REFLECTION AT THE THANKSGIVING MASS OF SIR JOHNSON JIMOH’S 60TH BIRTHDAY AND
RETIREMENT FROM PUBLIC SERVICE @ CHRIST THE KING CATHOLIC CHURCH KUBWA ABUJA ON SATURDAY 21ST OF NOVEMBER 2020
As I reflect on today’s celebration, two psalms came to my mind. Psalm 115:1, which says
“Not to us not to us but to your name give the glory.”
“How can I repay the Lord for his goodness to me? I will raise up the cup of Salvation and I will call on God’s name”
Sir Johnson Jimoh like the author of the Acts of the Apostles lives in the consciousness that in God he lives and moves and has his being (Acts17:28). He also lives and operates with the full realization that all he has is gift from God and thus he has no reason to be conceited or boastful (1Cor:4:7).
The realization that he is just a steward of God’s gratuitous gifts, account for his extreme kindheartedness and generosity that is sometimes abused and exploited by some unscrupulous people.
His faithful stewardship and his humility is responsible for his enviable accomplishments in his professional, spiritual, community and social life. This resonates with Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 25:21 which says, “Welldone, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Verse 29 of the same chapter says, “for everyone who has will be given more and he will have more in abundance.
Because Senior JayJay is humble that is why God has exalted him, as evident in the various positions of honour in which he has served during these many years. He was a one time national president of Kabba Students Union during which he successfully organized a summer program for High School students within and outside the town. It was a great help for those of us who were students then. With the help of the summer program, we witnessed a remarkable difference between the GCE results of those who attended the program that year and those who did not. May God bless and reward all of you who organised the program and may God grant eternal rest to those who have died. Amen.
Sir Johnson Jimoh is a community leader; a deputy Grand Knight of Knight of St. Mulumba and he is of the fourth degree the highest attainable rank of the Order. He is this the current president of Owe Community in Abuja and under his tenure, series of community projects and services have been executed. He is a potential President General of Kabba Development Union in waiting as he is already well equipped for the position.
Sir Johnson Jimoh’s philosophy of life is, “to who much is given much is expected” thus he throws himself wholeheartedly into any responsibility he is given. He reached the zenith of his civil service career as a director to the glory of God and served without blemish in a service that is so slippery. Although Sir Johnson may not have been born great, he is among those who achieved the greatest! His greatness is by God’s grace and hardwork.
I sometimes wonder how he is able to cope with the demands by all and sundry. I can testify that Sir Johnson Jimoh answers several telephone calls, replies all text messages, and returns all missed calls. Hardly will he turn away anyone who ask him for assistance. This is not because he is rich or wealthy but because in the words of Rukhasana Gallarin, “I learn to give not because I have many but because I know exactly how it feels to have nothing.” I can confidently testify to the fact that Johnson knows exactly how it feels to have nothing. Sometimes around 1976, I was in primary 4 or there about, that was the era of Universal Primary Education introduced by General Olusegun Obasanjo. The program was to make primary school education affordable, compulsory, and accessible to every Nigerian child thus there was massive construction of school buildings and opening of new ones. Johnson’s father, Obawato, being a bricklayer and a subcontractor that handled some of the buildings especially in St. Mary’s primary school Kabba, had to pull out young Johnson, a form two student who already had mastery of bricklaying to help with the site work for that was the only way he could have his school fees paid. I remember like yesterday too, how they were forced as a family to move into their uncompleted family house because of incessant increase in house rent that was quite unaffordable for some families as is still the case today for many families in Nigeria.
Many of us lived in the reality of those early stage of inconveniences. Thank God for where the Jimohs are today from those humble beginnings.
Johnson’s faith is rooted in 2Cor9:6-8, which says, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” Verse 7, “for God loves a cheerful giver.” Thus, Johnson gives bountifully and cheerfully. Little wonder he is a living testimony of verses 8 and 9. Thus God has made all graces abound to him and having sufficiency in all things at all times, he is abounding in good work and because he has distributed freely and has given to the poor, his righteousness will endure forever.
