Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says that in line with the vision of its founding fathers, Nigeria had risen to become the most educated and entrepreneurial nation in Africa.
Osinbajo stated this in a message he delivered, entitled: `The vision undefeated,’ on Sunday, at the 61st Independence Anniversary Inter-Denominational Church Service and the 45th Anniversary Service of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), held at the National Christian Centre, Abuja.
“Let me begin by delivering to the Christian Association of Nigeria, the warm felicitations of President Muhammadu Buhari on this occasion of the 45th anniversary of the Association.
“He has asked me to commend the work of CAN, especially within the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) to ensure brotherliness and peace amongst all Nigerians, regardless of faith; congratulations today on behalf of the president.
“I have titled my remarks today – The Vision Undefeated’’, he said.
He added that, 61 years ago, Nigeria’s founding fathers laid out a vision, that the many nations and ethnicity, North and South of the Niger, 300 languages or more, differing tribes, and religions, would, by the grace of God, become one nation.
Osinbajo said the founding fathers had a vision that Nigeria, with its diverse strengths and gifts, would coalesce into a formidable economic and regional force.
“And that these United Nations may become the largest aggregation of black people on earth.
“A beacon of hope to all peoples of African descent, long bruised by the afflictions of slavery and colonial exploitation. Nigeria will be the reaffirmation of their dignity and a tonic to their spirits.
“The Lord blessed the vision and prospered the land with richness in oil, in gas, in minerals of every hue; in fruit trees, in palm trees, in crops of every kind, in the savannah and forests, arable land, seas, rivers, and the riches embedded in them.
“That vision of our forebears inheres in the words of our National Motto: Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress.’’
The vice president said that through the years, Nigerians had worked that vision, through thick and thin–from subjection to colonial monarchy, to a sovereign republic, to civil rule to military rule.
He said that Nigeria fought a bitter war amongst brothers that cost millions of lives and left deep scars, but the Lord preserved the republic.
“We have since become the most educated and most entrepreneurial nation in Africa. 10 of our 36 States have larger economies than at least 15 African countries.
“From our ranks, we have the most accomplished men and women, in the arts, the sciences, sports, technology, and commerce.
“But today, yet again, our path has been dogged by conflict; religious and ethnic, economic challenges, insurgencies and banditry, much darkness, many valleys, and many thorns.
“And, so many ask, “can the vision of the nation united, the nation peaceful, the nation righteous and the nation prosperous yet abide?’’
Osinbajo said that the vision was not destroyed because of the many trials and tribulations; neither was the vision denied by the days when the fig tree did not blossom, or when there was no fruit on the vines.
That vision was not nullified when the labour of the olive failed, neither was the vision defeated because the flock was cut off from the fold, leaving no herd in the stalls.
“The Lord God, our strength, He will yet make our feet like the feet of the deer, and we, who had been in the valley, He will make us walk on our high hills (Habakkuk 3:17-19).
“Neither hailstones nor hellfire can destroy the vision because the Creator of the universe is the visioner; the One who gave the vision is the Lord of dreams.
“And indeed even after we have suffered for a while, this God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, will perfect, establish, strengthen and settle us. (1 Peter 5:10)
“Our current trials cannot draw the curtains on our story, because the vision is for an appointed time,’’ he said.
In a sermon, Pst. Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer, Redeemed Christian Church of God, said that Nigerians had every reason to praise God as it was a divine commandment to praise.
The general overseer said if Nigerians were united, they would build a great nation.
Prayers were offered for security in Nigeria, emancipation for those in unity, for unity and progress of the church and for families.
In a vote of thanks, Boss Mustafa, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, thanked the vice president, members of the National Assembly, members of the Federal Executive Council, members of the diplomatic corps, clergies, service chiefs and all that graced the service.
He thanked God for preserving Nigeria’s unity, despite its numerous challenges.
The highlight of the service was the cutting of the 61st Independence Cake. (NAN)