Sunday, January 4, 2015 10:59 pm
The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Major General Muhammadu Buhari; his running mate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo; APC national Chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun , Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi and other APC chieftains were among eminent dignitaries that stormed Lagos State on Sunday for the 2015 annual Thanksgiving Service of the Lagos State Government.
Buhari, who was allowed to speak at the event held at the State House, Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria on Sunday evening said he believed every Nigerian should be free and secure to practice their different religion.
“I am honoured to participate in this annual thanks giving service. This year’s thanksgiving service brings together all Nigerians from all state, Christians, Muslim and all religion in Lagos to thank the almighty God.
“Religion must never be used as an excuse to divide us, oppress others or gain unfair advantage. All my life I have expressed the belief that all Nigerians must worship God according to their wish,” he said.
According to him, “the duty of government is not religion, security for all Nigerians regardless of tribe or religion is our commitment on this day of thanksgiving. We shall all sit together like this, rejoice and thank God together for the Almighty God to give us the country of our dream.”
Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola lambasted some individuals predicting doom for the country and the state in guise of religion, saying the predictions were heating up the polity.
Fashola stated that the state government deemed it fit to hold thanksgiving service for sparing the lives of the people amid calamities rocking the country, saying that “Today, 364 days after, when girls have disappeared without trace, Bombs have exploded in mindless orgies of violence.
“Nigerian towns and villages have been sacked. Our brothers and sisters have been displaced from their homes. Young children have died in stampedes while looking for jobs. Some of our brothers and sisters in the military have lost their lives while trying to defend you and I and the Fatherland. I ask you all, what else we can do than to give thanks, express our gratitude and praise God for surviving.”
According to him, it was important for people to know that they were alive not because they were better, but because of grace and mercy which should never be taken for granted, adding that “our appreciation must be reflected in our attitude of gratitude. In some parts of West Africa today, government has been forced to declare a lock down of people and restrict movement in this season of festivity because an infectious disease caused by the Ebola Virus is yet to be brought under control.”
“These countries are smaller than Lagos; Lagos is in fact bigger than many of them combined. Yet the same virus afflicted us, we sadly lost 13 lives, but today we are not under lock down. We can sit side-by-side, we can shake hands and we can move freely. Again there was grace, there was a coming together across ethnic, religious and Government levels to address a common problem,” he said.