I had told the Rt. Hon. Speaker that I would not be able to attend his birthday event, because today is a day when annually, I host all members of my family from where they are, and I had done this for very many years and he had excused me from coming and said he understood.

But about two days ago, it just struck me that I had to be here and now I understand why I had to be here.

I have always known that the Speaker is an exceptional person in this funny world of politics. As you can imagine, politics is not a picnic, but there are people who stand by their word and you can take them by their word.

I heard, I think at some point, that the Speaker is a Christian. Over time, I got to know that. I didn’t even know his antecedents, but I recognized that there was something distinct and special about him.

I think that, by just hearing the stories and various testimonies of his life, it is evident that he is a good Christian. I have always said that if you are a Christian, we must know your salvation experience; we must know your story. If you don’t have a salvation experience you must go get one, but when you know a man or a woman’s salvation experience, then you know where he is coming from and you will understand why he is who he is today.

I am really grateful to God for today and I am going to get the book (to be unveiled today about the Speaker). I am going to tell my son the story because I always tell him stories, especially about greatness and about great people. I have always underscored to him that there is something important about redemption and greatness.

I was so pleased today when I heard Pastor Abioye talk about that relationship between redemption and greatness – the understanding that our lives really must be about service, because the one who saved us died for us and served us till the end.

So, I’m really so excited to be here and to celebrate with my brother because I have been greatly enriched today and greatly encouraged in my Christian faith. And I want to just bless the name of the Lord for you, your wife and children.

I pray that, just like the scriptures say, “That the path of the just is like a shining light and it will shine brighter and brighter until that perfect day”, I pray that your light will shine brighter until that perfect day in the mighty name of Jesus. I also pray that as your day, so shall your strength, so shall your wisdom and so shall your favour increase with God.

Your family, who you see today, you will continue to see and you will have pride and joy in them every day. All your children will be greater than you and all that you desire, the Lord God Almighty will bring to pass in Jesus name.

Thank you all.

Laolu Akande,
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity,
Office of the Vice President
26th December, 2017