Religious leaders in Nigeria must remain open while making efforts to unite people regardless of their faith, social backgrounds and political differences, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
Prof. Osinbajo stated when he received in audience, a delegation from the Methodist Church of Nigeria led by its Prelate-Elect, Most Rev. Oliver Ali Aba, at the Presidential Villa. The delegation came to brief the Vice President on the forthcoming investiture of the Prelate-Elect next month in Lagos.
The Prelate-Elect was accompanied by immediate past Governor of Bauchi State, Barr. Mohammed Abubakar who is part of the planning of the investiture and also facilitated the visit of the delegation to the Vice President.
Emphasizing the point about unity, the VP said, “it is a Muslim (ex-Bauchi governor) who came with the Methodist delegation for this meeting. We have Muslims, Christians in our country, and even those who do not believe.”
Speaking on the task before religious leaders in the country, the Vice President emphasized the need for leaders of faith to be open at all times, accommodating various interests and views regardless of religious or socio-political backgrounds.
According to him, “as believers we have to be open and reach out to everyone. Christ died for all which is why it is very important that you reach out to everyone for the sake of unity.
“Part of the duties of Christian leadership is how to ensure that we are able to display Christ’s love so that many people can see and emulate.”
Recalling comments attributed to the Prelate-elect in an interview (about fighting corruption in and outside the Church), Prof. Osinbajo noted that a “major weakness in our country is lack of integrity. There are no perfect plans, no perfect budgets, because all are eroded by corruption.”
He also spoke about what is being widely preached in churches often.
“Sometimes even inside the church, leaders emphasize more of giving without talking about integrity”, the VP observed.
Prof. Osinbajo expressed his support for the incoming Methodist leader at all times as he takes on the office of the Prelate next month.
Earlier in his remarks, the Prelate-Elect, the Most Revd. Aba, who hails from Benue State praised the Buhari Administration for all they have achieved saying the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari has been delivering on the democracy dividend.
He also commended the efforts and commitment of Prof. Osinbajo to the development of society, describing him as the “father of Christians in Nigeria,” in his capacity as the VP, being the highest ranking Christian office holder in government.
He said “you are the father of Christians in Nigeria, you are the only one we can run to in times of need.
“There is so much that can be learnt from you, your humility, doggedness in governance and commitment in the service of the people. I have learnt all of these attributes and I shall replicate same in leading the Methodist Church. I believe I can take the Methodist Church to higher grounds replicating your virtues.”
He then prayed “God will continue to bless you, may God keep you long and continue to preserve you for all the good things you have done for our country.”
The Prelate-Elect also presented the invitation letter of his investiture to the Vice President and requested his presence at the event.
Other members of the delegation besides the former Bauchi State Governor included the wife of the Prelate-Elect, Deaconess Mariam Aba and the Chairman of the Investiture organizing committee, Comrade Adams Otakwu.
Prelate-Elect Aba will be the first from Northern Nigeria. He was elected to the position at the biennial conference of the Methodist Church on August 14, 2022.