Let’s be concerned about the poor, Wole Olanipekun tells leaders, wealthy Nigerians
* Begins ultra-modern church building in home town
Renowned lawyer and ex-President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), has urged wealthy Nigerians and leaders to be concerned about the plight of the under privileged, saying they should stop being: ” self centred, self opinionated, narrow minded, and so restrictive in reasoning.”
Olanipekun who didn’t spare himself as part of the wealthy Nigerians guilty of neglecting the poor, also urged politicians and leaders to alleviate poverty by providing good governance and employment to the teeming population of unemployed Nigerians.He also urged government at all levels to pay the new minimum wage of N56,000 being canvassed by the Nigerian Labour Congress ( NLC).
The senior lawyer made the remarks among others recently, while laying the foundation for the building of a new church building of the Saint Peters Church in Ikere, his hometown.
Speaking about the inspiration behind building the church, “this church premises has an historic significance, it has been over 100 years this church has been here. This is where God wants the new Saint Peters Church building which foundation was laid in 1958.
“The church would contain 1600 people when completed. It is Saint Peters church not my father’s church. No one can take God glory. God is the one building His church, it is not me. No one is perfect except God. We are doing this in God’s name.
“This will not be an abandoned project. All that we are using to start the work on it are on ground. By God’s grace, all of you our men of God and the monarch, Ogoga of Ikere, Oba Samuel Adu Alagbado, who have witnessed the laying or foundation, we will all witness the church’s commission in 2019 or 2020.”I am of the third generation in this church. My father’s mother was part of those who built this church with others. His elder brother was a secretary here for 23 years. My own father served the church, swept the floor, planted flowers and cut grasses of the church for 17 years without collecting a dime as salary. So, we have met this legacy at home.
I urge our people outside the state to let us come home and develop our home. This is because there is no place like home, ” he said. Olanipekun who also commented on the debate about worship centres paying tax, said: “The matter is neither here nor there. Christians see Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith, when they were tempting him about tax, he said give unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar.
“Let me talk as a lawyer, places of worship are institutions devoted to charity. All over the world. They are exempted from paying tax all over the world. This is because places of worship like the church, mosque are not expected to be profit-making ventures. To that extent, I don’t t agree with those proposing churches to pay tax. But when churches go into profit making businesses, they should pay tax on the venture. If the profit from such venture is diverted to part of church’s building offering, that is fraud and God frowns at it.”
Urging leaders to alleviate poverty, he said: “My greatest worry about Nigeria is that government at various level are lukewarm about unemployment. It is my worry and this worry is genuine. Thousands are graduating every year, when we are churning out these graduates, as a pro chancellor of a university, I am saddened that years back during our own time, jobs were waiting for us as we leave school but today, you don’t find such Job many years after graduation.
“Unemployment is a scourge more painful than corruption, in fact, it is more painful because unemployment festers corruption.
I agree with the NLC on its demand for the new minimum wage. No government in this country should pay less than that. Government at all level must take the issue of unemployment very seriously.”
On politics and the insincerity of politicians, he said: ” We play politics not of ideas, not of issues but of abuse, propaganda at all levels and irrespective of any political parties at the expense of our own people. I see myself as an elder, and one committed to our survival and the good if this country. If Nigeria was not.
“Successful Nigerians are self centred, self opinionated, narrow minded, we are so restrictive in reasoning, we want our own children to survive but we don’t want an army of other Nigerian’s children to succeed. This is why poverty thrives here.
You alleviate poverty by giving good governance, by stop stealing, by giving employment, by not snatching ballot boxes, the ballot boxes should be seen as a sacred box, don’t touch you must respect it. It is a collective co science of all of us. It is a corporate surrender of all of us and it is sacred. Don’t buy election or give money to buy voters to your side.”Woe betide those who loot the treasury but looting can be prevented with adequate government policies and good governance. By bad governance we are encouraging g looting.”