Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Monday commended religious leaders for upholding religious tolerance in the State and complementing government efforts in offering essential services to the people in critical areas such free medical care, provision of shelter and assistance to the needy.
Governor Ambode, who said this at Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja when he received the leadership of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) led by its President, Dr Felix Omobude on a courtesy visit, said it was on record that in the last two and half years of his administration, there had never been any major religious or ethnic crisis, while religious bodies have also been complementing government, just as he urged them to sustain the selfless service they have been offering to humanity.
He said: “I want to thank you on behalf of our administration. In another two days, our administration will be two and half years and it has been two and half years of sincere religious tolerance in this State. It has never been like this before; we have never had any disagreement between or among the religious groups or even among our people on a tribal note and that also show that God is present in Lagos State.
“Religious leaders are significant in the development of the State and I can say it easily. There are too many things that even our policies do not cover and a strong part of the civil society is our religious bodies because in areas where we cannot give shelter, we cannot give advice and we cannot give comfort, you have always been there.
“There are so many things that the churches are doing that are beyond spiritual. There are churches that are feeding people; they are taking care of health of the people; they are taking care of maternal mortality issues, taking delivery of babies where there are no hospitals and thereby complementing the efforts of government. That in itself deserves to be commended and I must say a big thank you to all our religious bodies. I must also inspire you on. What you are doing is not going unnoticed. I take note of everything that our churches are doing and I commend you most sincerely from the bottom of our hearts.”
He said as a sign of celebrating and appreciating the religious tolerance in the State, the State Government would uphold and sustain the interfaith parley which started last year, saying this year’s edition will hold in coming weeks.
Besides, Governor Ambode said the modest achievements of his administration were a product of the discipline learnt from religious fellowship, and assured that no stone would be left unturned to make life comfortable for residents.
“We like to touch humanity which is the whole essence of governance and that is why we are here. We will continue to do it. The electorate decided that somebody should come and represent and take care of their interest and that interest we are ready to sustain, we are ready to uphold; it is more about them not about us and I think at the end of the day, this kind of visit gives me inspiration that we are doing it in the right way and I want to assure that we will continue to work for the interest of the people,” he said.
Earlier, Omobude said they were at Lagos House to deepen the relationship existing with government and to identify with Governor Ambode.
He said the PFN leadership is thrilled by what God had been using Governor Ambode to do in the State, saying the massive infrastructural renewal and various policies were having positive impact on the people.
He said the church must not only criticize government officials when they do wrong, but also commend them when they are working in the interest of the people, adding that of a truth, the giant strides of the State Government deserved to be commended.
He also assured that PFN would continue to partner with government at various levels especially on matters relating to development of the country.