It is with deep sense of humility that I stand before you today. Indeed, I am deeply honoured to be part of this occasion being the 103″ convocation of this foremost theological seminary.

Let me stress here that this is not the first time I am being offered such an honorary degree or chieftaincy title for that matter. Most times, I have always declined such offers.

On April 19, this year, however, accepted an offer of an honourary Doctor of Science Degree in Public Administration by the Federal University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State. Indeed, I accepted that award after I had convinced myself that it has no political or economic undertone.

However, when I received the notification of this offer, it was difficult for me to resist an offer from God through His representatives in this regard. Much as I was humbled by that epochal event of April 19, I am even more humbled by today’s award of a Doctor of Divinity Degree. I do not know the yardsticks the authorities of this revered institution used to select the awardees, but being an institution that has for over one century taught, preached and practised holiness, fairness and sundry virtues of the Most High God, I have no doubt in my mind that they were guided by the Spirit and wisdom of God.

My brothers and sisters, I must stress here that because this honour is coming from the house of God, especially a house where Godly virtues are espoused and propagated, it has placed enormous responsibilities on me and other recipients being honoured today. 

But let me quickly note that this responsibility is also my joy. I am happy I am being honoured by the people of God in the house of God. I am happy because I am a full citizen of the kingdom of God. I belong to God’s family. I know this God. He knows me. I know his son, Jesus Christ, who is the author and finisher of our faith and the foundation of our salvation. He knows me too. In Jesus Christ I believe, in Him I live.

That is why I am so excited by this award because it is coming from members of my family, God’s family. Yes, it is true we all went to school. It is true that we have at one time or the other been honoured with various awards in our secular lives. But to me, the greatest honour, the greatest award is the one from the house of God.

In all my life, I have come to the inevitable reality that God is the ultimate arbiter and ruler of the affairs of men and nations. By benefit of history, we have heard and read how God exalted the humble, the meek and the weak even as he humbled the proud and self-acclaimed giants among men and nations.

We have also heard and read – and now we believe – that no man, no nation that runs to God for refuge ever remained the same. When David confronted Goliath, the Philistine giant, he did so from a position of physical inferiority. But because the Spirit of God was upon him, he overcame the giant. The same thing applies to nations. Israel, a small country in terms of population and landmass, has been to war countless times. Yet in all its warring, Israel has remained undefeated.

It is in this wise that I urge Nigerians as a people and Nigeria as a nation to return to God. We must collectively and individually seek His forgiveness, wisdom and guidance. I have no doubt that if we do so genuinely with all our hearts, he will heal our land according to His promise.

As for me. I have encountered God; He has manifested His Almightiness in my life. I want to especially seize this opportunity to appeal to those who say there is no God to take a critical look at the things around them. Indeed, there is God. The evidence that He exists abound around us. I am, particularly, a living proof of the existence of God. I am a testimony to the fact that God exalts the meek and humbles the proud.

To those who really know my background, it will still be a puzzle that I have in no time become the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. To such people, it is even a miracle that I became a Senator in the first place. In my Senatorial Zone – Ebonyi South – I hail from one of the smallest communities and therefore from the minority. I did not have the experience as a politician. I did not have the money to influence votes. But because I had a clear revelation from God where I became a Senator, I had to take a step of faith.

That faith, that belief in the power of God has placed me where I am today. Much more, my brothers and sisters, the same God in His wisdom has guided me and sustained me as Chairman of the National Assembly and President of the Senate. I have taken time to recount my experience and personal relationship with God because the Bible tells me that with our testimony, the word of God and Blood of the Lamb, we shall overcome the enemy.

I firmly and strongly believe that there is hope for Nigeria and for democracy. But that hope can only be guaranteed when we return to God and trust Him and only Him to lead and direct us. In the Senate, I have been applying the wisdom and virtue of God to run the affairs of the nation’s upper legislative chamber. Such celestial wisdom has helped me to live a life of low estate and relate properly with my colleagues including those who are in the opposition.

Much more, I must stress here and now that with the wisdom and fear of God, I have within the past 21 months as Senate President operated an open door Senate, maintained a high degree of fiscal and moral rectitude and above all, I have treated every member of the National Assembly as my brother and sister, according due respect to one and all. 

Today, I can look back very solemnly and declare that I am proud of what God has helped me to achieve in the Senate. That is why I am not afraid to be subjected to any probe whatsoever. In fact, this is what gives me joy – that at any point in time, I can boldly and willingly give account of my stewardship. In deed, God has been good and faithful to me and I will forever return the Glory to Him for my success.

I have no doubt in my mind that Nigeria is a praying nation. In churches, in mosques and in our homes, prayers are fervently and consistently being offered. This, of a truth, is the challenge before us. We must pray and keep on praying. The clergy should pray for the congregation, the leaders and the nation. Let the congregation and the leaders pray also for both the clergy and the nation. Let us pray for one another. This is my message to the nation.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I want to seize this opportunity to thank the President and Faculty members of this institution for honouring me with this award. May I also extend my congratulations to fellow awardees and the entire crop of graduands who have toiled night and day to earn their degrees. I congratulate you all.

Thank you and God bless.