The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Saturday called on Nigerians to build bridges of unity in spite of their religious, ethnic or political party affiliations for the survival of the country.
Osinbajo gave the charge in his remark at the Thanks Giving Service in honour of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Babachir Lawal, at the ECWA Church, Wuse II, Abuja.
The vice president extolled the virtues of simplicity and humility of the SGF describing him as a man who brought great sense of humour and simplicity to the State House.
“Lawal has been known for his loyalty and forthrightness and his appointment was a reward for that. One thing he has brought to Aso Rock, which used to be a formal place, is a great sense of humour and simplicity,’’ he said.
Osinbajo said that Lawal was also known for fighting for the causes of others.
He congratulated the SGF for the honour that had been done to him by the appointment, adding that he was one who kept his friends, which he said was the attribute and the sort of convictions that the nation needs today.
“It is a conviction that cuts across tribe, religion and a conviction that refuses to play politics with religion or tribe understanding that that diversity is the strength that God has given us.
“The more we emphasise our unity than diversity, the more we need to cross bridges of religion and tribe the better it is for our country,’’ said the vice president.
He said the APC represented the coming together of Christians and Muslims as well as the coming together of different tribes.
Going spiritual, Osinbajo said that God created everyone equal not on the basis of religion or tribe and He loves all in spite of one’s faults and problems.
Osinbanjo said that Nigerians should be excited about the composition of those in government due to their high level of spirituality, noting that by honouring God, the SGF had drawn himself and office nearer to God.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, in his remark said the SGF had done the smartest thing by placing God first through the thanks giving.
“As long as we are connected to God, we will seize to struggle. As long as you are connected to the source (God) you will miss nothing,’’ the Speaker stated.
In a message, the President of ECWA, Dr Jeremiah Gado, extolled Lawal for recognising the injunction of God to thank him in all circumstances.
He said the SGF was known for his integrity, sincerity, discipline and hard work, expressing hope that Lawal would bring such virtues to bear in his assignment.
He called on the Muhammadu Buhari administration to ensure that the change it asked for was used for the improvement of the people and not a mere political slogan.
The cleric, however, added that for change to take place in the country all must work together.
“For a true change to happen, all hands must be on deck. Those on governance must work in harmony with the religious and traditional institutions.
“All the different tribes and religions must work together for Nigeria to be great again,’’ he added.
The SGF in a brief testimony attributed his appointment to God’s grace rather than product of hard work.
He said those who influenced his life and who he tried to emulate were persons outside his religious, ethnic and political persuasions, and called on all Nigerians to sink their differences to build a more united nation.
He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for giving him the opportunity to serve the country, adding that the president “is a man you learn the values and virtues of loyalty, integrity and love’’.
“It is important to note that goodness is not restricted to tribe or religion or political party,’’ Lawal explained.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the first and second scripture readings at the service were read by Dogara and Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi, respectively. (NAN)