Nigerian elites from the political, religious to business leaders, all good people and individuals with a vision must come together to make a great difference for Nigeria.
This was the central message Vice President Yemi Osinbajo delivered in separate meetings today at the Presidential Villa first with the new Methodist Archbishop of Abuja, the Most Revd. Michael Akinwale and the leadership of the Northern Reawakening Forum led by Hon. Mohammed Kumalia.
According to Prof. Osinbajo, “the elite (religious, political, business) in this country have the same hopes and aspirations. But it is to this elite that the future of this country has been entrusted. It is what this elite does that will make a difference in the lives of the rest of the nation.”
The VP further noted that “I think that the church has a great responsibility indeed,” adding that “Christ said that we are the salt of the earth, the light of the world.”
According to the VP, “the first point of call is how the faith itself responds to the problems of the country. How does Christianity, how does the gospel respond to the problems of the society?”
“Once the religious elite accept that people can do whatever they like, enrich themselves in whatever way they wish, then it becomes the culture of society and everybody accepts it as such,” he added.
He thanked the Methodist Church for its prayers for peaceful coexistence in Nigeria noting that, “we are always very mindful of the fact that this country is upheld by prayers. There is no question at all that without prayers, we may not be where we are today. So, none of us is under the illusion that a country can survive without the prayers and supplications of the saints.”
He prayed that the Archbishop’s tenure will be of tremendous benefit to the people of Abuja and the country at large.
Earlier in his remarks, Archbishop Akinwale commended the Vice President for his “solidarity which you have always shown with the Christian community. We are also here to salute your visionary leadership, Godly character in governance, your Christian virtue which you have demonstrated over the years, your integrity in enhancing and sustaining the credibility of the Christian faith, your doggedness and commitment and tenacity of purpose.
“We have come to declare peace upon this land and our support for this government. We are convinced that as a church, our main duty is to continue to pray for our country. We are here to assure you that as a church we will continue to pray for the peace of this nation.”
Other members of the delegation include the Archbishop’s wife, Mrs Mopelola Akinwale, Sir Kayode Beckley (Rtd) KJW, Very Rev. Noble Azuonye, Very Rev. Dr. Friday Iroegbu, Very Rev. Dr. Engr. Vincent Asuquo amongst others.
In the meeting with the leadership of the Northern Reawakening Forum, the VP while affirming his belief “in the development of Northern Nigeria as being central to the development of Nigeria,” noted that “in the years that I have been here (in office), it is evident to me that this country has talents from everywhere.”
Continuing, he said “we have sound people in every state. People who are as brilliant as anybody anywhere in the world.
“We have also seen the necessity of building a safe, secure and economically inclusive Northern Nigeria and Nigeria and how that needs to happen. The last few years have shown us that this country is not just about North and South.
“It is about good people, individuals across this country who have a vision for this country. And that like minds across regions, across states must come together to do something about our country.
“We have been able to demonstrate time and time again that this country must benefit from all its talents and from its diversity. What this country needs is like minds across faith and states who have the vision of seeing that this country works,” Prof. Osinbajo added.
On his part, Hon. Kumalia noted that the visit was to strengthen the relationship between the group and VP, noting that “we want to continue to have this strategic relationship with you not only by virtue of your office but your person because we believe that there is so much that you can still contribute to nation building.”
He added that the VP “contributed so much to the development of this country but I want to assure you that you are not done with us yet, what you have done is noted and written in gold and we believe that you have a lot more to contribute.
“We congratulate you on your foray into politics and came here to encourage you to remain steadfast, stand for what you believe in and continue to pursue whatever objectives you set to achieve.”
Other members of the Northern Reawakening Forum at the meeting included the Forum’s Vice Chairman, Hon. Tajudeen Dantata; members of the Forum’s executive council, Hajiya Hauwa Abbas; Mr Iliya Stephen Mshelizah, and Jack Yakubu Pam, among others.
The Forum is made up of professionals, politics and business people from the North.