Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday identified the elite, corruption, ethnicity, religion and other parochial interests as the real enemies of peace, unity and development of Nigeria.
Speaking at Igbogene, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, at the dedication of a 10,000-seater Ecumenical Centre built by the Governor Seriake Dickson administration, he said the country was standing on a threshold of the most significant moment in history.
The edifice was dedicated by the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Worldwide, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, amid prayers and thanksgiving.
It was done in the presence of clerics, including ex-President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Pastor Ayo Orisejafor.
About 15,000 persons, including dignitaries from all walks of life within and outside the state gathered inside and under canopies on the premises to inaugurate the worship centre described as one of the best in Africa.
American gospel singer and multiple award winner Ron Kenoly as well as other singers entertained the crowd.
The vice-president, represented by the Chaplain of Aso Rock Chaplaincy, Pastor Seyi Malamo, said the country had been presented with the greatest opportunities to build and become Africa’s largest economy not only by the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but also in efficiency and productivity.
“The building being inaugurated today is the house of God. We stand on the threshold of perhaps the most significant moment in the history of Nigeria. It is a time for economic challenges, ethnic and religious tension. I say that we stand on a threshold of the most significant moment in our history, a time to build.
“It is a time when by sheer grace of God, we have the greatest opportunities to build and become not just Africa’s largest economy by GDP, but also the most efficient and most productive.
“By 2050, Nigeria will be the fourth largest nation by population in the world and we can like China also become one of the most 10 successful economies in the world.
“This is our best moment because we have shown that despite the lowest earnings from oil in the last 15 years and in 2016, we can still build and be involved in capital projects. How is that possible? It is by the grace of God and a commitment to build.
“We have shown that as difficult and painful as recession may be, we have the capacity to come out of it and begin the building of an economy that emphasises productivity and will provide enough jobs. We are in the pains of childbirth and we will soon experience the same sweetness and joy of childbirth.”
Osinbajo said corruption, ethnicity, religion, parochial tendencies and the attitude of the elite remained a hindrance to progressive moves.
He said the attitude of the elite was one of the biggest problems of the emerging new Nigeria, as they were always thinking alike, regardless of their political, religious and tribal leanings.
To build a new Nigeria, the vice-president advocated new men and women of all faith and ethnicity committed to a country run on high values of integrity, hard work, justice and patriotism.
Pastor Adeboye described the building as magnificent. He prayed for Dickson and his wife, who knelt before him.
The cleric said despite his busy schedule, he came to Bayelsa to dedicate the centre because of his love for the state.
Dickson said the building was erected as an interdenominational place for Christians.
The governor signed the Ecumenical Centre Management Bill 2017, which was given accelerated hearing and passed into law by the House of Assembly.
He appointed Mr. Dotimi Amatare as the chairman of the management board.
Dickson thanked the lawmakers, led by Speaker Kombowei Benson, for passing the bill. He enjoined the management board to preserve the edifice and make it available for Christians.