Christian Association Of Nigeria’s Awards & Gala Night And The Conferment Of Award Of Excellence On VP Osinbajo

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Before I begin, I would like to comment very quickly on the Ecumenical Centre or the National Christian Center as it is now called. I think I agree entirely with all that has been said, especially with the very graphic presentation made by His Excellency, Senator Rochas Okorocha on how the center was built. We have done quite a bit of work and would like to show some of the work that has been done especially with the new design, and the additional work we think ought to be done at the National Christian Center.


Rev. Supo Ayokunle, please accept, on my behalf and on behalf of other honorees, our deep gratitude for the great honor done to us by the conferment of these awards. I accept the award and also on behalf of others who have been given the award and are members of government. We accept the award with great humility, being mindful that we are not necessarily the most deserving of Christians to be given any recognition, but that because of the special grace of God by which we have been chosen to serve in the high capacities that we serve, we are in the advantageous position that our contributions will be more easily noticed.


This award is dedicated to the many who daily, in different locations distant and near, propagate this message of the love and reconciliation of the gospel of Jesus Christ in sometimes difficult, even life-threatening situations.  And to the many who have suffered deprivation, and the families of those who have lost their lives by reason of their beliefs.


We are deeply grateful to the Almighty God for the opportunity and the enablement to serve in the positions to which we have been preferred.


Mr. President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, I bring you the warm felicitations of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, and the Federal Government of Nigeria on the 45th Anniversary of the birth of this foremost Association of Nigerian Christians.


CAN was formed to among other objectives, nurture the unity of the church in Nigeria, and work with the leaders of other faiths and persuasions, to build bridges and forge understanding, peace, and unity amongst the various people and faiths in our nation.


CAN has not only been continually faithful to its founding vision, but it has also become a veritable force for peace, unity, and social justice. And pursuant to the gospel, CAN has consistently spoken up on behalf of the “least of these” in our society. Importantly, the current and past leadership of CAN have acted in full realization and recognition of their roles as pivotal stakeholders alongside the Government, the private sector in nation-building.


We are proud of the role of the moral compass of society and interlocutor for peace among the different faiths that CAN has played and continues to play in our nation.  We are also proud of the enormous work that the current executive of CAN ably led by His Eminence, Rev Supo Ayokunle has done. I am aware of your collaboration with the leadership of the Islamic and other faiths, to reconcile where there are conflicts, to pacify where there has been offense, and to upbraid and reprimand where there have been misdeeds.


Well done and congratulations!


As we have seen in the past few years, not just in Nigeria, but all over the world, there is a growing religious and ethnic chauvinism. An almost intemperate, vehement, and often violent dismissal of the views of people of other persuasions without adequate consideration.


At the same time, the rise of identity and cultural politics.  Brethren, the answer to hate, intolerance, and conflict is the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must believe enough in the gospel of Jesus Christ to make it our article of faith in our interactions with people of other faith.


The message of the great love of Jesus Christ by which He so loved the world, that all men, whatever their faiths, who believe in Him will not perish in consequence of sin but inherit eternal life.


We must continue to let the important truth be known that Christ did not come to establish a religion, nor to condemn men, but to show all men that His own righteousness, not our righteousness or performance, is the qualification for eternal life.


The gospel commands consideration for the views of others, treating them as we would wish to be treated, non-violent communication, that our words must be words of grace seasoned with salt.


But perhaps more importantly, as Christ instructed, that we love our enemies, bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who spitefully use us and persecute us, that we be may be sons of our Father in heaven. We must apply those principles, contrarian and difficult as they may be.


These instructions are clearly contrary to our natural human inclinations, or the ways that seem right to us, but we know that wisdom of God is the only solution to the most difficult of human problems. If we act as the world acts, if we react as the world reacts, we cannot expect divine results. We must act true to our faith and the God we serve will move on our behalf.


Yet we must be an organization and as individuals, remain constant and relentless advocates of freedom of worship, respect for human rights, fairness, justice, and the rule of law. Fairness, equity, and respect for the rights of others are fundamental to peace and security.


Thank you once again for this award and happy 45th Anniversary. We pray that the Lord will bless the Christian Association of Nigeria, its leadership, and all of us her members, and may the Lord prosper His work in our hands and in our generation to the glory of His name in Jesus’ Mighty Name. Amen.