The Dean of Ikeja Deanery and Parish Priest, St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Shogunle, Very Rev. Fr. Patrick Obayomi has tasked Nigerians to inculcate the virtue of love in all that they do, no matter the situation they may find themselves, so as to feel good at all times Obayomi who gave this charge while representing His Grace, Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins, Catholic Archbishop of Lagos at the 2021 Valentine’s Day with the Archbishop noted that love is an essential ingredient to the survival of humanity and to the survival of the world. He said: “In whatever situation we find ourselves, in whatever difficulty we find ourselves, in whatever circumstances, we find ourselves, no matter how unpleasant it is, if we approach it from the angle of love, we will smile on the long run. The various adversities of life to me, can therefore be conquered by love”.
Expatiating on the theme, “Love is tested in the midst of adversity”, he said: It is a very wide concept. When I first saw the topic, my mind first of all went to even our present COVID-19 situation. Whether we like it or not, it’s not a pleasant thing, it’s an adversity. But in spite of it, we are still expressing love, we are still showing love; we are still sure God loves us, and we are still sure that we can also spread our love. Love is not restricted to this celebration,, if love is absent, we will be suffering a lot of mishaps. It’s like somebody going in a vehicle and then, there is a terrible accident. So, life without sufficient love is a life that has terrible accident, and that is struggling; we don’t know whether such a life will survive or not. Love is therefore an essential ingredient to the survival of humanity and to the survival of the world”. Speaking on the rate of insecurity being witnessed in the country, Obayomi said such situation makes it difficult for people to experience love.
He said: “Have you ever heard where people are shooting each other, fighting each other, using machete to cut each other, that two people came out and they said they want to do wedding? It’s impossible. It’s totally impossible. “Insecurity leads to a lot of bad things. It leads to war, and if there are things that are worse than war, insecurity can also be the author. And when these things are rife, when those things are going on, when those things become almost the daily pattern of our life, then, it is difficult to experience love. “You cannot tell me that you want to preach love to a village where the head of the village was slaughtered like a ram, and members of the village also litter the ground, and at the end of it, you go there and then you say, ‘love your enemies, love each other.’ They will look at you and say, ‘Are you alright?’
This is what insecurity has brought to us. It has never been this bad.” While assuring that the Church will not relent in its role of appealing to the conscience of those in public offices, the cleric said that insecurity has continued in Nigeria because of corruption. “Let us say the truth. Insecurity cannot strive without corruption. Corruption aids insecurity to fester and to grow. Through corruption what I am supposed to do, I am not doing it. What you are supposed to do, you are not doing it. We therefore leave a gap, a yawning lacuna for bad things to happen, whereby, bad things are happening, you can close your eyes, I can close my eyes as long as it is not touching you physically, not remembering that even if it did not touch you physically, it may touch you remotely, either through your brothers or sisters or through your friend. We must not just think of here and now, we must think of tomorrow.
So, insecurity and corruption, they go hand in hand. “The church will continue to perform the role of a prophet by preaching the truth, not caring whose ox is gored, and by saying it just exactly as it is, even when they don’t listen to us, we will continue to talk, so that on the last day, God will be able to tell us, Good and faithful servant, come into the joy of your father”, he said. On threatened disintegration of the Nigerian nation, owing to the adverse situations confronting the country, he said: ”The Church is never going to chairman an organization where things will scatter. No. the Church will always want things to come together to be unified. The Church is even a symbol of unity in the first place. Therefore, the Church will never be at the fore-front of scattering or dismembering Nigeria. No. the Church will continue to preach. Let us sit down and solve our differences.
“You all knew what we were enjoying in those days when the regions had some little powers and autonomy and how they were really developing their various regions. There will be a time, and we pray it will come very soon, when the various stakeholders will be able to come together to say, ‘What is the best way of us sitting down together so that we can have what we call unity in diversity, even though we may not be speaking the same language, we may not be living the same way of life, but certain things can still bring us together. “I am sure the Church would want to participate in any exercise that will bring us together. But as it is in the country, various interest groups are also looking for various ways to see that the present situation that we have brought ourselves into, by the grace of God; we will soon be able to get a solution to it.” The event which had in attendance religious and lay faithful in the Archdiocese, also saw the renewal of marital vows of some couples. Present on the occasion were Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Ibe, Director, Lay Apostolate and Chaplain, Lagos Archdiocesan Laity Council, Very Rev. Fr. Gabriel Odunaya, Homilist and Chaplain, Lagos Archdiocesan CYON among others.