By Ebenezer Ishola
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Friday urged religious leaders, especially clerics and Christian leaders to educate people on the importance of shunning electoral violence and other acts that are inimical to democracy.
He gave the advice at the 5th edition of the Greater Nigeria Project conference of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) held on Friday at the Vineyard Christian Ministries, Ajao Estate, Lagos.
The conference is aimed at reviving and strengthening the Pentecostal body for a more effective leadership role in these end times.
Governor Sanwo-Olu during the conference announced donation of N25million for the ongoing building project of the secretariat of the Lagos State Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria.
“Let me appreciate the leadership of the PFN for extending this invitation to me, to address you today, and for your constant support and prayers for us in Lagos State. The successes that we are enjoying in Lagos today are in large part due to your prayers and intercession on our behalf, and your generous wisdom and counsel.
“I wish to covet even more prayers from you especially as we move towards the general elections next year. I also implore us to use our pulpits and influence to enlighten members of various congregation about the importance of taking part in the electoral process – assessing the various candidates and their manifestos, going out to vote for credible and competent leaders, and holding to account all those in authority.
“Christianity calls on us to give unto God what is due to Him, and unto Caesar what is due to Caesar. As children of God, we have civic obligations and responsibilities that are just as important as the spiritual commandments and principles we are expected to live by. In fact, I think we can say that civic participation is a spiritual duty.
“I also call on us as clerics and Christian leaders to educate our people on the importance of shunning electoral violence and other acts that are inimical to democracy.”
Speaking on the theme of the conference, ‘Greater Nigeria: A New Dawn, Revival and Transformation’, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the theme “is very significant and timely for a nation like Nigeria that is destined for true greatness, and that must continue to press forward in the face of many obstacles, towards that unshakable greatness.
“And we must never be slow or ashamed to seek divine help on this journey. As Psalm 127 verse 1 tells us: ‘Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.’
“As important as our work as nation-builders is, that is, from our various sectors and walks of life, we must always acknowledge the place of the Almighty God in bringing blessings and impact to that work. Otherwise, all of it will be in vain. The New Dawn that awaits the nation of Nigeria will not happen by human labour or striving or wisdom alone.
“Isaiah Chapter 43 and Verse 19 tells us: ‘Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth: shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.’ This is the promise of God for us and our nation, however before we can enjoy the manifestation of this newness, we must be completely revived and transformed; fully rededicated as agents of change for a greater Nigeria.
“That national change that we seek, I daresay, must begin inside each one of us. A transformed Nigeria will not happen without transformed Nigerians.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu, who spoke passionately about his administration’s achievements in the last three and half years, said the Greater Lagos he promised the people of Lagos State is on course.
He also assured the congregation and the people of Lagos State that he will continue to use his office for the benefits of mankind, adding that he will continue to deliver dividends of democracy to residents of Lagos State in line with the THEMES developmental agenda.
Governor Sanwo-Olu also commended the dedication and commitment of the President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, His Eminence, Bishop Francis Wale Oke, and the leadership of the Lagos State Chapter for organisation of the fifth edition of the Greater Nigeria Project.
“I pray that, at the end of this year’s edition of the program, we will all be able to look back and recognize it as the beginning of something new and glorious and transformational in the life of our dear country. I thank you all for listening,” he said.