OPC Xmas Carol: Gani Adams Urges Religious Leaders To Preach Tolerance

Otunba Gani Adams
Otunba Gani Adams

The National Coordinator of the Oodua People’s Congress Otunba Gani Adams, has said there is need to revive religious tolerance, one factor which once cemented Nigerians’ bond with one another despite their cultural and religious diversity.

The absence of this ‘asset’ Gani stressed, is the result of pockets of violence by some fanatics particularly in the Northeast Nigeria in guise of religion.

The OPC leader spoke at the maiden Christmas Carol and Nine Lessons sponsored by Gani Adams Foundation and held at All Season Plaza Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos.

Said Gani:“Even within the same Christianity, whenever there was a festival, we would go from one Christian denomination to another to wine and dine without giving a damn wether the family is Pentecostal or white garment. Such was the excitement in those days but unfortunately this practice has nearly faded away as everyone now lives in suspicion of his neigbour.

“What we have lost is religious tolerance and revival of African virtues. This is a challenge to our religious leaders. One aspect of the Yoruba culture particularly harps on brotherhood. We are brought up to be our brothers keepers. If this virtue is to be emulated, I believe it will have positive impact on those who perpetrate violence using religion.”

As a person with committed Christian mother and dedicated and liberal Muslim father, Gani said he had mingled with both religions while growing up, something he added has shaped his view on spirituality and tolerance.

Gani also used the forum to correct the misconception by many the anything about OPC connotes fetish practice.

When OPC was formed after June 12 1993, Gani recalled there arose sentiments in certain quarters to make it a religious organization, adding that as OPC leader, there was no way he could have made the OPC, dedicated to fighting for freedom of the Yoruba race and promoting her culture, a religious organization. At present Gani said about 60 and 35 per cent of his members are Muslims and Christians respectively while others are traditionalists.

“People erroneously have the impression that OPC is diabolical. But it might interest you all to know that we have people of varying religious in OPC and as a leader, I encourage everyone to practice their religion. In OPC we believe in using Yoruba culture for our activities. We pray in Islam, Christianity and traditional using Yoruba language. So I will love if we can accommodate more of Yoruba songs in subsequent edition of this event”

“Though this event was hurriedly planned, yet its essence is to demonstrate that in OPC, we identify with the Christmas season. We are also hoping to have a similar event for a Muslim festival just as we have for various traditional festivals that we participate across Yoruba land.”

Pastor Olaade Kalia of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (Ijeshatedo) Lagos, said the entire world has a cause to rejoice over Christ’s birth.

Taking his sermon from John 2.2, he described the birth of Christ as bringing peace to the world, noting that whoever accepts Him into his life will enjoy everlasting peace on the earth and hereafter.

As the King of kings, he said Christ has been bestowed with all power and authority to make man completely free.

“Many of us are filled with worries and our anxiety. But let me tell you that the secret of being free from worries is by accepting Christ into our lives. Some of us suffer physical and emotional illness, Christ is able to heal us from them. All we need do is use this season to acknowledge and accept him into our lives and I can assure you will enjoy everlasting peace,” he said.

Other ministers of God present include Pastor Adesanya Oshinkalu, Primate Peter Oyebode of C & S church Abaranje, Ikotun, Lagos, Evangelist Donald Shoyoola, Venerable JAO Philips, Rev Koyejo Gbobade and others.

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