Nigeria's speaker, Mr. Yakabu Dogara worships at Aso Rock Chapel in Abuja on Fathers' Day on Sunday, June 19, 2016 | Gov't Photo

The speaker of Nigeria’s house of representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, in his Fathers’ Day address urged Nigerian leaders to play a fatherly role in governing the affairs of the country by providing qualitative leadership.

In a statement issued by Turaki Hassan, the speaker’s spokesperson, Dogara made the call on Sunday, June 19, 2016 during the Fathers’ Day service at the Aso Villa chapel, where he represented the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.

The service, which was presided over by the chaplain, Pastor Seyi Malomo, had a special segment during which children appreciated fathers, and the speaker was presented with gifts of indigenous artworks from the chapel for the president, the vice president, the senate president and for himself.

Nigeria's speaker, Mr. Yakabu Dogara worships at Aso Rock Chapel in Abuja on Fathers' Day on Sunday, June 19, 2016 | Gov't Photo
Nigeria’s speaker, Mr. Yakabu Dogara worships at Aso Rock Chapel in Abuja on Fathers’ Day on Sunday, June 19, 2016 | Gov’t Photo

Speaking on the importance of fathers, Dogara said, “The word ‘father’, in the Bible, stems from the word ‘Abba’, which means sustainer. That is what a father is. As the sustainer, the father is then the foundation and the root of the family, and no matter how beautiful a building is, it is not defined by the colour but by the strength of its foundation.

“When God created man, He said: ‘be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth’ and in other versions, it says to dominate. The family institution is the way through which this mandate to have dominion over the earth can be achieved and as long as the family unit is disorganised, there is no way humanity can exercise the dominion that God has given us, and that is why it is important that we honour our fathers as they are the foundation of the family institution.”

The speaker further stated that the Bible lays emphasis on honouring and obeying parents, explaining that the commandment about honouring parents was the first to have a condition attached. “I guess that is the importance of this day and whoever instituted this day, I believe, did so in line with the commandment of God which says to honour our parents.

“As the chaplain said, what do you do with fathers who are abusive, those who are never there and those who abdicate their responsibilities? We should honour them whether they deserve it or not, as God’s word is eternal and will never change.

“In such situations, the most important thing is forgiveness and if you haven’t learned how to forgive, then you have not taken the first step in Christianity. When we say the Lord’s prayer, we ask God to forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us, and this includes those categories of fathers.”

Dogara also urged Nigerian fathers to live in accordance with God’s commandments, saying, “When you honour God as a father – praise Him and live by his dictates – that moves God to make you a father of nations like he said and did to Abraham.”

He concluded his address by stating that leaders are the fathers of the nation, and should play their role by providing qualitative leadership and providing strong foundations.

Pastor Malomo, in his address, urged fathers to be more steadfast and to strive harder in raising children in accordance with God’s directives. The service ended with Dogara praying with the children of the chapel.

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