Chief Ernest Shonekan Celebrates 80th Birthday

Ernest ShonekanThe story of Chief Ernest Shonekan’s life is one centered on merit, humility and service to humanity, and that was re-echoed when the British-trained lawyer, industrialist, Baba Isale of Egbaland and former Interim President of Nigeria turned 80.

The celebrant, who takes his Christian faith seriously together with his dear wife Margret and their lovely children, began the special birthday event with a thanksgiving service at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina in Lagos

The occasion saw several important guests honouring Chief Shonekan in a service officiated by the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh.

The special guests include former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon and wife Victoria; former Vice President, Chief Alex Ekwueme and wife Helen; Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun and wife Olufunso, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Idiat Adegbule.

Others are former Minister of Defence, General Theophilus Danjuma and wife Senator Daisy; Chairman of FCMB, Otunba Shubomi Balogun and wife Adebutu; and the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Micheal Adedotun Gbadebo amongst others

Indeed, it was a special day as they joined him on the altar for thanksgiving and then sang a special birthday song for him.

Students from his Alma Mata, CMS Grammar School Lagos, also did a special presentation in his honour.

The social part of the celebration kicked off right away with veteran juju music maestro, Ebenezer Obey, dishing out some of his evergreen tunes in honour of the celebrant and to the delight of his A-list guests.

More important guests joined the party, like ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo; the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi and wife Olori Wuraola; former Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, and former Governor of Lagos, Chief Mobolaji Johnson.

Business mogul, Chief Razaq Okoya and wife Shade; Justice George Oguntade and wife; Chairman of Doyin Group, Mr Samuel Adedoyin; and the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Foreign Relations and Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, also shared in the fun.

Chief Ernest Shonekan was born on the May 9, 1936 in Lagos. He is a British-trained lawyer, industrialist, and was the former Chief Executive of the United African Company of Nigeria Plc (UAC), before he was appointed as Interim President of Nigeria by General Ibrahim Babangida on August 26, 1993.

Chief Shonekan’s transitional administration only lasted three months before General Sani Abacha took over on November 17, 1993.

Anglican Primate Urges NLC To Shelve Minimum Wage Demand 

Minimum WageThe Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, has advised the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress to shelve their demand for 56,000 Naira as a new minimum wage saying salary increase has not really helped the situation of the average Nigerian worker.

Addressing a congregation of Anglicans in Abuja, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria and Bishop of Abuja, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh said that the agitation for salary increase can only be done when there is an improvement in the nation’s economy.

He also advised the federal government to urgently address the issue of armed Fulani herdsmen causing havoc in some parts of the country.

He added that it will not augur well for the country if various communities are allowed to resort to self-help.

Thanksgiving Service: Jonathan Seeks Prayers For Incoming Administration

Goodluck Jonathan seeks prayers for BuhariNigeria’s outgoing President, Goodluck Jonathan, has asked Christians to continue to pray for the incoming administration to succeed in the management of the country’s affairs.

President Jonathan was speaking at a Presidential Election Thanksgiving Service held in Abuja on Sunday to offer prayers for the incoming government as well as bid farewell to the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

Addressing the congregation, he stressed that the outcome of the presidential elections was an indication that Nigeria would remain one united entity under one God “no matter who becomes the President” of oil-rich nation.

“I am happy that Nigeria is celebrating the unity of the country and not a mass burial that follows conflicts in elections.

“It was about the unity of Nigeria,” President Jonathan said, calling for continuous prayers for whoever is on the throne.

It was a long roll call of dignitaries drawn from all political divides in attendance at the Thanksgiving and Inauguration Service with the theme ‘Give Thanks In All Circumstances’.

To watch the video of the Thanksgiving Service, click here.

At the Sevrvice, they gave thanks and praises to God for His faithfulness and the years He had granted the President Jonathan’s administration, the peaceful elections in the country and the success of the incoming government

The preacher, the Primate if the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Nicholas Okoh, recalled the offences that followed the campaigns and called for forgiveness if their thanksgiving would be accepted.

He likened Nigeria to a big ship now in the hands of General Muhammadu Buhari and Professor Yemi Osinbajo, whom he stressed were to continue from where Jonathan and Sambo stopped.

There were prayers for those in authority, the outgoing and incoming administration and for Nigerians, thanking God for the ability to be in service for ones fatherland.

At the service, President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife step unto the altar for the presentation of an award for outstanding humility by the Christian Association of Nigeria.

The First Lady in a speech thanked God for His provision for the family and an opportunity to serve Nigeria.

“I had not dreamt of being the wife of a Deputy Governor because my husband was not a politician. But God lifted us up,” she said.

To watch the video of the First Lady’s testimony, click here.

After the award presentation, the Vice President-elect, Professor Osinbajo, who was also at the service gave a short speech.

In a sonorous way, he started and ended with a word of prayer for the outgoing President.

The Christian association also gave him the assurance that they would not cease in praying for his success.

The service was one of the activities lined-up for the inauguration week. On May 29, President Goodluck will hand over to General Muhammadu Buhari.

