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Buhari shames critics, graces church service for the second time in 3 months

By News Express on 05/01/2015

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Presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.), yesterday once more replied those who accuse him of being an anti-Christian Islamic zealot by attending a church service for the second time in three months.

Buhari was one of the most prominent personalities in attendance yesterday at the annual thanksgiving church service organised by the Lagos State Government in partnership with the General Overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch A. Adeboye. It was his second consecutive appearance at such a gathering, the first being his attendance of the wedding of Governor Rochas Okorocha’s daughter at St Joseph’s Catholic Chaplaincy of Imo State University, Owerri, on October 11 last year.

At yesterday’s church service held at Lagos House, Ikeja, Pastor Adeboye delivered a sermon titled the “Truth” where he quoted various Bible passages to buttress his point.

Among those who offered prayers were Rev. Mike Okonkwo, founder of the Redeemed Evangelical Ministry (TREM), and Pastor Wale Adefarasin of the House on the Rock Church of God.

Apart from Buhari and host governor Babatunde Fashola, other eminent personalities who graced the church service included Buhari’s running mate, Professor Yemi Osibajo, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, APC National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun and the Party National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammmed.

Speaking at the occasion, Buhari said he was glad to have been invited to attend the service even as a Muslim and that he saw the gesture and the gathering of people of diverse faiths as a great lesson in religious tolerance.

He said: “I am honoured to participate in this year`s edition of the Lagos Thanksgiving Service. And commended Fashola and his wife, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, for this kind invitation .

“I am glad to know that this year’s service has brought together Nigerians of all faiths just to thank and praise the Almighty God for his mercies.

“This is how it should be. Religion must never be used to divide or oppress others or gain unfair advantage. All my life, I have always held the belief that all Nigerians must be fee to worship God according to their beliefs.

“The duty of government is not religion, the duty of government is to ensure peace, security of all Nigerians, regardless of tribe, race or religion. And this is a commitment all of us must make in this service.”

In his address, Fashola said Nigerians still had good reasons to thank God for the New Year in spite of the various challenges that confronted the country in 2014.

He said: “Some of our brothers and sisters in the military have lost their lives while trying to defend you and I and the Fatherland.

“I ask you all what else we can do than to give thanks, express our gratitude and praise God for surviving.”

Fashola said it is important for people to know that they are alive not because they are better, but because of grace and mercy which should never take it for granted.

“Our appreciation must be reflected in our attitude of gratitude. In some parts of West Africa today, Government has been forced to declare a lock down of people and restrict movement in this season of festivity because an infectious disease caused by the Ebola Virus is yet to be brought under control.

“These countries are smaller than Lagos, Lagos is in fact bigger than many of them combined. Yet the same virus afflicted us, we sadly lost 13 lives, but today we are not under lock down.

He said it was high time the people focused their common humanity, and those things that they share together and focus less on those things that are different about them.

According to him, “Our languages, our religion, our ethnic origins are accidents of our birth and not the essential content of our humanity. If our creator wanted us to be the same it is not difficult for him to do so.

“Your faith is not better than mine, and if you think it is, I cannot quarrel with your opinion. You must respect my right to practice mine. That is why we gather today in the Centre of Excellence to thank and praise God together, Christians of different denominations, Moslems with different affiliations and traditionalists, because we are all grateful. That is the Spirit of Lagos.”

He used the opportunity to solicit support for APC candidates, saying: “I hope you will choose wisely, I hope you will choose experience. I hope you will not experiment.”

•Additional reports from Vanguard and THISDAY. Photo shows Buhari.

Source News Express

Posted 05/01/2015 1:10:55 PM


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