By Chidinma Agu/Yemi Adeleye
Lagos – The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Saturday expressed confidence that it would be impossible for anybody to use religion to divide Nigeria.
The minister expressed the confidence in Lagos at the Anglican Diocese of Lagos 2019 Centenary Cultural Day and Award Ceremony.
The centenary celebration had the theme: ”Stronger, Deeper and Higher”.
According to Mohammed, performances at the event by different ethnic groups in the diocese are indications that the unity of Nigeria is not negotiable.
“What I have seen here today has again confirmed my belief in the indivisibility of this country.
”These performances have shown us how much we are united, as opposed to how much we are divided.
“I want to thank the diocese for making me to appreciate the fact the church is playing a very big role in uniting the nation.
“It is impossible for anybody under the aegis of religion to divide this country,” he said.
He said that the celebration showed how Nigerians loved one another.
The Wife of Lagos State Governor, Mrs Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, said at the event that the church should be committed to sound teachings of the word of God and strictly adhere to God’s commandments.
She said that 100 years in the life of any organisation was not a small feat but called for celebration.
According to her, the diocese has been serving as a veritable platform to impact lives through sound teachings of God’s word and contributing to the growth and development of Lagos State and Nigeria in general.
Sanwo-Olu commended the church for using the centenary celebration to conceive an initiative to address housing deficit in Lagos through the planned Centenary City project on the Lekki-Ibeju-Epe axis.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the city was conceived by the church to give back to the society in terms of low-income housing estate to take care of Lagos residents irrespective of their religions.
In his opening remark, the Bishop of the diocese, Rt. Rev. Humphrey Olumakaiye, expressed gratitude to God for the celebration.
He said that the event was to showcase the glory of God who made the diocese stronger, deeper and higher.
Olumakaiye said that the event emphasised international peace and security, tolerance, respect and understanding.
“Despite having people of different cultures, we are undivided in our worship of God.
”Today, we celebrate cultural day as part of the centenary anniversary celebration.
”Through culture, we are represented by standards and customs.
”We have all come together to declare that we can give to the world the needed sustainable development through a united effort targeted at peaceful coexistence,” he said.
Olumakaiye said that the church should sustain the culture of peace and integrity, culture of brotherly love and sanctity of life.
He said that these were the best ways to show that the church remained united in Christ.
Ven. Samuel Uhie, Chairman, Centenary Cultural Committee, in his welcome address, noted that culture defined a man and his identity.
”The attainment of 100 years by the Diocese of Lagos was possible through the contributions of different nationalities; thus, making Lagos to become a microcosym of Nigeria.
”These nationalities were united in the Diocese of Lagos by common denominator – belief in the work of Christ within the doctoral persuasion of the Anglican Church,” he said.
Uhie said that while culture were the ideas, customs and attitudes of a particular people, tradition was the transmission of the customs and beliefs from one generation to another.
NAN reports that various archdeaconries in the diocese presented different cultural displays and culinaries from Uhrobo, Benin, Itsekiri, Igbira, Ekiti, Egba, Edoma, Awori/Egun, Brazilian, Calabar, Akwa/Ibom, Ijebu, Isoko, Ijaw, Ikale and Ilaje, among others.
Some members of the diocese were given awards for their commitment to its growth.
They include Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Mr John Momoh, Chief Olabode Goerge, Dr Toyin Okeowo, Mr Kunle Adebayo, Mrs Yinka Adebayo and Ven. Olumuyiwa Oyewole.
The others are Dr Ebi Omatsola, Sir Paul Okafor, Mrs Ifeoma Okafor, Mr Gbolade Osibodu, Mrs Funke Osibodu, Oba Michael Onakoya, and Pa Samuel Olowoselu. (