By Gilbert Ekezie
Considering the spate of insecurity across the nation, with the speed it is spreading, Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu has assured Lagos residents and visitors, that the State government would ensure Lagos remains safe and secure , with far reaching support to security operatives, as well as enjoy the dividends of democracy.
These were contained in his speech during the opening ceremony of the 3rd session of the 34th Synod of the Diocese of Lagos, Church of Nigeria(Anglican Communion) held at Our Saviour’s Church, Tafawa Balewa, Lagos. with the theme: “Value of Life, Faith and Ministry: Charting A New Course”.
The governor reinstated his administration’s committment at ensuring that Lagos State is more properous, better secured and eventually metamorphose to a State everyone will be proud to be, especially, as insecurity is ravaging the entire country.
Sanwo-Olu said in the State government’s efforts to ensure a better Lagos, commercial motorcycles , popularly know as Okada would soon be phased out in a systematic order, with a provision of credible alternatives made. ‘Before end of May 2021, the alternative to Okada in Lagos State would have been fashioned out. We are providing about 500 pieces of 8-Seater buses to give the citizens who patronize Okada a relief. We have arrested over one hundred Okada in the last one year , and that is the end of those Okada. If you take one way and are caught, byou will be punished. Ignorance is not an excuse. If you are not conversant with our roads, you should ask to know.We need to live in an orderly society.”
He acknowledged that some of Lagos residents do not sleep with their two eyes closed, while some drive on the road with a lot of apprehension of what may happen, pointing out the government knows there are issues to deal with as a country, concerning the security challenges. “But, I am assuring you that Lagos State will certainly take the lead in ensuring security of lives and properties of her citizens.’
The governor also assured that Lagos will begin to see new things as from next year , as the government is building two rails which are made up of red and blue light, assuring that Lagos residents and other rail users will journey on them by end of 2022. “In other places, it is the federal government that constructs railways. But we are doing it here in Lagos State. The job is difficult and the road is tough, but that can’t stop us.”
Speaking on the theme of the Synod, the Diocesan Bishop of Lagos and Missioner, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Rt. Rev Dr. Humphreys Bamisebi Olumakaiye observed that the world has eventually turned to a place where ancient-cherished values and principles of truth, righteousness, honour, Fidelity and lives that have laid the foundation for great civilizations are rapidly eroding.
According to him, Nations and empires are being discarded for quick-fix values of wealth, riches, fame, self-glorification and self-worship.
He expressed dismay that in Nigeria and Africa in particular, the fundamental values for nation building, social transformation and development are also been jettisoned for greed desire of money, affluence and self-promotion. “In Christendom where eternal value of faith, righteousness and love , should be found, there is reign of self, power and worldliness. As such, there have never been time in the history of our world, albeit of our nation, when critical assessment of value and repositioning our prospectives on value for genuine social transformation, development and national building is more needed than now.”
Olumakaiye said the church is the expected ground of truth, and God’s ultimate agency of influence in a morally- decaying world. “Our Lord declared to us that we are the salt and the light of the world. So, as the salt preserves and gives sweetness, we, the church, are also expected to preserve of righteousness, truth and fidelity, and as light enlightens and shows the way, we are also
charge with this responsibility of lightening our world with the right values. It is my earnest prayer that we will re-examine our values of life, faith and ministry with fervent desire to chart a new course for global influence and subjection of nations to the obedience of faith that is in Christ Jesus.”
The bishop noted that the church, as a pacesetter in societal development, should take the initiative to create a forum for regular dialogue with the government and members of the society. “The church all over the world takes leadership position in the development of the advanced nations. The missionaries liberated our land and brought us the tools for development, education, health and medical facilities. So, it must not take back seat in the affairs of this country.”
Olumakaiye implored all Christian politicians from different political parties and denominations to meet and communicate on a regular basis, to share ideas, information and experiences on various issues and challenges facing the common life of Nigerians. “It is through mutual support and encouragement that we can resist the pressure and keep on fighting for the well-being of the people, without giving up.
“Speaking out against bad governance, wrong leadership, corruption, abuse of power and all forms of wrong doings is part of our ministry. We must speak against the increase disparity between the very wealthy and the very poor.”
On state of the nation, he said Nigeria and Nigerian have been going through myriad of problems and challenges in the recent past, and commended the government and those saddled with responsibilities of managing the economy for efforts to handle the situation. “If nothing had been done, it could have been worst. But realistically, available facts and social economic indices per capita income, low standard of living are pointing to the facts that a lot more, needs to be done. Nigeria will only move forward when our leaders at all levels of governance understand the enormous power of a United country.”
The cleric warned the political class to stop using religion, ethnic or tribal differences as a weapon for political gains. “The surge being witnessed in the area of terrorist attack, kidnapping, and general safety of lives and properties is worrisome. The government must rise with all her might to stamp out criminals and stop criminalities ravaging our land. When the government is seen to be performing her constitutional obligation of securing lives and properties of citizens,I agitations about alternatives means of personal security, shall be laid to rest. The government, also give attention to the private sector of the economy. The small and medium scale has been noted by experts to be the driver of economic prosperity of any nation, because majority of the population belongs to this category.”
Also Speaking, the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, His Eminence, Alfred Adewale Martins commended the Diocese of Lagos,Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) for extending the hands of fellowship to him and other church leaders at the Synod.
He expressed gratitude for being part of the gathering of the clergies, stakeholders and leaders of the church across Nigeria. “Bishop Olumakaiye has been reaching out to many of us since he become in charge , and that spirit of unity and brotherhood is second to none. It will be ideal that we cooperate in the body of Christ.”