Remember the Lazarus around your corner, Cleric tells Nigerian politicians at Onosode’s funeral
By Jon Egie
Politicians and other persons occupying positions of leadership in public and private sectors as well as those enjoying one opportunity or the other should realize that there is a Lazarus around their corner who needs their passionate attention.
President, Nigerian Baptist Convention, Dr Samsom Olasupo Ayokunle gave the charge during a homily he presented at the occasion of the funeral service held in honour of late Deacon Gamaliel Onosode at the First Baptist Church, Ughelli; Friday, Oct. 23.
He described the late Gamaliel Onosode as first among equals in the Nigerian Baptist Convention having invested so much in the growth of the church in Nigeria. He said when somebody is very useful to a group of people the people seem not to think of his age just as the Nigerian Baptist Convention did not consider that late Gamaliel Onosode was old even though he was 82.
Dr Ayokunle said people desire to attain great positions in life but hardly remember that for every opportunity in life there is a corresponding responsibility and that the goal of God is for every of such person to handle the opportunities with responsibilities.
“To be rich is an opportunity with accountable sense of responsibility. To be the President, a Governor, Senator, Minister, Pastor, Teacher and whatever position is not for pride and arrogance and you do not occupy such positions because you are the best material but because there is an attendant responsibility and if you fail to discharge that responsibility, it would be better you were not born. If you lose your sense of responsibility it is a regret that is not redeemable.”
The Baptist leader said late Gamaliel Onosode was a man born with opportunities but displayed a high sense of responsibilities, 2he did not take any opportunity for granted knowing that every step he took God was monitoring”.
He lamented that the average Nigerian politician fail to discharge the responsibilities expected of them in the positions they occupy and hence Nigeria is in the mess that it is today.
He told the APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun who was in church to pass the message to President Muhammadu Buhari to be responsible to Nigerians who elected him as president of the FRN by ensuring that all roads, airports and other infrastructure in Nigeria are working.
He said so many people in government have wasted the opportunities given to them to serve the public thereby exposing Nigeria to ridicule before the international community. He challenged the political leaders to wake up and stop disgracing Nigeria by reason of their irresponsible behaviours.
“Every position and opportunity that comes your way is a temptation and you must strive to overcome the temptation by being responsible. You must realize that there are many Lazarus in Nigeria who are full of sores and no hope of having the next meal and they need your passionate attention.”
Dr Ayokunle berated politicians who occupied one public position after a series of others but would not be useful to the people saying such politicians were not only useless but were also a shame.
He described the dogs that licked the sores of Lazarus in the biblical story contained in Luke 16:19 to the end as more caring than the senseless rich men and politicians who occupy positions for nothing.
For him, late Gamaliel Onosode was rich but was not callous, “he was liberal and generous” the Baptist leader said.
Earlier in a tribute, the governor of Delta State, Sen Ifeanyi Okowa described Pa Onosode as a role model, a man of substance who occupied a class of his own, a humble peace loving servant of God.
“As a businessman he was a national icon and a man of integrity, a ballroom guru; as leader he was burdened to seeing Nigeria attain her full potentials-he was a conservative of the conscience of the Nigeria nation; Nigeria and indeed, Delta State will miss him”.
On his part, former Secretary General of Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyakou described late Gamaliel Onosode as a true symbol of integrity, “an asset of Nigeria national value”.
The remains were later taken to his country home in Ekiugbo-Ughelli where he was laid to rest.