REMARKS BY THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, HIS EXCELLENCY PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, AT THE INDEPENDENCE DAY INTERDENOMINATIONAL CHURCH SERVICE AT THE NATIONAL CHRISTIAN CENTRE, ABUJA ON THE 1ST OF OCTOBER, 2017.
It is a very special pleasure indeed to be here again this year, and we thank the Almighty God for preserving our lives to see yet another birthday of this great Nation.
I wish you all first, a happy 57th anniversary and a happy Independence Day!
I was very inspired by the words spoken by the Reverend, Professor Turaki a few minutes ago. Very illuminating and challenging words that he spoke. I think in some sense, it led to the question, who does God hold responsible for the destiny of nations?
There is a people of whom Jesus said: “you are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world.” A people who are charged with sweetening the bitterness of hate, selfishness and pride.
There is a people described by scripture in 1 Peter 2:9. The words of the scripture says: “but you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
It is this same people whom Jesus Christ empowered and commanded in the following words. He said: “all authority has been given to me in Heaven and on Earth.” And to this people he said: “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:18-20.
It is this same people that God has commanded to teach the world all He has commanded. The greatest of those commandments is: “love the Lord your God with all your strength and love your neighbour as yourself.”
So the responsibility of making sacrifices for nations is thrust upon these people.
The words of the scriptures says in Matthew 5:38-43: “you have heard that it was said, ‘you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy’. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
And to those who have urged revenge, the words of scripture to those people is: “vengeance is mine says the Lord.”
The people to whom I have referred and to people whom the scriptures have referred are those called by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who are called Christians, you and I gathered here today.
We are the salt and the light, we are the burden bearers of our nation, our mandate, the mandate of our Lord Jesus Christ is to: “preach the gospel to the poor; to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.”
We are to teach our nation unity but first by uniting the body of Christ. In the words of scripture: “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28.
In other words, teaching our nation to unite will start with ourselves. We start with uniting the body, so that within the body, there are no denominations, no ethnicities, no groups, all are one in the Lord Jesus Christ.
That responsibility is the responsibility of every one of us who is named after the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our nation is at the point where Christians are called to do what it is that scripture has commanded us to do. Our nation is at a point where we Christians, have to rise up and teach our nation the virtues that Jesus Christ taught us; loving our neighbours, praying for even our enemies, uniting the body and uniting all at the same time.
I will end with a word of prayer and I just want you to bow your heads for this word of prayer.
In the name of the one who is King of kings and Lord of Lords, in the name of the one who is ruler over all the Earth and the Heavens, I declare concerning this nation, that this nation will be fruitful, will prosper, this nation will attain all the plans and purposes of God, that we will all benefit from the fruits of this nation in the mighty name of the Lord Jesus.
I declare concerning this nation, that the glories of the former days will be nothing to compare with the glories of the latter in the mighty name of the Lord Jesus.
I declare concerning this nation, that all will be well with this nation, our joy will be full in this nation, and we will live in this nation to declare the wondrous works of God. We will prosper in this nation and we will hand to the generations yet unborn, a strong, united and happy nation in the mighty name of the Lord Jesus.
Happy Independence Day!