Politics, Seat of Power

Fashola calls for peace, religious tolerance as building blocks of lasting democracy and prosperity

  • As Governor flags of 2014 Annual General Conference of Cherubim & Seraphim Unification Church of Nigeria

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Thursday flagged off the 2014 Annual General Conference of the Cherubim & Seraphim Unification Church with a call on Nigerians to maintain peace and religious tolerance saying they represent the building blocks of sustainable democracy and prosperity for the nation.

Addressing the Congregation at the Gospel Church of the Cherubim & Seraphim, Oke-Ayo Irapada in Orile Iganmu, Governor Fashola argued that if God has created people and made them to be different, it would be inappropriate for some of them to impose a common highway on others.

He declared, “I appeal to all of us to continue to keep the peace and to respect the right of others to worship in the way that they choose. It is not our position to judge.   Those who truly believe in God cannot criticize the way others worship because if it was not meant to happen that way, it would not happen”.

Commending the Church for choosing as theme of their Conference, “I will Make them One Nation”, Governor Fashola, who described it as an important theme and an important step, said although it is clear what God’s purpose is for His people, what remains difficult to decide is what the peoples’ purpose is for themselves.

According to the Governor, “Nation building is a continuous undertaking. It is an unending undertaking and it will happen within certain contexts and certain time. At one time, the purpose for Nigeria was fighting for Independence. At one time after Independence was won, it was in the context of developing human capital”.

“Yet, at another time, it was in the context of fighting to keep Nigeria one. At another time nation building was about Economic Development and managing our resources. At one time nation building was simply about enthroning democracy. At this time, it is about speaking with one voice”, he said adding that it is only when people’s minds are united that their actions would be united.

The Governor noted that from history it has been very difficult to separate the Church from the State pointing out that though a clear line seems to have been drawn now, the lines only emphasize the inner interdependence rather that independence of the Church and the State.

“The general concept is that well the Church will take care of the spiritual needs of the people, pray for them for the atonement of sin so that they can go to Heaven while the State takes care of their physical needs. But the Church has done more than that and by this I mean not only the Christian Church but also other Missions”, the Governor said.

According to the Governor, “If you look around today, we have what we call public schools around us owned by government. But in my time and I recall that many of the existing schools then were owned by Missions. It seems to me in my own time that there were more Mission schools than government schools”.

“We may have made a wrong categorization by painting all of them as public schools. They may have been public only to the extent that the Missions that set them up made sure that members of their congregation could afford them and that their children could be raised and developed there”, he said.

He continued, “On Sundays when women take their children to church, they first attend Sunday School, learning how to fear God, learning the way of God and how to worship Him. And from Monday to Friday, they are in schools, learning skills, how to read and write and at the same time learning the fear of God. The question then is, Ladies and Gentlemen, if God’s will is to make us one nation, have we taken up our own responsibility in order to fulfill God’s purpose for our country?”

“And that is the theme that runs through the opening speech of the Spiritual Head this morning, the Unification and responsibility. How many of us discharge our responsibilities as parents because young and adolescent children who become gangsters were once babies. Did we fulfill our own responsibility to them?”, he asked.

The Governor said the importance of the Conference lay largely in its emphasis on the human resource pointing out that out of all God’s creation and resources available to the world, the human resource was the most important. “We must pay more attention to the development of the character and the mind and the possibilities that exist in God’s most profound creation, the human resource”, he said.

“What type of nation do we want to build? A nation where the debate is about how resources are shared or a nation that is bound together by the common ideals of Freedom and Justice and Prosperity?”, Governor Fashola asked adding, “The resources we inherited and new resources we found; but the truth be told, the most important resource is the human being because he is the only one that can turn around other resources”.

The Governor paid glowing tribute to the Spiritual Head of the Gospel Church of C&S Oke Ayo Igbala Irapada, His Eminence Reuben Olorunfunmi Bashorun, whom he described as “an example to our generation; a man whose word has value; a man who it is appropriate also to call a community leader”, adding that he has demonstrated his  leadership qualities in the Igbogbo Community in Ikorodu.

“Every time when he is opportune, he has always stood up for the community from where he came. But he has, in that process, never subjugated the interest of the State”, the Governor said pointing out that the reason he came, in spite of his tight schedule was, “First the invitation I received from you and the bearers of the invitation not the least of whom is His Eminence Olorunfunmi Bashorun himself”.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Spiritual Head C&S, His Eminence Reuben Olorunfunmi Bashorun, said if the Church as a body could put her acts together and come up with one strong voice, all the problems of the nation would be solved adding that this would reflect in the smallest unit in the society – the Family.

Governor Fashola was earlier received at the Church premises by His Eminence   Reuben Olorunfunmi Bashorun, who was also former Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Supreme Head Cherubim & Seraphim Unification Church of Nigeria, His Most Eminence, Abel Olujimi Akinsanya and other members of the Clergy and Elders of the Church as well as the Adegburuwa of Igbogbo, His Royal Majesty, Oba (Dr.) Ola Fatola.

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