By Eben Enasco Kingsley, Benin City
Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has appealed to Christians in the country not to take up arms against their attackers, saying vengeance belonged to God.
Osinbajo made the appeal at the 14th National Biennial Conference of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) held in Benin, Edo State on Tuesday,
He said while it’s difficult to tell someone whose wife and children were killed in his presence in most gruesome way not to retaliate, the best course to take in such situation is to emulate Christ’s shame of death on the cross to save humanity and leave God to vengeance himself.
Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and national president of PFN, Rev. Dr. Felix Omobude were among others who admonished Christians in the country to continuously preach the love of Jesus Christ despite religious killings in the country.
Speaking on the topic “our greatest enemy is hate” the acting president said that the greatest enemy the country has is “hate”.
Reflecting on the chronicle of religious and ethnic crises in the country since the 1970s, which he attributed to hatred, he said that the answers to the crises could only be found in gospel of peace.
He said that killings and suicide bombings had continued to increase despise efforts by previous administrations to proffer solutions to religious and ethnic crises in the country.
The acting president however faulted the judiciary for its inability to convict perpetrators of the wicked killings in the country adding that it was unfair to say that the federal government was silent about the issue of the southern Kaduna killings.
On his part, Omobude urged Christians to embrace peace and work for the unity of the country.
Earlier, governor Obaseki of Edo expressing delight to hosting the conference, urged Nigerians to see religion as a life changing tool.
He said, “as the present economic situation takes full toll on the social system, causing ethnic and religious conflict, as Christians, we must not allow emotions to take a better part of us but rather we should deploy religion as a tool for peace, national unity and development.
“I look forward to the Nigeria of our dream where Christians, Muslims and all adherents of different religions will live together in peace and unity.
“I thank you for the opportunity of affording our state the privilege to host this year’s conference. the relationship between Edo state and the Pentecostal fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) goes back to the pioneering era of archbishop Benson Idahosa, of blessed memory, the first president of the Pentecostal fellowship of Nigeria. So for us in Edo State, this is home coming”.
Obaseki, who acknowledge PFN’s overwhelming support and prayers for Nigeria in general and the people and government of Edo state in particular especially in this season economic challenges said, “by the abiding grace of almighty god and the indomitable power of the holy spirit, may we achieve the economic prosperity that we all pray for”.
He said the title of this conference ‘from glory to glory’ emphasizes the goodness, fullness and continuity of god’s thoughts and plans for his children adding “the conference once again affords us an opportunity for a sober reflection on some critical aspects of our national development.
“We are challenged daily by the hydra-headed evil of socio-economic and political avarice, lack of respect for private and public property as well as the sanctity of human life.
“We are confronted with the failure of institutions charged with the preservation of law and order because the hearts of men have become more desperately wicked.
“Laws alone are therefore not sufficient without a deeper appeal to the minds of people through authentic religion.
“Therefore, this is an appropriate time to remind us that religion holds the key to the hearts of people and that to change society, we must deploy true religion as a life changing tool, hence Albert Einstein, a great philosopher and scientist, exhorts us to combine insights from religion with scientific discoveries to advance humanity.
“My meeting last weekend with religious leaders across the state has revealed that many social scourges can be curbed and eliminated if we express our faiths responsibly and if government actively partners with religious bodies. i assure you that my government is committed to this ideal.
“As the current economic recession takes its toll on the social fabric of our society by causing ethnic and religious tensions and recriminations, as Christians, we must however not allow emotions take the better part of us but rather we should deploy religion as a tool for peace, national unity and development
“It is just and Christianly for men of god to guide political leaders in the right direction without necessarily playing partisan politics. i urge all Nigerians not to allow religion tear us apart.
“On behalf of the people and government of Edo state, I welcome you all to this conference. i look forward to the true Nigeria of our dream in which Christians, Muslims and adherents of other faiths will live together peacefully and united. i wish us a successful conference and a great outpouring of the holy spirit. May god’s blessings for Nigeria, Edo State and everyone in attendance be from ‘glory to glory’.”