Honorary Vice President, IMANI-Africa, Bright Simons has brought some perspective to the subject of the National Cathedral construction in Ghana with regards to how a similar project was executed in neighbouring Nigeria.
Speaking on Newsfile on Saturday, June 18, 2022, Bright Simons explained that Nigeria began the construction of a building that they intended to serve as a national location for churches in the country in 1989.
This building, he explained, was a project decided on by all churches in the country who decided by consensus to contribute resources to ensure its completion.
The only point at which government was involved was when it was decided that then-President, Olusegun Obasanjo would front the project as a national treasurer as a means of mobilizing resources from the churches.
In this capacity, H.E Obasanjo did not touch any funds from the state coffers, Bright Simons explained. Instead, the churches mobilized resources to the tune of 3 billion Naira, an equivalent of some 30 million dollars for the purpose of the construction.
“So if you go to Nigeria and see the so-called national church, it was not built by or funded by the state. In fact, from 1989 to 2004, it languished because they could not find the money and then the government decided that it will put some impetus behind it by the president of the country becoming the national treasurer as a means of mobilization.
“Then the Christian denominations mobilized resources to the tune of 3 billion Naira which today is less than 30 million dollars to build that beautiful edifice you see in Abuja by 2005.
“The government didn’t put a single cent in it,” he emphasized.
Mr. Simons further indicated that Nigeria’s edifice is called a National Ecumenical Center and not a cathedral because it serves as a place where all churches gather for national events.
“It’s also not a cathedral but an ecumenical center or interdenominational center so this is a very important lesson,” he further noted on Newsfile.
Bright Simons made these comments on the back of the ongoing debate about the construction of a National Cathedral.
Many have opposed the construction of the building which is being done in line with a promise by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to construct a House for God if he won the 2016 elections.
The government has been criticized for using some monies from the state coffers as seed money for the construction of the cathedral.