Sir Johnson Jimoh, because of your generosity to the poor and the needy, the words of God in verse 10 of 2Cor.9 which says, “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seeds for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” Verse 11. You will be enriched in everyway so as to be generous in everyway. (Amen)
It is the consciousness that all that I have said about Johnson Jimoh is not of his own making but the deeds of the Lord that made the first Psalm relevant. Thus, it is not to Johnson that the glory belongs but to God the giver of every good gift.
The consciousness of the manifold gifts of God, his successful retirement from public service, and the attainment of three scores that our brother and friend has called us together here this afternoon and hereafter to help him answer the question raised by the second Psalm that came to me which is Psalm 115 that says, “How can I repay the Lord for his goodness to me?”
We are here to help Johnson raise the Cup of Salvation which is what Catholics do at every Mass or Eucharistic celebration. The Mass is thus the fount and the summit of our liturgical celebrations and the highest, the greatest act and form of prayer because therein Christ is the Priest, the Altar, the Victim and the Sacrifice offered at every Mass. Thus we exclaim through him, with him, and in him. This is a distinctive characteristic of Catholic worship that is absent in other denominations or sects. It is a holy encounter with Jesus Christ himself like no other. At Catholic Masses, we do not commemorate the last supper but we reenact the event of the institution of the priesthood, the Holy Eucharist and the event of the Good Friday.
At every Mass it is Christ that is the Chief Priest as the priests are only mere mortal and unworthy representatives of Christ. The Mass is one place where Christ awaits us to bring all our struggles and aspirations to him. At Mass, Christ our friend and brother invites us to come to him especially those of us who are heavy laden or over burdened. No one comes to Mass and goes home the same way he came. May we encounter Christ at this Holy Mass in such a way that 21st of November will be remembered as a day of life transforming experience for each one of us.
Johnson Jimoh knows and appreciates the efficacy of the Holy Mass, thus he begins his days with participation at daily Masses except when it is practically impossible for him to do so. Thus, it is proper and fitting to join Johnson at this Holy Mystery as he fulfils his vow to the Lord before all his people. Let us accompany him to make a thanksgiving Sacrifice to the Lord by our devotion, attentive and active participation at this celebration.
Dear brothers and sisters, and friends, thank you all for all the support and friendship that enabled Johnson to realize his potentials over these.
His magnanimity, humility, simplicity, dedication to duty, and love God and his church should be a source of inspiration to us all and wake us from our slumber.
Let us remember that what is truly ours is not what we are hoarding but what we have the capacity to give out. Let us remember that giving is not a gift until it hurts. What you give out of your convenience is not a gift but what you give with great sacrifice.
Sir Johnson Jimoh remember you are not getting younger. I pray you live to a ripe old age but remember that our life span is seventy years and eighty for those who are strong. I know that longevity runs in your gene but you need to slow down with the things of youthful years. Spend more time with your immediate family and get even nearer to your Saviour. Remember that as we get older, “Our main goal in life must not be happiness but Godliness; not reputation, but character; not wealth but virtue; not fame but faith; not the approval of men but of our Creator” Fr. Jerry Orbos.
Thank you for taking good care of my sister, your wife. Thank you for bringing out the best in her and those related to her. Thank you for your generosity to the work of God and to his priests. Thank you for your service to Owe community.
Thank you, Josephine, my big sister and your kids for allowing uncle Johnson to soar so freely. Thank you for holding forth. Thank you for your endurance, tolerance and for accommodating all his different shades of friends. Thank you for being a loving, caring and forgiving wife. May you together see your children’s children and live to a ripe old age together.
I commit your family to the maternal care of Our Mother and Queen, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Sir Johnson Jimoh, I wish you once again, a very happy 60th birthday and a happy and fulfilled life in retirement.
May the Lord bless and keep you. May his face shine on you and be gracious to you. May he look upon you with kindness, forgive you your sins and grant you the desires of your heart.
Peace be with you in Jesus name!