REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, ON THE OCCASION OF THE INTER-DENOMINATIONAL CHURCH SERVICE FOR THE ARMED FORCES REMEMBRANCE DAY CELEBRATION HELD AT THE NATIONAL CHRISTIAN CENTRE ABUJA ON SUNDAY 8 JANUARY 2017
Soldiers of Christ
Soldiers occupy a special place in the gospel of Je- sus Christ. The military profession is the only profes- sion to which Saints are compared. The only profes- sion to which the body of Christ is compared.
The body of Christ is not compared with doctors, businessmen, bankers, etc. I am a lawyer and I know what the scripture says about lawyers.
In 2 Timothy 2:3-4 the Scriptures says to Christian's
“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” In Philippi- ans 2:25 Paul praised Epaphroditus as a fellow soldier.
There are two reasons why followers of Jesus Christ are described as soldiers.
The first are the attributes that soldiers have: Unity, Loyalty, Discipline, and the most important being the willingness to make the ultimate sac- rifice for country. Jesus speaking of Himself said In John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.”
The second reason why Christians are described in the gospel as sol- diers is the recognition that life itself is warfare. That life is a war. It is a battle between good and evil, light and darkness.
But it is only a fool that does not know that the physical is determined by the spiritual.
That every physical war has an underlying spiritual foundation. So as we fight the physical battles we recognize that really we “do not wres- tle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
And so today as we celebrate our fallen heroes we do so with wisdom of the Scriptures.
First, that the physical battles they fought for Freedom, Justice and re- cently against terrorism and hate are battles fought to ensure that good would prevail over evil. That they fought to ensure that light would prevail over darkness.
The victorious fight of our Military against the evil ideology of Boko Haram is evidence of the ascendancy of good over evil. Our men and women of the Armed Forces have in the past few years battled an ideology that supports the killing of children on their beds, and the rape and abduction of women. Many of our men of the forces died in the North-East. At some point, this evil had taken over 14 local gov- ernments. But men whose wives are now widows and children father- less, gave their lives to take back those territories.
Secondly, as we remember our departed military heroes, we also cel- ebrate the attribute of brotherhood and unity that the military has demonstrated in the history of our country. Against Boko Haram, they stood side-by-side Christians , Muslims and other faiths. They stood and still stand united from the NorthEast, SouthEast, NorthWest, SouthWest, North Central, and South South.
They are today mobilizing in Southern Kaduna, Christians, Muslims, and from every tribe and tongue in Nigeria to defeat hate, intolerance and terrorism. They are prepared to lay down their lives to prove that our country belongs to all regardless of religion or ethnicity. That when any Nigerian is killed, it is evil that has prevailed. It is darkness that has won.
Mr President and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, said and I paraphrase him:
“The military I joined never recognized tribe or religion. We fought side by side. Muslims, Christians, and from every ethnic group.”
On another occasion, he said “we must not be deceived by those who kill in the name of religion. No religion teaches the killing of the inno- cent or any one for that matter.”
He concluded by saying that anyone who kills another and then says "God is great" is either insane or simply does not understand what he is saying.
Today we also celebrate the wives, husbands, children that our fallen heroes have left behind. Your husbands, wives, brothers or sisters are true heroes. Your loss, your pains and deprivations are ours as well.
We are committed to ensuring that as Olatayo Lola Emmanuel, who read that moving poem said, our fallen heroes, especially their dreams for their children will never be forgotten.
Thank you, and God bless Nigeria.