George Okoh in Makurdi
Former president Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday commended the Catholic Church for taking care of the needy and called on Nigerians to respond to the needs of the deprived and challenged people in the country.
Obasanjo made the appeal when he laid a foundation for the establishment of a special school for the needy children in Benue State.
The school project, a pet project, is to be constructed by the Bishop of Makurdi Diocese, Bishop Wilfred Anagbe, to celebrate his silver jubilee in the ministry.
Speaking at the event, Obasanjo, who said he was happy to be a partaker in the significant and symbolic event commended Anagbe for the project. He praised him for taking care of the special people whom he noted needed special attention, but were always neglected, saying “they are disempowered; they need help.”
The former president prayed God to reward the Bishop and all faithful for their efforts in assisting the young people with special needs to live a normal life.
Obasanjo also lauded the collaboration between the church and government in social development of the state, saying: “I heard Governor Samuel Ortom saying that the church work hand in hand with the government. That is how it should be and it is very commendable.”
He advised Nigerian leaders to ensure that spirituality and morality are carried along with governance for the nation’s prosperity, urging the Bishop to count on his support for the needed facility development for the children in the school with a promise that he would come from time to time to see the level of development of the school.
Welcoming the former president to the Food Basket State, Ortom described Obasanjo as the father of all farmers in Nigeria.
He said the Catholic Church has been very supportive of state government working as partners in the development of the state, noting that because of the ground breaking event, the Catholic Church had already constructed a road into the community. He pledged to continue to partner with the church for quality service delivery in the state.
Earlier, Anagbe, in his remarks, appreciated God for the symbolic event and thanked the former president for honouring his invitation, saying “the special people are created by God. They need to be attended to. We are doing this because we don’t want to leave anybody out. So, we need to give them a sense of meaning and belonging.”
He said the society is too materialistic, adding that “for us in the church, we place so much premium value on life and we will continue to do our best to uphold the sanctity of life.”
The Bishop explained that Benue State and the church have been partnering in area of agriculture through the Agro-allied industry so as to ensure a sustainable development.