The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, has said that the church, as a major stakeholder in the unity of Nigeria, has the obligation to ensure that the nation’s hard won democracy was not allowed to flounder due to acts of intolerance and extremism.
Chief Ihedioha was delivery a lecture at the first anniversary of the enthronement of the second Anglican Bishop of Egbu, the Rt. Rev. Geoffrey Okorafor, at the Cathedral Church of All Saints, Egbu, Owerri North, Imo State.
He called on the church to continue to speak out against the evils perpetrated by religious bigots and extremists in a heterogeneous society such as Nigeria.
The guest lecturer who spoke on the topic “Religious Tolerance and the need for peaceful coexistence in Nigeria,” stressed the need to stop the Boko Haram insurgency threatening the peace and corporate existence of the country.
He regretted that members of the sect have refused to dialogue with the government and appealed to all aggrieved parties in the country to embrace peace and dialogue.
The lawmaker urged them to take advantage of the numerous relevant committees of the National Assembly to channel their cases.
While acknowledging that Nigeria, with diverse culture, religion and ethnicity, is bound to have occasional problems, he noted that the nation’s greatness can be measured by its capacity to manage its adversities.
No meaningful development, he said, can take place in an environment characterized by ethno-religions violence, hatred, suspicious and intolerance.
The Deputy Speaker, however, assured that the National Assembly would continue to partner with the Presidency to ensure security of lives and property.
The Bishop of Mbaise, Rt. Rev. Chamberlin Ogunedo, stood in for the chairman of the occasion, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu former governor of Abia State, who sent apologies for his absence.
Bishop Ogunedo urged participants to be committed to the fundraising for a befitting Bishop’s court in the diocese.
In his keynote address the Deputy Senate President, Senate Ike Ekweremandu, represented by Chief Osita Nwaneri, commended the Anglican Diocese of Egbu for creating such a platform as the enthronement lecture that has made way for ideas to be mutually shared, promising that he would partner the church in realizing their developmental projects.
Earlier during a Eucharistic service that preceded the inaugural lecture, Ven. Duke Okere cautioned leaders at all levels against neglecting the responsibilities entrusted in their care warning that they would account for their stewardship before their creator. He said that the prophets in Ezekiel 34, where the old testament lesson was taken, betrayed the trust invested on them by feeding themselves on the flocks placed on the care.
Ven. Okere eulogized Bishop Okorafor’s leadership in the past one year, describing him as a true and good prophet. He enumerated some of his achievements to include the planting of churches, staff welfare among others.