Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) and former military Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd), as well as some serving governors have appealed to Nigerian leaders to always exhibit decorum and humility while presiding over the affairs of the people for national unity and cohesion.
The prominent Nigerians said humility in governance elicits stability and removes friction between the leaders and the led for economic prosperity.
They spoke in Ikere Ekiti on Friday, during the dedication and consecration of Saint Peters’ Anglican Church ultra modern auditorium donated to the Anglican Communion by a legal icon, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN).
Speaking during the church service marking the dedication, Vice-President Osinbajo commended Olanipekun for dedicating his life to God through the donation.
The number two man said: “David was the most favoured in the history of mankind despite not being a saint of any kind.
“If you read your Bible, God described David as a man after his heart. Even while trying to describe Jesus, they referred to him as a son of David. But why was David so favoured? Some said because he sang and danced for God, but that is not the case, it was because he built a tabernacle for God.
“So, when this smart lawyer (Olanipekun) told me a year ago that he was building a house for God, I considered him a wise man. And as you do this, the mind and heart of God will always attend to your supplications.
“You have filed so many briefs and won many cases, but this edifice you donate for God is the best brief because it is filed for God.”
The former Head of State, Gen. Gowon, said Olanipekun started fighting for the rights of the people since his university days at the University of Lagos in the 70’s, adding that that agitation had groomed him ahead for leadership.
Gowon said: “As a student, Olanipekun was attacking my government when I was the military Head of State. He was fighting for the students as a leader, so his contributions to the growth of humanity now that he has become a successful lawyer is not surprising.”
Waxing philosophical in his contributions, Olanipekun said: “With this donation, I will be more humble. I will never serve any other god except the living God. I stand on this pulpit to tell you that I don’t belong to any secret society. The secret of my life is God.”
Olanipekun advised well meaning Ekiti indigenes to come home and contribute to the development of the state, saying Governor Kayode Fayemi alone can’t fix all the problems.
“Staying in Lagos, Abuja and watch from afar without coming around won’t solve our problems at home. When we die, what shall we be remembered for?” He queried.
Speaking on behalf of the governors, Governor Fayemi described the donor as an “epitome of humility, decency, compassion and hard work and competence”, who has done Ekiti proud in his chosen career and conduct.
“The gift he bequeathed to the church today confirmed his humility. He could have used the money for other things but he decided to honour God. I pray that the good Lord will continue to bless him as he serves humanity,” the governor said.
In his sermon after the dedication, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, urged the rich to use their wealth to serve God and humanity, describing this as the best and most rewarding legacy.
The cleric saluted Olanipekun for remembering God and built a house in his honour, which he said is a sign of humility and appreciation to God who had prospered him as a legal practitioner.
“This house having been built and handed over to God, it has been dedicated and consecrated for God and cannot be used for profane and mundane things. This place is for the glory of God, where to worship the Almighty. It has become a holy place, the house of God and shouldn’t be abused, so respect this building.
“This dedication makes this place holy. We thank the donor and pray that God will enrich him. Prayer is what the church owes you. This is where you come to pray and seek the face of God for many things. God has different assignments for different people, if you want to join politics, consult God, because not everybody can join politics and excel.
“Of all the houses Chief Olanipekun has built, those he has trained and all he has achieved, this is the best among them, it is of class, because it is for God.
“If you want God to lift you up, be humble. Extend respect to every man. We must serve our God and our community like Chief Olanipekun is doing. One thing is clear, money and material are property of the world, nobody can take them to heaven. Make use of your wealth to praise God and serve humanity, let us be realistic about life,” he advised.
Dignitaries at the event included Gowon, Governor Fayemi, his counterpart from Ondo State Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Edo State Godwin Obaseki, Osun State Governor Gboyega Oyekola, Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde, the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole, and former Governor of Ekiti State Segun Oni.
Other were former Governor of Oyo State Abiola Ajimobi, former Governor of Osun State Olagunsoye Oyinlola, former Deputy Governors of Ekiti State Modupe Adelabu and Kolapo Olusola Eleka, Minister of Sports Sunday Dare, senator representing Anambra South Ifeanyi Ubah, senator representing Ekiti South Biodun Olujimi, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Odein Ajumogobia (SAN), Afenifere leader Reuben Fasoranti, Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, traditional rulers and lawyers, among others.