“If the church says we will not accept you here or that we will expose you if you are stealing the resources of the country or stealing the resources of a private company or other establishment where you work, we would not have the type of problem that we have in this country.”
Remarks of His Excellency Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, on the occasion of Fathers’ Day Celebration at the Aso Villa Chapel, today June 18, 2017.
In Genesis 18:19. God was speaking about Abraham. And God said he had known him or called him in order that he may command his children and his household after him that they keep the way of the Lord with righteousness and justice that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He had spoken to him.
In other words, God was saying that He called Abraham, in particular, because he realizes that Abraham will command his household, will command his children to do righteousness and justice and to fear God. And if you back this up with Genesis 12:2, God has spoken concerning Abraham, that He will make Abraham a great nation. Genesis 12:3 says, God said, I will make you a great nation.
In other words, the role of the father is supposed to be that of building nations, building generations. And Abraham is the example God set for us; of a man who God wanted to be the exemplar of the type of conduct that God expects of fatherhood; a man who will teach his children and children thereafter the way of righteousness and justice and the way of fear of God.
When I listened to His Eminence, the Prelate of the Methodist Church a few minutes ago, talking about the importance of the type of training that he received as a child in his family. I’m sure many of us here are reminded of that type of training. A type of training where you are taught and reminded about integrity, primarily as the first order of business; that you must be a person of integrity. You must be truthful, you must be trustworthy, you must be honest, you must be forthright. That is the foundation. And in the days he referred to, Catechism was an important part of our lives. Even just knowing the 10 Commandments was enough to teach you about righteousness, teach you about the way of truth and I think that is very important, especially for us today as Christians.
Christian fatherhood in particular is a position that God has placed us as exemplar to our nation. The Christian father is the one referred to in Genesis 18:19; the one who will teach the way of righteousness and justice to his children and would teach the fear of the Lord. And I just want to say to all of our leaders (and I was speaking with few of our Christian leaders just last week, both of the PFN and CAN just last week on various occasions) that it is the role of the church to build this nation. And the church has that role because God has said concerning us that we are the light of the world and we are the salt of the earth. That role is a very, very difficult role.
We are not to teach the world how to be like the world but to teach the world how to be like the one who saved the world, how to be like Jesus. It is not easy.
Every time that we come to church, we are told about giving. But we need to talk more about honesty. We need to talk far more about honesty. In the same way we talk about giving, we need to talk more about honesty because just like His Eminence said, Nigeria’s great problem is not the absence of prosperity. It is as he so eloquently put it, that we have enough for our needs but we don’t have enough for our greed. The greed of many is what has landed this country where it is today. It is the greed of so many; many who have been placed in position of authority. It is their greed that has landed us where we are, where it is difficult to do the sorts of things His Eminence saw in Washington and so many other places. You cannot steal half of the resources of the country and expect to build the sort of things you see in other places.
Many would say the reason why they steal is because they want to have an arsenal for future political exploits. It is a lie. It is greed. In any case, even if you want to do that, you have no right to do it.
And if the church says you are not allowed to steal and we will ostracize you in our midst if you did. If what a man has does not measure up to what he has, if we found that a man has more money than he should have, if a man is earning a salary of a civil servant or a public servant and he has houses everywhere, we have to hold him to account. But he must be held to account in the church. He must be told first in the church we will not allow you here. If the church says we will not accept you here or that we will expose you if you are stealing the resources of the country or stealing the resources of a private company or other establishment where you work, then we would not have the type of problem that we have in this country. If only the church does so. Just the church.
Just as Christian fathers today, it is our duty as God spoke concerning Abraham in Genesis 18:19, it is our duty to build up a generation of righteous men and women, a nation of just men and women who fear God and puts God above everything else. And I believe that the Almighty God will help us. I just pray that the Father of fathers, the One who has called us, one who has saved us will bless each and every father here today in the mighty name of Jesus. The Almighty God who is the great Father of all fathers will ensure that we get everything we need to make our families, to make communities truly great and to make our nation great.
God bless you all.
CHAT WITH REPORTERS AFTER CHURCH SERVICE
What is your advice to men involved in domestic violence?
For us, the Scripture says that we must love our wives as ourselves and also goes on to say that any one who does not love his wife certainly does not love himself. Anyone who indulges in any form of domestic violence obviously needs some teaching and some discipline. I think it is a shame. Although in some cases you find that it is a disorder of some kind or the other. And I think people need to be counseled. In some cases people need to be treated. It really is a sort of thing that should never be tolerated, beating anybody at all is wrong, let alone beating one’s wife who is supposed to be one and the same person.
Within the context of the nation, Excellency, have fathers played their role as fathers of the nation?
Well just as I was saying, Christian fatherhood has the responsibility of building up young people who are righteous and just. Young people who fear God. That’s the whole point of Christian fatherhood. And I think that yes, we haven’t done the best we can. We have certainly not rendered that particular service in the way God expects us to. But we are at it every day. We are growing, we are developing, we are getting better. And God helping us we will do exactly what it is we are meant to do as Christian fathers, which is to develop a generation, grow a generation of men and women who are righteous and just and who fear God.
Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity)
Office of the Vice President
18th June, 2017