The congregation prayed that Nigeria would have an eventful handover ceremony and that the government would continue to put in place policies that would make the nation an envy of other countries.

Clerics Demand Better Governance From Buhari

BuhariReligious clerics have advised the incoming government to put national interest above every other interest and be fair to all Nigerians.

The Deputy Chief Imam of the National Mosque and the Primate of the Anglican Communion, in separate sermons in Abuja, urged the administration of General Muhammadu Buhari to unite Nigeria and avoid policies that are against national interests.

The Primate of the Anglican Communion, Nicholas Okoh, spoke at an assembly of clergymen and the laity on Friday.

He mentioned Nigeria’s international relations with the West as well as the problem of electricity among issues he wants the incoming administration to tackle.

The Deputy Chief Imam, Sheikh Mohammed Kabir’s speech came when Muslims gathered at the National Mosque to offer a special jumaat prayer ahead of the swearing-in on May 29.

He urged the incoming government of Muhammadu Buhari to dispense justice to all.

Both gatherings also prayed for divine guidance to enable the new government to deliver on their promises to Nigerians.

Nigerians expect to witness another civilian to civilian power transition on May 29, 2015.

Christmas Day: Jonathan Asks Politicians To Moderate Utterances

ChristmasPresident Goodluck Jonathan has called on Nigerian politicians to moderate their utterances as they carry out the 2015 election campaigns.

He was among the Christian faithful that worshipped at the St. Matthews Anglican Church in Maitama, Abuja, on Christmas Day.

The President described as embarrassing, some statements by politicians which are capable of setting the country ablaze.

He wondered why anyone would talk of setting up a parallel government just because he fails in an election.

He urged the politicians to desist from sowing the seeds of discord, saying that the country does not belong to politicians alone.

The President described the security challenges as temporary and asked the church to continue to pray.

The sermon, delivered by Primate Of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Nicholas Okoh, also challenged Nigerians on the preparation towards the 2015 general election and the need to keep reminding political office holders of the expectations of Nigerians as politicians jostle for power.

There were also prayers for the church and the world.

The church prayed that God would bless Nigerian rulers from the federal to local government, that people might seek the common good.

Highlight of Christmas Day service was the thanksgiving session that enabled all to dance to the alter in celebration of the day.

President Jonathan and members of his family were joined by Christian faithful in the Federal Capital Territory to mark the 2014 Christmas celebrations.

The President last visited St Matthews Church as a Vice-President.


Cleric Commends International Involvement In Chibok Girls’ Rescue Operations

Most Reverend Nicholas OkohThe Primate of the Anglican Church in Nigeria, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, has commended the Federal Government over its involvement of international organisations in efforts to rescue the abducted Chibok girls.

The Primate, who spoke at the ninth synod session organised by the church in Abuja, also asked Nigerians to join hands with the government in addressing issues of insecurity.

While describing the call for a swap of the abducted girls for prisoners as baseless, he solicited for the prayers of Nigerians for the restoration of peace.

In Abia State, a one-day prayer session was held on Friday for the release of the girls of the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State abducted by members of the Boko Haram sect on April 14.

The Abia State Government in collaboration with the office of the Wife of the State Governor, Mercy Orji, and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Abia State Chapter organised the prayer held on Friday.

Dressed in black attire, the women from all walks of life and clergies led by the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Abia State Chapter, Bishop Goddy Okafor, gathered at Micheal Okpara Auditorium in Umuahia to seek God’s divine intervention for the safe return of the Girls back to the arms of their respective families.

Jonathan Says Boko Haram Must Go

The Federal Government of Nigeria has reassured citizens that the current administration will do its best to ensure that Boko Haram insurgency becomes a thing of the past in the country.

President Goodluck Jonathan gave the assurance while addressing Christian faithful at the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) in the Federal Capital Territory, where he participated in the service to mark the first Sunday in the New Year.

President Jonathan, his mother, and some members of the cabinet joined the congregation to thank God for the New Year and to identify with the church at the beginning of the year.

The President commiserated with families hit by the terrorist group, most of them members of the church. He also called on well-meaning Nigerians to join hands with the administration so that the war against terror would collectively be won.

The leader of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), Reverend Dachollom Datri, delivered a message in which he commended the President for his “giant strides” in the administration. He expressed hope that the New Year would be crisis free, so that the church would suffer less as has been the case since the inception of terror attacks in the North.

He also declared the theme for the church in the New Year; ‘knowing the will of God’, emphasizing usefulness as the purpose of God.

The President appreciated the leadership of the church, and called for more prayers for the country, promising that in the midst of challenges especially in the North, Nigerians would soon witness the end of the Boko Haram sect.

The President also reiterated that development cannot be achieved overnight, but that his administration is committed to it, despite the daunting challenges.

The COCIN referred to Dr Jonathan as God’s gift to Nigeria, pledging to support him at all times with the belief that only the will of God shall prevail in the country as the year 2014 unfolds.

