Tell Those In Power The Truth, Gowon Tasks Religious Leaders | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Tell Those In Power The Truth, Gowon Tasks Religious Leaders

Posted: May 14, 2015 at 3:33 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Akinwunmi King, Lagos

Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, has admonished religious leaders in Nigeria to stand in the gap between temporal power and the people, saying they must never cease to speak the truth to those in power.

Delivering a remark on Thursday, at a lecture to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Foursquare Gospel Church, held at the National Headquarters of the Church in Lagos, Gowon explained that the state and the church are complementary so much so that they cannot be separated without doing grievous harm to either.

He said religious leaders must positively advise leaders on the way forward and must be fair and honest in their dealings with both sides.

He further said they must be conciliatory, not condemnatory and help the leadership to correctly interpret policies to the people.

This, the retired General, noted will ensure that the polity is not heated up for no reason than the protection of the self-interest of a few powerful elite members of the society.

He pointed out that the christian union must remain united in praying that God should always guide leaders in the country to distinguish right from wrong, good from evil and unhesitatingly decide what is right and good.

“The state, on the other hand, should refrain from meddling in matters of faith; no good will be done playing one religion against another, just as it will be unconscionable to use religious leaders for self-serving purposes that will diminish them amongst the congregation.

“Leaders should also not take undue advantage of the biblical injunction for followers to respect their leaders because they are chosen of God,” he said.

Gowon, who observed that prayers have kept Nigeria together till today, stated that happenings in the country have almost always ensured that people of faith across denominations in Christendom and Islam kept unending vigil for the love of country.

“During the Civil War, it was the prayers of people of God and the bravery of fighting forces that kept this country together. After the Civil War, it was wisdom from God to willing and obedient hearts that helped us to initiate and implement programmes that best served the interest of the people.

“It was God that helped to stem the tide of bloody coups in Nigeria so that we can enjoy democracy today. Even when naysayers wrote off this nation and various uncertificated futurologists predicted the break up of Nigeria by 2015 as a by-product of the recently concluded general elections.

“I was in Addis Ababa for a conference and when the news came that the incumbent president had congratulated his opponent, everyone at the conference was happy and they started congratulating me and other Nigerians at the conference. Let us imagine what would have happened if President Goodluck Jonathan had refused to do that,” Gowon added.

He, however, congratulated Foursquare Gospel Church on the occasion of its Diamond Jubilee celebrations also commending the organisers of the event.
Akinwunmi King