An emeritus professor of Adult Education at the University of Ibadan, Professor Michael Omolewa, has urged Nigerians to imbibe truthfulness, transparency, holiness, social justice, equity and balance to overcome their personal storms and those plaguing the country.
He said this during the 29th convocation and 30th anniversary of the West Africa Theological Seminary (WATS) in Lagos during which 130 students graduated.
Speaking on the theme, ‘Riding the Storm to Glory,’ he recalled that many patriarchs in the Bible went through trying times, which eventually culminated in victories and breakthroughs.
Omolewa, who was Nigeria’s Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), told journalists that the country was equally going through political, social, religious and economic storms.
“All sorts of storms – lack, disease, anxiety – are present in a person’s life, in the nation and globally. The important thing is that at the end of these storms, there would be victory. They would be overcomers as long as they are honest, truthful, transparent, and are living a life of holiness, social justice, equity and balance.
“Nigeria is in the midst of a storm. There are political, social, religious and economic storms. We will overcome these storms by looking up to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,” he said.
Dr. Gary Maxey, the founder of the seminary, expressed great delight at the success the school had recorded so far, pointing out that God had been the mainstay of the school since its inception 30 years ago.
Maxey, an American who came to Nigeria in 1982, said the need to train church leaders could not be overemphasised, noting that God has used WATS to meet the leadership need of both the church and the country.
In his goodwill message, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Gabriel Olonishakin called on church leaders to look beyond the church wall in their evangelical drive.
The CDS, who was represented at the event by the Chaplain of the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, Second Lt. Col. Chukwudi Ochoji, said it was important that Christian leaders in the 21st century began to look beyond the church wall and connect with everything that God was involved in.
He also pleaded with the graduating students of WATS to embrace a larger perspective of stewardship, which connects more with the people.
Hear him: “As Christians leaders in the 21st Century, I urge us to embrace the larger views of leadership which reaches beyond church budgets or church projects. It connects everything we do with what God is doing in the world.
“Christian leaders need to be faithful stewards of all that God has given us within the opportunities presented to glorify him, serve the common good and further his kingdom.”
While congratulating the graduating students, he commended the founder of WATS, Dr. Gary Maxey for holding unto his vision of the seminary and for his doggedness over the years.
The graduating students were awarded degrees ranging from BA, MA and Doctor of Ministry. Nine students bagged a first class degree in Bachelor of Theology. A two-floor hostel facility donated to the seminary by the founder of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, Dr. Daniel Olukoya was also dedicated.
Provost of the school, Pastor Oluwafemi Martins, described Olukoya’s gesture as amazing, noting that he willingly volunteered to carry out the project.