Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has identified corruption as the country’s biggest problem, saying it is responsible for a multitude of avoidable child deaths yearly.
Osinbajo urged the church to step up its condemnation of corruption and illegally acquired wealth.
He warned that Christians would fail to positively influence the country unless they commit themselves to living like the biblical salt of the earth.
Osinbajo was guest minister on Sunday at a special service of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG)’s The Open Door Parish, Odogunyan, Ikorodu, Lagos.
The Vice President’s long-time friend Aina Ololade Salami is the Pastor-in-charge of the parish.
Speaking on the topic: The church and the destiny of the nation, Osinbajo berated church leaders, who through their teachings, “sometimes give the impression that there is no need for hard work”.
He urged Christendom to remember the Biblical command for people to pray for their leaders, like the Israelites prayed for Esther before she met the Persian King Ahasuerus and saved her people from genocide.
Osinbajo said: “I do not hear very often that the church criticises corruption and corrupt people. I don’t hear very often that there is condemnation, because, when you look at it, the greatest problem that our country has is corruption. People stealing directly from the treasury is what exposed in so many cases that there is so much poverty in the land, the leadership stealing directly from the treasury.
“The greatest cause of death is corruption, because when you look at the number of children who die between the ages of zero and five, who should have been provided with medical care and the money has been stolen, some people say oh there are many kidnappings, many this and that, but the greatest cause of death in our country is corruption.
“If you look at poverty, from 2012, almost 110,000 children die of diarrhea-related illness yearly. Why? The resources that should be used for medical care is stolen. So, if the church does not stand up and condemn corruption, if the church doesn’t say, ‘if we suspect that you this man, you are a public officer but you have money that you shouldn’t have we ’ll ostracise you’, then it’ll be difficult for us to play our role.”
He advised Christians worried by the idea of an Islamist agenda not to be afraid but to dutifully obey the great commission found in Matthew 28:16-20, where Jesus instructed his disciples to spread his teachings to all the nations of the world.
Osinbajo said: “I was saying to a group of Christian leaders the other day that I as a pastor, long before I was appointed Vice President, I attended the (RCCG) Holy Ghost Service regularly, as a matter of fact, before I became Vice President I never missed the Holy Ghost Service once in 15 years, not once. I’ve missed the Holy Ghost Service now maybe once or twice.
“As Vice President I attend, even in Abuja, all of the (Christian) gatherings, and these are big gatherings at the Abuja National Stadium. Even look at the Holy Ghost Night, it’s televised all over the world, I, as Vice President, am standing there everybody sees me all over the world. I said to the leaders, can you imagine a situation where President Muhammadu Buhari every month, gathers in Sokoto, with hundreds of thousands of Mullahs, what would we say? What would the leaders say? They would be panicking.”
The Vice President explained that he has been able to survive in politics without compromising his religious beliefs by trying to live, as Jesus commanded, like the salt of the earth.
He narrated an incident while he was Lagos State Attorney-General when he held a meeting in a room filled with cigarette smoke and how God helped him to understand his role as the biblical salt.
Osinbajo said: “But, I was so upset by the fact that there was so much smoke and when I was leaving the place my entire body smelled of cigarettes; my hair, my clothes, my entire body.
“As I was leaving, the first thought I had was that why should I be in the company of these people, who are smoking cigarettes and pipes? Why? Is it not wrong? Should I be in their company? After all I’m a Christian, a born again Christian. A pastor. And then the Lord spoke to me: ‘You’re the salt. If you don’t get into the soup, what will happen if you don’t get into the soup?
“It struck me immediately that my role was not to look condescendingly at what may be the problem. My role was to get involved in it, fight as much as I could with the power and the grace of the almighty God, and God enabled us at the time and we were able to do something.”
Several dignitaries at the service included the Ayangburen of Ikorodu, Oba Kabiru Shotobi; Olubeshe of Ibeshe, Oba Richard Abayomi Ogunsanya, the member representing Ikorodu Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Hon. Jimi Benson and Majority Leader of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Sanai Bolanle Agunbiade, among others.