By Jonathan Nda- Isaiah , Abuja
As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to celebrate this year’s Father’s Day, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has urged the leaders of the church to ignore the looters of the nation’s treasury who paraded them.
Osinbajo, who expressed concern on how those who fraudulently amassed wealth have landed the country to where it is, called on the church to desist from holding such people in high esteem.
The acting president, who spoke at the Aso Villa Chapel Service to mark the Father’s Day Celebration, called on all fathers in the country to be an exemplary leader that builds generation of righteous men and women.
According to him “I want to say that all of our leaders, the Christian leaders; the PFN and CAN, 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 difficult role. We are not to teach the world how to be like the world but to teach the world how to be like our saviour, Jesus Christ.
“Every time we come to the church, we are told about giving, but we need to talk more about honesty. Just now His Eminence said Nigeria’s great problem is not an absence of prosperity but 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 to where it is today. Many of who are in position of authority, it is the greed that has landed us to where we are. Many who say the reason why they are stealing is because they need to have an arsenal for future political experiment, it is a lie! It is greed.
“And if the church says you are not allow to steal and we will ostracise the thieves in our midst. If a man’s resources, what a man has does not measure up to what he earns, if you found that a man has more money than he should have, if a man is earning a salary in a civil service or public service and he has houses everywhere, we have to hold him to account.
He must first be held to account in the church. He must first be told in the church, we will not allow this. If the church ostracise the thieves; if the church says we will not accept thieves here or we will ensure that we expose you, you are stealing the resources of our nation, you are stealing the resources of a private company or other establishments, then we will not have the kind of problems that we have in this country. If only the church can.”
He also called on the fathers to bring up their children with virtue of integrity.
“When I listened to His Eminence a few minutes ago, talking about the importance of the type of training we received as a child; the type of training where you were taught primarily about integrity; that you must be a person of integrity; that you must be truthful, you must be honest. That is the foundational teaching.
“Even knowing the Ten Commandment was enough to teach you about righteousness. That is so important especially for us who are Christians,” he stated.
Osinbajo urged all fathers in the country to follow the foot-step of Abraham in the scripture that God chose in order to “command his children and household in the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice.”
He called on fathers to love their wives and refrain from any forms of domestic violence.
On his part, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, warned against the collapse of family system in the country, urging the government to invest more in family.
Speaking with the newsmen shortly after the service, he said: “We should invest more, really as a nation, in fatherhood or in family. And when children are properly brought up, you will see that most of the resources we channel towards control of crime and so many other government programmes, there will be no need for them. Because we will have some kinds of transformation that only take place at the family level.
“Certain thing cannot be done by the government like we cannot just outsource discipline in a home, the issue of imparting or instilling morality in the life of our citizens. Government certainly cannot do that; it is the role of the family. So when we celebrate fathers like this, we celebrate fatherhood, we emphasise on the importance of the family as a unit in bringing up those components of society, performing its role and then turning citizens that are compliant. That therefore means that we won’t be spending money in fighting crime.
“When fathers do their work, the nation will have less work to do. And when next we have people in leadership who fail, who are patently corrupt, the question shouldn’t be ‘who is this?’ The question should be ‘who is the father of that person?’ I congratulate the fathers.”
He called on fathers to be exemplary in their conduct.
“If you wouldn’t want your children to follow your example, then it means you are failing as a father. And once father fails, family fails, certainly, the nation will fail because the family is the strength of a nation,” he said.
He described the occasion as one of the most important day in the life of a nation, saying a nation is a collection of families.
According to him, every leader, every good person, every armed robber, every militant, every terrorist comes from the family and when the family collapses, the nation collapses.
Earlier in his sermon titled: “Fathers to the Rescue of Our Beloved Nation,” the Prelate of Methodist Church of Nigeria, His Eminence Dr Samuel Kalu Uche, stated that God established the family as a basic and foundation unit of a country.
“God has made fathers as the head and this assignment must be exercise in love, honesty, gentleness and unity. The responsibility of a father makes him to be accountable to God. A father must render a selfless service and he must be faithful to his wife,” he said.
The clergyman, who attributed one of the problems besetting the nation to failure of many fathers, said many could not give their children good education, hence, they turned out to be criminals in the country.
The prelate noted that in the past, children were taught to respect elders and to be upright, contrary to what is obtainable today where children are abandoned and they constitute nuisance in the society.
He described those young people agitating for secession in the country, the Boko Haram group, among others as miscreants in the society.
“They were not given proper education, they were not brought up to respect humanity,” he added.
He also condemned the elders in the society who are backing the young people in their agitation for a break up.
The clergyman, who prayed for President Muhammadu Buhari’s quick recovery, said “anyone wishing the president death is a wicked person.”
“We should pray for the father of the nation to recover,” he urged.
The Chaplain of the Aso Villa Chapel, Pastor Seyi Malomo, described the day as” a day to celebrate our source.”
He said: “Every one of us has a source. There is a source of our heavenly father but that heavenly father graciously also given us physical fathers. Every one of us traced our source to a father. And as we celebrate today, we are acknowledging ourselves; our president who is the source of this administration, the reason why we are here.
“And we must celebrate him and we are celebrating all the fathers to let them know that they are really appreciated and that we are praying for them that more of their responsibilities, more of their roles will be felt by us and make our nation better and make our families better and make our communities better.”
The two Bible readings from Ephesian 5: 22-33 and Ephesian 6: 1-4 were read by the Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Boboye Oyeyemi and Hon Yakubu Dogara respectively.
As part of the activities to mark the occasion, gifts were presented to President Buhari; Acting President Osinbajo; Senate President Bukola Saraki; Hon Yakubu Dogara; the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen, and the church in Nigeria.
There were also song presentations by the children and the fathers to celebrate the day.
Other dignitaries in attendance included Archbishop of Methodist Church Abuja, Oche Job; Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Taiwo Abidogun, etc