especially in hostile environments.”