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Aregbesola, Great Supporter Of The Church - Pope's Envoy......As Gov. Says Love The Most Supreme Commandment Of All Religions

By Semiu Okanlawon
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The Catholic Church on Wednesday described Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun as a major pillar of support of the church just as the church said it does not promote or support violence of any form.

This was just as the Governor Aregbesola said his government has no ill-feeling against any sect or religion, noting that religion is an instrument of developing capacity for love, instrument for refinement and testing the human will to resist provocations.

Both spoke when the representatives of the Pope and Ambassador of the Vatican Most Reverend Augustine Kashuja led other Bishops of the church to pay a courtesy call on him at the Government House on Wednesday.

The visit was ahead of the ordination of a new Bishop for the Osogbo Dioceses of the Catholic Church.

The Papal envoy said there is no face-off between the Christians since the governor assumed office five years ago because of the role dialogue plays in the relationship between the church and the state.

According to him, whenever things wants to go awry, the Church always dialogue with government rather than make noise or stoke fire of crisis.

He affirmed the centrality of discussion when there is an impending crisis, saying to enthrone peace, the Church could dialogue for a whole year.

Kashuja said: "Mr. Governor, I am delighted for your exceptional and warm reception. You are a great supporter of the church. You are friendly and cordial with the Church.

"There has not been any face-off since you resumed office because we engage in dialogue a lot. When things go wrong, we dialogue. We don't make noise. And I assure you that we shall continue to dialogue.

"We have no room for violence: we could dialogue for years. When some people raise dust of crisis, we keep quiet and dialogue.

"Your posture has assured me that the process of dialogue in religious matters that was started by the Church will continue for the purpose of progress and development of humanity."

While commending the Papal Ambassador and the entire Catholic delegate, Aregbesola said, if religion fails a particular people, we must find out the problem of the adherents of such faith if truly they are actually practising a religion.

According to him, all religions make love the central theme upon which their faiths rest squarely.

He affirmed that all religions have the same goal but the mode of expressing their faith and method of achieving Godhead is the mode of departure.

Aregbesola lamented that he sometimes get disturbed when people fight or kill in the name of religion, saying no religion preaches violence.

"Your visit today will send signal to the whole world that this government has no ill-feeling against any sect or religion. In fact, religion is an instrument of developing capacity for love; instrument of refinement of human being and an instrument testing our will to resist provocation.

"If religion fails, we must ask the adherent of that faith if they are practising religion. All religions make love a central theme of their faith. The cardinal focus of all religions is love.

"Difference only occurs or exists in the methodology of attaining Godhead. But as to how we must express our behaviours in faith in relation to others and colleagues, there is no difference as to the need for love and compassion.

"So, I get disturbed when people kill unabashedly in the name of religion. I wonder why we hate ourselves when religions preach the opposite. Religion means love, compassion and accommodation. There is nothing other than these three. And of these three fundamental concepts, love is the most supreme."

Aregbesola pledged his administration's support to the Catholic and entire Church, promising that government will continue to work with leadership of the church, members as well other Christian bodies so as to bring about peaceful state where people will go about their religious, social and cultural activities without molestation.

He added that government exists for the citizenry to have life of freedom, comfort and good living conditions, nothing that the Catholic church in particular is supportive of his government since inception.

In his remark, Professor Olu Aina, of the Osun Development Association (ODA) who had been involved in the dialogue between the Muslims and Christian groups in the state over the hijab issue, said the furore on ijab had been resolved amicably.

He added that there are more worthy things that unite the people of the state than the issue as trivial as dress code.

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