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For Akwa Ibom, full tanks of blessings from above

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For his victory in the governorship elections; for his victories in 18 court cases, three of them at the Supreme Court of Nigeria; and for his vindication from lies by political enemies who defamed his name, smeared and assassinated his character, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Umo Eno, along with his entire administration and the victorious Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) family, held a joyful thanksgivings service to God, on Sunday, in the famous grounds of Ibom, Uyo.

It was a day of singing, dancing and jubilation by a large crowd of grateful PDP faithfuls in the state. Not even the predictable June rainfall in the state could deter or distract the determined supporters of the party from worshipping, praising and thanking God for the transparent and landslide victory in the last elections. “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men”, the Governor read from the first nine verses of Psalms 107, which was the only Bible reading of the occasion.

But when he returned to the rostrum for the thanksgiving proper, he reeled out other Bible passages with the ease of a senior pastor and church founder that he is. “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side…when men rose up against us: Then they would have swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: Then their waters would have overwhelmed us, their stream would have gone over our soul: Then their proud waters would have gone over our soul. (But) Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth”. This was followed with a song with the same lyrics as worshippers yelled, sang and screamed to high heavens.

Feeling at home, the governor spoke with candour and gratitude about his political travails in the hands of his traducers. “(From Day One), when we were unveiled (as governorship aspirant), we saw trouble. People rose up. For someone who had never had a court case in my life, I was suddenly confronted with multiple court cases. By the last count, we have appeared in 18 court cases. But God delivered us, and God will continue to deliver us. We thank God who saw us throughout the campaigns peacefully…in 31 Local Government Areas…We thank God for people he raised to work for us…and we thank God as well for those who worked against us because without them we would not have taken our mission seriously…”

Turning attention to governance, he called for synergy among Akwa Ibom people to make the state the part of Nigeria that is working. “Politics is over. We need to come together to harvest the dividend of democracy…We have had enough of tearing ourselves apart… Let us come back together. Akwa Ibom is big enough for all of … Let us drop our weapons of war. Let us beat those weapons into ploughshares for abundant food production for our people”. As a pastor and governor, he said he is all out for the good of all people of the state wherever they are found. “I come as a priest and I come as a king. The two roles shall be interwoven and interchangeable as I govern Akwa Ibom State with godly influence”.

Earlier, Archbishop Idem Ikon, the sagacious 73-year-old founder of the Revival Valley Ministry International had held the congregation spellbound with a brilliant, sharp and impactful sermon. With the experience and authority of a man who was an interpreter to the Tulsa-based American Evangelist Tommy Lee Osborn, he commanded the rapt attention immediately with the precision of his words and phrases. To the applause of the congregation, he quickly dismissed the rain that fell briefly as the harbinger and ‘sign of fertility’ that will accompany the new government and people of Akwa Ibom State. He recalled how Pastors and Christian faithfuls were mocked for venturing into politics and daring to make a governor of one of their own. “They said we were hopeless and helpless, but God has shown them now that he is helpful”. He praised the former governors of the state, particularly Udom Emmanuel for their accomplishments for the people of the state but said Eno will excel them all. “Nigerians are saying ‘go to Akwa Ibom and see development’. But we are saying ‘you’ve not seen anything yet’ because this is God’s own state…We are just at the periphery and the foundation level now…Soon the world will know that Akwa Ibom is fearfully and wonderfully made”.

He prophesied that Akwa Ibom in no time will teach nations the subject of good governance. “We will export good governance, we will export peace and we will export industrial goods to the rest of the country and beyond. Why do I say so? Because I have eyes and I can see that with a man like Pastor Eno as governor, God has come down to Akwa Ibom in his full majesty. That’s why we are thanking God and that’s why we are rejoicing today”, the silver haired cleric said.

In a goodwill message, Akwa State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Bishop Christian Nyong, who described Pastor Eno as the Golden Governor, said that putting God first in the state is “the best way to launch Akwa Ibom into a golden era. Rev. (Dr.) Emmanuel Ossom of Qua Iboe Church (QIC), who is one of the oldest clerics in the state and the man who baptised the young Umo Eno in 1974 into QIC , touched the tender nerves of many hearts when he prayed the closing prayers slowly with a weak and emotion laden voice that evoked deep spiritual kinship among the congregation. He asked God to bless the state more under the Governor and lift up all Akwa Ibom people everywhere in the world, just as he has lifted up Eno.

Another emotional moment was the one-minute silence observed for three clerics who were strong supporters of Pastor Eno during the campaigns but died soon after he won a landslide victory. They were Prelate Sunday Mbang, Archbishop Elijah Mboho and Bishop Moswill Umoh. The governor requested all churches in the state to thank God for the lives of these ‘fallen generals’ and rally around the bereaved families as they prepare for the burials of the departed fathers in faith.

“The tank of thanksgivers is always full”, according to the sages. With the just concluded thanksgivings, the Umo Eno administration and Akwa Ibom people are now poised to receive full tanks of blessings from above.

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