Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday said he knew why God spared his life to witness the New Year despite the turbulence and challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to humanity in 2020.
According to Obasanjo, he was spared by God “purposely to serve Him and humanity more and more.”
The former president also asked Nigerians who survived COVID-19 and witnessed the New Year to thank God for His mercies.
Obasanjo, who is the Asiwaju Onigbagbo of Ogun State, spoke at the second annual thanksgiving service of the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, the state capital.
Obasanjo, who spoke as a host at the event, said he survived the outgone year not because he was more righteous or cleverer than any of those killed by the pandemic.
He said it dawned on him clearer that God purposely kept him alive to serve Him and humanity more and more.
He said, “It is our duty to give thanks to God. You will be the most ungrateful person if you do not perform the duty of giving thanks to God. In all circumstances, give thanks. Therefore, if you fail to give thanks, you are failing a very significant duty of yours as a Christian.
“Last year was a very challenging year, not only for us in Nigeria, not only for us in Africa, but for the whole world.
“The fact that you are alive calls for thanksgiving to God. It doesn’t matter which way you look at it, that those who you knew as a result of COVID-19 are no more here with us, not because you are better than they are, or more knowledgeable than they are, it’s just by the grace of God.
“And if God gives you that grace to still remain on earth, maybe it’s for a purpose and I believe a part of the purpose is for you to continue to serve humanity and to serve God. You cannot be a servant of God if you cannot give thanks to Him.”
Earlier in his welcome address, the CAN chairman in the state, Bishop Akin Akinsanya, described 2020 as the year of “lockdowns, nose masks and sanitisers.”
He explained that the thanksgiving service, which had become an annual event, was designed to honour Obasanjo as the Asiwaju Onigbagbo of Ogun State.
He urged Christians to show gratitude for surviving COVID-19 pandemic last year.
He said the Christian community decided to honour Obasanjo with the title, ‘Asiwaju Onigbagbo of Ogun State,’ when he clocked 80 for his contributions to the Christian faith at the national level when he was the president.
Earlier in his sermon, the National Vice-President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Bishop Reuben Olu-Oke, admonished Nigerians to emulate the former president.
He said Obasanjo never ceased to praise God all the time.
Dignitaries at the event include the Olubara of Ibara, Oba Jacob Omolade; the Iyalode of Yorubaland, Chief Mrs Alaba Lawson; and clerics in the state and beyond.