SPEECH BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF OSUN, OGBENI RAUF AREGBESOLA, AT THE SPECIAL INDEPENDENCE DAY SERVICE OF THE NATIONAL CHRISTIAN COUNCIL, HELD AT ALL SAINTS CATHEDRAL, BALOGUN AGORO, OSOGBO, ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 27, 2015
It gives me great pleasure to be at this Special Independence Day Service, a national independence thanksgiving. I must therefore thank the National Christian Council (NCC) for the invitation to be part of this special occasion.
Let me also specially thank all the Christians that have supported us, especially the Church of Nigeria, the Anglican Communion, for their unflinching support for our administration, through thick and thin and for living out the biblical creed that enjoins Christians to pray for leaders and those in authority. That we are still in office today is due partly to your prayers and support. God will stand by you at all times, especially in your days of adversity.
It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord for all things. It is more important even for us as a nation. It is always easy for an individual, group or even a nation to take the goodness of the Lord for granted after some time of comfort. This is why God instituted the Feast of Passover, an annual reminder to the children of Israel for the great deliverance they received when He took them out of the clutches of Pharaoh in Egypt. These people were under the yoke of oppression for 400 years but God took them out with a mighty hand.
There is a similarity between this story and our nation, Nigeria. We were also under the yoke of British imperialism for more than 100 years. But God in his infinite mercies, working through our founding fathers, especially the nationalists, gave us independence in 1960. Though we celebrate Independence every year, we appear to have forgotten what God did for us as our other actions do not glorify God and we have since refused to move forward as a nation. Since 1960, we seem to be moving in circles and at every turn, it always look like we need a new independence.
Our experience in the most recent past will drive home the point. We were under the yoke of internal colonialism. A few people cornered the resources of the nation and plundered it to their satisfaction. While these few people were having their heart’s fill, the rest of the country was groaning as the nation tottered on the brink of disintegration. States could no longer pay salaries while insecurity and violence were the order of the day. As usual, we called on God and He answered us and gave us President Muhammadu Buhari. I do not need to make a case for him. We are living witnesses of how he has restored order and things are changing for good. Fuel scarcity has disappeared. Even states are paying workers now. Our country is getting the respect of the world again.
What we have received is a new opportunity to resume our journey to greatness. We must therefore guard our independence jealously and with the fear of God. We must resolutely say ‘never again’ will we find ourselves in the grip of such evil people that will take us back to the brink again.
As believers, we must live out the creed of our faith, the most important of which is love. The essence of religion is to make the believer a better person. Many of us regrettably are still living our old life of sin – hate, unrighteousness, greed, immorality and idolatry.
This independence is another opportunity to reconnect to our faith and rededicate our lives to God, love our neighbours like ourselves, eschew violence, embrace peace and be generous of spirit and our substance.
Let me once again thank the Christian Council of Nigeria for inviting me to be here and for the support and understanding I have received from Christians since our administration came into being in November 2010. I wish you all happy independence celebration and fruitful thanksgiving. May our sacrifice be acceptable unto God and may He answer our prayers. Amen.
I thank you all for your kind attention.
Osun a dara!
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola
Governor, State of Osun