Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday prodded Nigerians who survived the COVID-19 and witnessed the New Year to thank God for His mercies.
Obasanjo, now Asiwaju Onigbagbo (Christian Leader) of Ogun State, said he knew the reason God spared his life to witness the New Year despite the turbulence and challenges posed to humanity in 2020 by COVID-19.
Obasanjo gave the advice at the second annual thanksgiving service of the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta.
According to him, he was spared by God purposely to serve Him and humanity more and more.
Obasanjo said he survived 2020 not because he was more righteous or clever than any of those that were swept away by the pandemic in Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world.
The former president said it dawned on him clearer that God purposely kept him alive to serve Him and humanity more and more.
He said thanking God for outliving 2020 should not be his (Obadanjo’s) affairs only, noting that those who found themselves on the side of the living should also consider it a duty to be grateful to God for His mercy and compassion.
He warned that one would be termed an “ungrateful lot if one fails to perform the duty of thanksgiving. It is our duty to give thanks to God. You will be the most ungrateful person if you do not perform the duty of giving thanks to God Almighty.
“In all circumstances, give thanks. Therefore, if you fail to give thanks, you are failing a very significant duty of yours as a Christian.
“2020 was a very challenging year not only for us in Nigeria, not only for us in Africa, but for the whole world. The fact that you are alive calls for giving thanks to God. It doesn’t matter which way you look at it.
“That those who you know as a result of Covid-19 are no more here with us is not because you are better than them, more knowledgeable than them; it’s just by the grace of God.
“If God gives you that grace to still remain on earth, it may be for a purpose. I believe part of the purpose is for you to continue to serve humanity and serve God.
“You cannot be a servant of God if you cannot give thanks to him. The purpose of being here is to perform our duty as Christians, by giving thanks to God.”
Earlier in his welcome address, Chairman of Ogun CAN, Bishop Tunde Akin-Akinsanya described year 2020 as the year of ‘lockdowns, nose covers, face masks and sanitizers, among others.
He explained that the thanksgiving service has become an annual event, designed to honour Obasanjo as the Asiwaju Onigbagbo of Ogun state.
He urged Christians to show gratitude for surviving COVID-19 pandemic last year.
He said the Christian community decided to honour Obasanjo with the title when he clocked 80th for his contributions to Christian faith at the national level when he was president.
Earlier in his sermon, the National Vice President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Bishop Reuben Olu – Oke admonished Nigerians to emulate the former president.
He said Obasanjo never ceased to praise God all the time.
Dignitaries at the event include the Olu of Ibara, Oba Jacob Omolade; Iyalode of Yorubaland, Chief Alaba Lawson and clerics in the state and beyond.