*Archbishop to VP: “You serve well, we are proud of you.”
Appointment to an important position is not just one to be celebrated with pomp and pageantry, but a high call of service and responsibility to God and the people, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.
Prof. Osinbajo stated this today in Abuja as Special Guest of Honour at the Enthronement Service of the new Methodist Archbishop of Abuja, the Most Revd (Dr.) Michael Akinwale, which held at the Methodist Cathedral of Unity in the FCT.
The church service also featured the presentation of Sir Kayode Beckley, AVM Rtd, as the new Methodist Church Diocesan and Archdiocesan Lay President.
“Indeed, the office means that your voice must be heard and your leadership seen where there is injustice, deprivation or lack,” Prof. Osinbajo said addressing the new Archbishop
He continued: “the high call of service to the gospel of Christ is a ministry to all, whether they be amongst the membership of the Methodist Church or even those of other denominations and beliefs,” the Vice President stated in his remarks.
Congratulating the new Archbishop of Abuja, the VP commended him for his many decades of service to the church, noting that his enthronement was “an affirmation of your lifetime devotion to God and continuous good work in His vineyard.
“As his Eminence, the Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria sat your Grace on the throne, I knew that you were not blinded by the pomp and pageantry of this great occasion, but that you see this as a call to the service of God and man, a great responsibility in our country and world,” the VP stated.
Speaking on the place of service and honour for religious leaders, Prof. Osinbajo referenced the Holy Book, noting that, “Indeed, as Apostle Paul recommended in 1 Timothy 5:17: “the elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honour, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching”.
Prof. Osinbajo further stated that Archbishop Akinwale’s elevation to his new position was also a recognition of his exceptional spiritual and administrative service as the Secretary of the Conference from 2016 to 2022.
Continuing, he said, “it is also a celebration of the journey of consecration you commenced 39 years ago in December 1984 as a Cadet Minister in the Methodist Church.”
Prof. Osinbajo recalled that the new Methodist Archbishop of the Abuja diocese was also a former Synod Secretary of the Diocese, Archdiocesan Secretary, and was elected the third Bishop of the Diocese of Badagry.
According to the VP, Archbishop Akinwale over the years and decades “has stuck to the core duty of every Christian, which is the propagation of the gospel of Jesus Christ by the creation and adoption of evangelism opportunities.”
The Vice President also congratulated the new Methodist Archdiocesan Lay President of Abuja, Sir Kayode Beckley, while also acknowledging the Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria, Dr. Oliver Ali Aba JP, and all their eminences present at the ceremony.
“God has given you life and good health to see the progress and advancement of the ministry that God has given you, the Methodist Church in Nigeria. Your grace, I pray that this enthronement would release fresh oil of grace and influence for greater achievements in the Archdiocese of Abuja, in Nigeria and across the globe,” the VP prayed.
In his remarks, the new Methodist Archbishop of Abuja, thanked the Vice President for honouring them with his presence at the service, describing him as a man of character and purpose.
Referring to the VP, Archbishop Akinwale said, “You are an epitome of excellence, a good and visionary leader. We, the Christians in this country are very proud of you. We celebrate you; you are a man of great humility and a pastor to the core. Thank you for coming to honour God on this day. When I visited you, you promised that you would be here. You are a nobleman, a man of intellect. May the Lord God continue to bless you and may your days be long.
“I pray for you that under your watch, this country will not disintegrate. Under your watch, the Lord will preserve this country to be greater and better, regardless of the current challenges.”
Other dignitaries present at the service besides the Prelate of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, His Eminence, Oliver Abba, were the former Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan; former Prelates of the Methodist Church in Nigeria; Dr Samuel Kanu-Uche, Sunday Makinde, among other bishops and other members of the clergy.
Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity to the President
Office of the Vice President
5th March, 2023