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19 Jun 2017

Anti-corruption fight must start from churches, says Osinbajo

The Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Sunday said for corruption to be completely eradicated in the country, the fight against the menace must start from churches.
He said it was only when church leaders resolved to ostracise and expose corrupt members of their congregation that the problem could be solved.

Osinbajo spoke at a special service organised to mark this year’s Father’s Day at the Aso Villa Chapel located inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Acting President, who himself is a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, said church leaders must begin to talk more on honesty, unlike the current situation that more emphasis was placed on giving.

“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,” he declared.

Osinbajo said church leaders must be ready to confront their members who were living above their means.

He said once the church took its rightful place and decided to expose treasury looters, the nation’s problems would be solved.

Osinbajo said, “If the church says you are not allowed to steal and we will ostracise you in our midst if you did — if what a man has does not measure up to what he earns; 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.

“He must be held to account in the church.  He must be told first in the church that ‘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.”

He said it was the role of the church to build the nation, adding that the responsibility was assigned to the church “by virtue of God’s proclamation that the church is the light of the world and the salt of the earth.”

Although he admitted that the role was a difficult one, Osinbajo said the church was not meant to teach the world how to be like the world but to teach the world how to be like Jesus Christ.

Aligning himself with the position of the Prelate, Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr. Samuel Uche, who delivered the sermon, the Acting President said Nigeria’s problem could not be attributed to the absence of prosperity.

He said the nation had enough for its citizens’ needs but not enough for their 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 sort of things His Eminence (Uche) 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,” he said.

On Father’s Day celebration, Osinbajo identified building nations and generations as the roles of fathers.

He cited the biblical Abraham as the example God set for fathers.

He said God wanted a father who would teach his children the way of righteousness and justice and how to fear Him (God).

He later told reporters that Christian fathers had not done the best of what God required from them.

He added, “The Scripture says that we must love our wives as ourselves and also goes on to say that anyone 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 counselled.  In some cases people need to be treated.

“It is really 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.”

Earlier, in his sermon titled, “Fathers to the Rescue of Our Beloved Nation,” Uche had attributed many of the problems besetting the nation to failure of many fathers.

He regretted that many fathers could not give their children good education, hence, they turned out to be criminals in the country.

He also condemned the elders in the society who were backing the young people in their agitation for Nigeria’s break-up.

Speaking with journalists after the service, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, warned against the collapse of family system in the country while urging the government to invest more in family.

The Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Boboye Oyeyemi, read the service’s first Bible reading from Ephesians 5: 22-33; while Dogara read the second lesson from Ephesians 6: 1-4.

Gifts were presented to President Muhammadu Buhari; Osinbajo; the Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Dogara; and the Chief Justice of the Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

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