Indeed, the Lord reigns.
Being Opening Remark by The Rt Revd James Olusola Odedeji, Ph.D. at the Governorship Debate organised by the Diocese of Lagos West (Anglican Communion) in collaboration with the Dioceses of Badagry and Lagos Mainland at Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral (AVMCC) on January 15, 2015.
Courtesies and Greetings
- The Moderator, The Rt Revd. Prof. Dapo Asaju, Bishop Theologian, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
- My Lord Bishop of Badagry, The Rt Revd. B. J. Adeyemi
- Commissioner of Police, CP Kayode Adefarati
- Resident Electoral Commissioner for Lagos State, Mr Akin Orebiyi
- The Chancellor of this Diocese, Hon Justice B.O. Ogunade
- Chief Dr. Olusegun Osunkeye, The Diocesan Plenipotentiary,
- The Panellists,
- Gubernatorial Candidates
- All my Administrators and Priests
- Members of the Laity here present
- The Law Enforcement Agents
- Members of the Media
- Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is in the precious Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ that we welcome you to this epoch-making event. We chose to describe this as an epoch-making event because it strikes at the essence of citizenship. It is not only that he or she considers right for the society, but a responsibility that must be carefully discharged.
It is the tradition of the Diocese of Lagos West, collaborating with other Anglican Dioceses in Lagos State, to organise a public debate where every governorship candidate would have the opportunity to showcase what he/she has in stock for the people of the state. For the avoidance of doubt, we make bold to say that the cost of organising this is fully borne by the Diocese. We neither sought nor obtained sponsorship from anyone or group; nor did we charge anyone for participating.
It is our own way of encouraging the emergence of the best leaders for our dear state. We call on all voters to make wise decisions that would help, in turning Lagos State into a true Centre of Excellence. We have embarked on sensitization and mobilisation efforts towards educating our members on their rights and the right attitudes and procedures to adopt, on election days. This will continue in all our churches until the elections are conducted and results released.
We seize the opportunity to call on all agencies involved in the conduct of the elections to be God-fearing in discharging their responsibilities. We call on the Electoral Commission, the Security agencies, the Media and Civil Society organisations to be fair to all, and realize that they will give account of their stewardship one day to their Creator. Equally, candidates and political parties should realize that elections represent offer to serve. There is therefore no basis for the desperation that attends the exercise in Nigeria. The voters are the kings. They reserve the right to choose whoever they want and this should be readily accepted by the losers. It is a periodic exercise, and losers today could become winners tomorrow. In any case, the society should be the ultimate winner where it is conducted without fear or favour.
On our part, we have assembled some of the best professionals to anchor this event. The moderator is the Bishop Theologian of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). He needs no further introduction. The Panellists are man and women of impeccable character.
We do not intend to bore you with long speeches today. Suffice it to say here, that the candidates and audience here should appreciate that this is a house of God, where there is no room for undue heckling and booing. We call on all to conduct themselves with due decorum in the presence of the Almighty.
The Diocese believes fully in project Nigeria. Nigeria must survive. Therefore, day and night, our members are engaged in praying for the country, this State and the elections.
Dignitaries here present members of the diplomatic corps, members of the fourth estate of the realm, governorship candidates and representatives of the political parties. YOU ARE WELCOME.
The Rt Revd. James Olusola Odedeji, Ph.D.
The Lord Bishop, Diocese of Lagos West.