Prof. Jerry and Mrs Lucy Gana, during a thanksgiving service at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, Maitama, Abuja, to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary

Respect helps marriages grow, cleric tells couples

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By Emmanuel Afonne

Venerable Tiwatope Elias-Fatile, the Vicar of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, Maitama, Abuja, has advised couples to always show respect to each other to enable them to stay in peace always.

Elias-Fatile gave the advice in a homily at a Thanksgiving Service to mark the 50th wedding anniversary of Prof. Jerry Gana and his wife, Lucy.

Gana was a Minister of Information and a former presidential aspirant in the build up to the 2023 general election.

He said that many marriages collapsed because the husband and the wife failed to respect each other.

“Husband and wife must respect each other; there is no marriage without challenges, but how you navigate those challenges determines how it survives.”

The cleric said that the celebrants had survived their challenges because of the strategy of “respect” for each other.

Elias-Fatile went down memory lane to narrate how Prof. Gana met his wife and urged Nigerians to always put God first in all they do including marriages.

“Their family is an enviable Christian home, worthy of emulation; they are best of friends and respects each other,” he added.

Former Military Head of State, retired Gen. Yakubu Gowon, described the couple as “excellent match.’’

Gowon said that the couple had been good in whatever they did.

“And that means that couples should emulate them and do excellently in whatever they do,” Gowon said.

Dr Ike Neliaku, who is a friend to celebrants, said that the love between the couple was exceptional, as there had not been any scandal whatsoever in the 50 years of their marriage.

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“It is remarkable for someone to be married for 50 years without issues and no scandal; it demonstrates the character of the man and the wife; this is the model of what marriage should be.

“It means that we still have men and women of honour who understands marriage as a sacred institution that should be held very strongly.

“It is very important for men to marry their wives, likewise for women to marry their husbands; you don’t just see anybody and because of one minute love, you declare yourselves compatible as husband and wife.

“It is not always easy for any man who has not married his wife; it is important for young people to be sure before they take that leap.

“This is where counsel and guidance from those who are experienced come in handy, and more importantly, you cannot have a successful marriage outside of God. God is central to every successful marriage,” he said.

Neliaku, who is the President of Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), also advised couples, especially the young ones, to always respect each other rather than adopting tolerance.

“When you tolerate someone, it means you’re managing, but when it is respect, there is something deep in you that will make you to respect that person,” he said.

In his remarks, Gana described his wife as an embodiment of beauty and respect.

According to Gana, his wife is gentle, kind and forgiving.

“If she has not been forgiving me, this marriage would have been ruined long time ago, but she is so gracious, loving, kind, gentle and forgiving.

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“She is also a prayer warrior. She prays for me always so that I will succeed; she is always praying for me and the children and God answers her prayers.

“That is why I appreciate her tremendously and if I am to marry a thousand times again, I will marry this lady.’’

He urged young couples to be patient with one another to make their marriages last long.

“The young people are too impatient; before you know it, they are going for divorce.

“This is our 50 years; and gives us another 50 years, we will still be happy together because we are patient.

“Every little thing the young people want to scatter their marriage; life is not like that; again, tomorrow is greater, so don’t ruin your today because tomorrow is greater,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that former Governor of Adamawa, Mr Boni Haruna, and some lawmakers were among dignitaries, family and friends that graced the occasion. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Chijioke Okoronkwo

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