Akpabio, Gowon Urge Nigerians to Emulate Cardinal Onaiyekan inter Religious lifestyle

GodGift Ifunanya
4 Min Read

The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio has hailed the emeritus Catholic Arch-Bishop, His Eminence, Cardinal John Onaiyekan for his remarkable life and service as a true icon of faith and leadership.
He said Onaiyekan’s  unwavering commitment to justice, compassion and unity has touched countless lives and inspired generations.
Akpabio, according to a statement by his media office, made the remarks as the Chairman of the 80th birthday celebration of the Cardinal in Abuja on Thursday.
He described him as a man of unfaltering faith and unfluctuating dedication, who became a beacon of hope, guiding his flock with love, compassion, and unwavering integrity.

Onaiyekan was the Archbishop of Abuja from 1994 to 2019 and also served as President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, and Bishop of Ilorin.
Akpabio said: “As we reflect upon the extraordinary journey of His Eminence, we are reminded of the power of resilience and determination. Born into humble beginnings, he rose above adversity and embraced the call to serve a higher purpose.

“In the face of injustice, he has been a tireless advocate for the marginalised and the voiceless. His Eminence has taught us that true leadership lies not in the pursuit of power, but in the relentless pursuit of justice and the untiring commitment to uplifting the most vulnerable among us.
“Beyond his religious leadership, Cardinal Onaiyekan has also been a champion for interfaith dialogue and understanding.
“In a world often divided by religious differences, he has tirelessly worked to build bridges of understanding and foster a spirit of unity among all faiths.
“His Eminence’s life is a proof that true faith is not a source of division, but a powerful force that can bring togetherness in our shared pursuit of a better world,” he said.

Also, a former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon while welcoming the Archbishop emeritus to the club of 80 and above, described Onaiyekan as an exceptional religious leader.
Gowon said Onaiyekan is a man of faith who has worked tirelessly for inter faith unity of the country and wished him many more years in good health.

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book titled “Religion for Peace” was also presented as part of the activities to mark the birthday celebration.
The birthday celebration attracted religious leaders, past and serving politicians, traditional rulers and industrialists.
Gowon in his remarks reminded Nigerians to reflect on the work of a great person as Onyaiyekan and to emulate his exemplary work toward building a greater Nation.

In a welcome address, Doma Lulu-Briggs the chairman of the occasion described  Onyaiyekan as a true Icon worthy of celebration.
Lulu-Briggs said that such a man who has championed religious tolerance and peace should be celebrated and emulated by all especially younger Nigerians.
He called on Nigerians to emulate the teachings and values of  Onyaiyekan for greater unity and peace among religions.
The book titled, “Religion and Peace Post Retirement Reflection of John Cardinal Onaiyekan on Interfaith Dialogue,” edited by Rev Fr. George Ehusan was reviewed by prof. Jibrin Ibrahim.

Ibrahim described the book as a true reflection of Onaiyekan’s standing on religious issues to date. According to him the cardinal preaches that the core value of religion is peace and whoever breaches that has flouted the essence of religion. The book was unveiled by a former Governor of Anambra state, Chris Ngige.
 Onaiyekan, speaking on the sidelines of the event, said true religion must reflect peace and that whatever hurt one’s neighbour is not religion.

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