The church took time to pray for him, after which the celebrant and his immediate family cut the birthday cake, which was shared among members. Sharing his thoughts with The Guardian, the elated Archbishop Obembe said: “By the measurement of so many people, there is added value of God’s grace in terms of physical expression, in terms of energy and grace. God has given me so much vitality. I’m grateful to Him.
“Birthday is not necessarily about noisemaking, but about giving glory to God for having spent 365 days in our interesting environment, so to say. One must be grateful to God, that we are kept by Him and we are alive. So, we must express profound gratitude to God because as somebody said, being able to live for one day here is worth so much.”On such national issues as Fulani herdsmen and killings, the former PFN Chairman in Lagos State, described the herdsmen’s activities as unfortunate. He blamed the government for doing nothing to control the situation.
“It is quite unfortunate that issues of manslaughter and killing of innocent Nigerians has not been properly addressed,” he said. “Especially with the outcry of CAN and other Christian groups, one would have expected a more drastic action by government in terms of mitigating the menace of the so-called herdsmen. These are feasible individuals operating feasibly in Nigeria. It’s so sad that government has not done enough. Government has a cardinal responsibility to protect citizens’ lives and property. So, it is vey painful to see that these things continue with impunity. But we still call on government not to shy away from its responsibility of protecting lives of Nigerians.”
On the advocated cattle colonies, the cleric said: “Somebody even recommended that when you take the statistics and census of all the herds and cows in Nigeria, Sambisa Forest is too large for them. They can take them there for grazing. A little organisation would have solved the problem. Sambisa Forest is lying fallow and unutilised. That place is good for grazing and from all that we’ve been told, the grass there is good.”
To politicians preparing for 2019 elections, the cleric has a word for them. “They should endeavour to impact lives and have good projects. People aspire to get into leadership positions in our country without any meaningful programmes that would alleviate the masses’ suffering. I think the electorate should be much more discreet. For four years, someone cannot point at anything they’ve done to improve the people’s living condition. No specific project/programme to address issues bordering on the people’s welfare.
“So, I think it’s not just about running political offices. We must get to that point, where we can build credible institutions that can outlive politicians, as obtains in advanced democracies, where people come out to say: ‘This is what I want to do’ and if they don’t do it, they even resign. Maybe we should have something in our Constitution that will compel people to deliver on their campaign promises and if they don’t within stipulated time, they are made to resign.
“Nigerians like occupying offices and benefitting from the trappings of those offices and then the masses is made to wait in vain and endlessly till another four years. But Nigerians have become disillusioned. They are frustrated by the quality of leadership we’ve been having through the years. Leadership without purpose and which does not address the challenges we are facing in the country,” he said.
On corruption, he called on lawmakers to help the Federal Government define what corruption really is. In his view, the country is fighting a war, which no administration has been able to actually define. In his birthday message, the minister called on Nigerians to trust in the Lord, saying,
“This is a time not to trust in any man or government. If you trust in government, your suffering will only be increased.But when you look unto God, help will come. Politicians don’t know where they are going. Leaders are seeking answers themselves, just as it happened in the time of a king in the Bible. When they went to him for help, he said: ‘where will you get provision? Is it from the threshing floor.’ He told them that he was also in economic recession.
Source: Guardian newspaper