Nigeria’s Christian, political leaders celebrate fathers' contribution to nation’s religious, socio-political, economic life

By Obed Minchakpu |
Nigeria President Tinubu
Christian leaders as well as political representatives, including Nigerian President Tinubu - here speaking on Democracy Day on June 12 - recognized the role that fathers play in families and society at large. | YouTube Screenshot / TVC News Nigeria

As the world celebrated Father’s Day on June 16, Nigeria’s Christian and other leaders also joined the celebrations by highlighting the sacrifices and achievements of fathers in the country’s religious, socio-political, and economic development.

Messages to Nigerian fathers were sent by Christian leaders as well as the country’s political leadership, including President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, members of parliament, and governors.

Rev. Dr. Isaac Nwaobia, an Archbishop of the Church of Nigeria from the Anglican Communion commemorated Father's Day saying, “Fathers' unwavering commitment to their families serves as an inspiration, reminding us of the power of fatherly devotion.”

Referencing Genesis Chapter 4, he warned that “when we ignore or neglect the needs of others, we create a society where suffering and injustice prevail. Failing to fulfill our responsibility as ‘brothers’ keeper’ can have devastating consequences.

“We, therefore, have a moral and ethical obligation to care for and protect those around us, especially our families, loved ones and members of the household of faith.”

Nwaobia called on Nigerians to be inspired by the sacrifices made by Nigerian men who are fathers, and push for the development of the country and humanity,

“May we honour their sacrifices, cherish their wisdom and strive to emulate their example of steadfast love and character.

“Let us also remember those who have lost their fathers or who may be estranged from their paternal relationships, and offer them our heartfelt compassion.

“As we celebrate the fathers in our lives, let us also acknowledge the profound impact that positive male role models can have on the lives of children, both within and beyond the family unit.

“May this day inspire us to support and uplift fathers in our churches and communities, fostering an environment where they can thrive and pass on their invaluable gifts to the next generations.

“May the blessings of this day fill the hearts of all fathers, and may the love and respect we show them, today, be a testament to the indelible mark they leave on our lives,” Nwaobia said.

In a similar message shared at one of the parishes in Abuja earlier in the month of May 2024, the Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, an Archbishop of the Catholic Church in Nigeria, urged all fathers to remain steadfast in providing exemplary leadership to their families.

During his homily on Sunday, 12 May, 2024, Kaigama said, “fathers, …must be strong pillars in the home.” He explained that Father’s Day is celebrated across the globe to recognize the contribution that fathers and father figures make to the lives of their children.

A Christian Governor in southern Nigeria, Pastor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State, thanked God “for being our ever-present Father, guiding and directing our affairs; showing us His love, grace and mercies, especially in times of need.

“To those wonderful and resourceful fathers all over the state who have raised solid children, bracing and confronting challenges in order to keep the family unit intact, we salute you.

“To the women who through no fault of theirs today, are playing so wonderfully and admirably, the role of fathers, the single mothers and widows, we commend you.

He then quoted the Bible from Luke 15:20 (King James Version) “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.”

“Fathers see afar off and even when we offend or veer off the course of life they had charted for us, they are always there to right the wrongs with love, compassion and gentle nudging,” Eno said.

Nigeria’s President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, also used the opportunity of Father's Day to acknowledge the significance of fatherhood and contributions of fathers to the family and the society.

A statement released on Sunday, 16 June, said, “fathers, including paternal figures, have shaped the nation’s destiny with their sacrifices.”

“The president states that Father’s Day is significant for its purpose as a day set apart to honour all fathers – living, deceased and paternal figures.

“President Tinubu affirms that society is in better stead with fathers who rise to the great demand of responsibility, guiding the children through the vagaries of existence and preparing them for the future.

“The president salutes all fathers, the sung and the unsung, who brave the toil of the day and the soreness of the night to provide for their families, describing them as true heroes.

“President Tinubu urges fathers to stay true to their bounden commitment of positively shaping the destinies of those to whom the future belongs."

Benjamin Okezie Kalu, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nigeria’s National parliament, eulogized fathers for their dexterity in the face of economic distress in the country.

“Father’s Day is a special occasion that brings families together to honour and celebrate the incredible men who have played a significant role in our lives. Whether they are fathers, grandfathers, stepdads, father figures, mentors, role models or protectors, this day is dedicated to recognising their love, support, and guidance,” he said.

“The parliament is committed to ensuring reforms and interventions that will continue to bring about more economic opportunities so that fathers can meet up to their responsibilities, leading families that build communities and the nation.

“To all fathers, I celebrate you today. May you continue to stand firm as strong pillars of society and continually be strengthened in this sacred role.”