Apart from the typical praise, worship and bible readings expected of the service, the congregation, who were excited about the visit also said prayers for the President.

Jonathan Predicts Great Future For The Nigerian Child

Nigeria’s president, Doctor Goodluck Jonathan, has seized the opportunity of the season’s religious festivities to predict a brighter future for Nigerian children.

The President, joined residents of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, to worship at the Apostolic Faith Church in Jabi, and there he called on Christians to continue to pray for the continuous peace and unity of the country, in the midst of daunting challenges.

He said that despite its diversity, Nigeria has remained as one nation. Therefore citizens need to shun the barriers created by the diversity and embrace togetherness at all times.

The president, who uses the holiday season and yuletide to worship in any church he likes, stressed that if he could make it to the highest place in the land, then no Nigerian child should surfer.

The service, which had all the trappings of end of the year and the festive season, with the traditional over 100-man orchestra, with rich accompaniment of musical instruments, also saw the children presenting a special rendition for Mr President.

The General Overseer, Reverend Emmanuel Adeniran, while noting in his message that the visit of the President on the last Sunday of the year is of great significance, also reminded the congregation that one’s closeness to God matters a lot, above all.

The special guest, while promising to continue to do his best, thanked the church for their prayers and called on Nigerians to join in the prayers while hoping for a better 2014. He shared with the congreation more of his great expectations for Nigerians in the new year, especially the children.

Remarks About Terrorism: Media Misquoted Jonathan – Presidency

The Presidency has called on the Nigerian media to “eschew undue negativity and join hands with the government to promote peace, national security and political stability.”

In a statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Reuben Abati, the Presidency condemned reports in the media which quoted President Goodluck Jonathan as accepting defeat, expressing helplessness and underestimating the magnitude of challenge posed by terrorism in the country, during a Christmas church service he attended with his family on Christmas day.

Abati said that the reports are “completely untrue and a mischievous misrepresentation” of the President’s actual words.

“President Jonathan’s verifiable remarks at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Life Camp Abuja were to the effect that in comparison with some other countries which have experienced the scourge of terrorism, Nigeria has made remarkable progress in dealing with the security challenges posed by terrorism and insurgency.”

In an effort to assert the Jonathan administration’s view of the war on terrorism as one it can win and which it is already winning, it frowned at headlines that read ‘Terrorism Has Come to Stay’ and ‘Insurgency Far From Over – Jonathan’, referring to them as inappropriate representation of the President’s remarks, which amounted to taking “extreme editorial liberties” with his comments.

The statement continued: “It is apparent that in their indecent haste to cast the most sensational and negative headlines, some editors never paused to consider that it would have been most absurd for a President whose administration has done so much to reverse the tide of terrorism, to publicly assert the contrary.”

“Interpreting those remarks, which are clearly in tandem with facts available to all objective observers of Nigeria’s war against terrorism, as an expression of defeat or helplessness, amounts to reckless scaremongering which can only serve the purpose of needlessly instigating fear among the populace and bolstering the confidence of criminal and unpatriotic elements,” Abati stated.

It insisted that President Jonathan simply highlighted the global challenge that terrorism has become as increasing source of concern in many countries. Therefore, in comparison to some of these countries, Nigeria has done reasonably well at reducing the rate of terrorist attacks within its territory.

The statement assured that the government, Armed Forces and security agencies will continue to build on the successes they have so far achieved against terrorists, insurgents and their sponsors.

Jonathan At Christmas Worship, Calls For More Prayers

President Goodluck Jonathan, today joined other Christian faithful to worship in one of the Anglican churches in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The Church of the Advent plays host to the President and members of the first family every year and the 2013 service had all the elements of Christmas, from popular carols to songs of praise and thanksgiving.

The First Lady read the first Bible lesson from the book of Isaiah chapter 9, verses 2 and 7, while the President read the second lesson from the book of Hebrews.

The Primate of the Anglican Church, Nicholas Okoh, spoke about the joy and peace that Christ brought, as they affect Nigerians.

“Do not join anybody to cause trouble, because you may be a recipient of the evil of the trouble. Do not join anybody to cause confusion because we have nowhere to go.”

While reminding the congregation and all Nigerians of the need to shun being used as political pawns, he said: “some of you don’t have international passports, do you? And the people who are telling you to do this, do that do not only have international passports, they have bank accounts, and houses abroad; they can go and stay there and at the end of the whole matter they come back.”

President Jonathan, in his goodwill message after the session called on the Nigerian clergy not to allow politicians to plunge the country into chaos as they want to do.

The president cited examples of events in countries like South Sudan and Pakistan and pledged that his administration will continue to do its best to ensure that the country does not degenerate into crisis.

He made the promise especially now that bitter criticisms of his administration and what he called unwarranted letters appear to be the order of the day, when according to him “we the politicians begin to think about our next elections, doing what we ought not to do, making statements we are supposed not to make, and writing letters we are supposed not to write.”

The President added that the country does not belong to politicians alone and called on men of God to continue to pray for the reign of terror to stop.