23 November 2017

Nigeria: Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor Calls for Religious Tolerance

Former Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor OFR has called on Nigerians to be religious tolerant and seek proper ways of relating with one another , saying that the church in the country today is weakened by lack of unity among members.

Pastor Oritsejafor, Senior Pastor of Word of Life Bible Church made this remark at the book launch by one of Nigeria's remarkable educationists and administrator, Dame Jane Ejueyitchie-Oroye, titled "The Old and the New: Ten Decades of Our Saviour's Church(1911 - 2011), held at Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, NIIA, Lagos.

Oritsejafor laments; "If there has ever been a time for the unity of the church, it's now. We can't afford to stay away from each other because the church is one. Using scripture to stress his point, he said Jesus in John Chapter 17 mentioned 5 times 'That we all be one'. He went on to say that if something is mentioned several times in one chapter in the Bible, then it is serious.

Speaking further, he said; "We do things that we shouldn't do to each other in the name of religion but what we don't seem to realise is that we are weakening the church. We use all sorts of media platforms including social media and available means to write and pull down each other even to the extent of destroying each other. Looking at all these, I wonder, if we don't read Bible anymore. There are places we ought to have one voice but we end up having up to 3 different voices. With all these, we don't have the strength to face the challenges that are coming against the church. The church is getting weaker every day." He said.

Pastor Oritsejafor cited Dame Jane's book as one historic project that everyone should read especially when it is coming from an astute educationist, one who trained majority of the influential personalities in the public and private sector today and also knows the foundation of Christian religious impact in the society today.

In the same vein, Chairman at the Book launch, Sen. (Gen) Ike Nwachukwu (retrd) also cautioned the nation to pay heed to wise warnings by waking up to their responsibilities as a church. "It's high time we wake up to our responsibility as a church and embrace love for one another. People are more concerned about building structures and forget about evangelizing. If all Christians fail to pay heed to the call, we will soon lose our identity as Christians in the country. We need to remember that God is one and we can influence our brothers from other denominations to worship with us by our character and attitude." Nwachukwu said.

Former Delta State governor, Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan who extoled the virtues of Dame Jane as one teacher they respected a lot at Edo Boys College, Benin, also advocated for the return of schools to missions. He disclosed that the church are in better position to handle the management of schools as it used to be in the old. He also mentioned that during his tenure in the office, he made efforts to do it despite oppositions from quarters but was able to succeed.

Friends and associates of Dame Jane present at the book presentation included members of the old students of St. Ann's Girls School, Molete, Ibadan; Edo College, Benin City; Queens College, Lagos; University of Ibadan and other schools that Dame Jane taught during her active years in school.

Eminent personalities include Sen. (Gen) Ike Omar Sanda Nwachukwu as chairman of the book launch, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, Olorogun O'tegaEmehor; Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, former governor, Delta State; Mr. Sam AmukaPemu, Publisher, Vanguard Newspapers; Prof. Grace Alele Williams; High Chief Dr. Winifred Awosilka; Prof. Sara Beatrice Adenike Oloko as book reviewer, among others, while royal fathers present include His Majesty OgiameIkenwoli, the Olu of Warri, represented by Chief Koetey; Aleyeluwa Oba 'Kole Ojutalayo and others.

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