Gov Emmanuel To Build 10000 Capacity Worship Centre In Uyo
By Umoh-Obong Kingsley
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, has revealed plans by the state government to build a worship centre to accommodate 10,000 Christians in the state.
He gave the revelation on Thursday during a special interactive banquet with Fathers of Faith in the state at the Le Meridien Ibom Hotel, where he also made known some of the schemes and challenges threatening sustainability of governance in the state.
Governor Emmanuel stated that worship centre had initial plan of 16,000 capacity with over 30 lifts but was reduced to 10,000 due the current recession affecting the economy of the country.
According him, the design for the project has been properly drawn. “We have acquired the site and compensations have been paid. Presently, soil test is being conducted on the land and a proper Christian foundation laying ceremony will be done on January 21, 2018. Our initial plan was for like this, so we reduced to 10,000 capacity. It is going to be very simple because there is elegant in simplicity.”
Governor Emmanuel also unravelled plans for the provision of state-owned ambulance services, saying “Presently, we are working on a scheme that includes two ambulance services. I have ordered not less than 25 container loads of hospital equipment to equip all hospitals in the state. About 19 have been cleared and delivered.
“If Etinan Hospital was not up to standard, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, wouldn’t have made the statement he made. He was surprised when we told that it was a secondary healthcare not tertiary and general.”
The Governor charged the religious leaders to be involved in some of the activities of the state in order to take actions, saying that outside prayers, “The church still has some actions to take which is what you have done today by getting yourselves involved and that is the first step to take.
“It is not only prayers that Christians need to pray. As you can see, we only prayed for the peace of the country in 2015 and God answered our prayers. Nobody prayed about the economy. We also have the power to vote because voting shows that we have the power to chart a course for direction.
“Nobody has the monopoly of God. It is the same God that blessed America that supposed to bless us. The first thing anyone can to do to any democracy is to go back and build the economy which is what I have done. If you go to Lagos, nobody can enter Apapa because everybody is going to Tin Can. We have spent so much on the Ibom Deep Seaport. I have done everything humanly possible. With prayers and support of the church, we can turn around the economy of this state and Nigeria at large.
“We need to go back to the ground. There is nothing on earth man does, there is nothing we do that does not come from the ground. From what we wear to everything we have come from the ground. If we don’t go back to the ground, we cannot talk about development and elimination of poverty. The money generated from our farmlands goes a long way. The most expensive underwear a woman puts on is from the bamboo fibre, not cotton. We want to turn the bamboo we are doing to 100% fibre. That is how we want to eliminate poverty in the state.”
Governor Emmanuel, while stating some of the possible challenges that could threaten the development of the state, cited the incident where a matron of Etinan Hospital connived with the villagers and stole 57 beds in one night while the state was trying to equip the hospital, saying that things such can scare investors away and development of the state delayed.
He also charged church leaders to take the church to the world. “Another challenge we have is that, before now, the church used to affect the outside world. Unfortunately, the reverse is the case today. How many times in a year, as church leaders, do we preach against those vices that are against the society?
“We wouldn’t have had the menace in Ukanafun LGA today if we sustained what we learnt in the Sunday schools. The bedrock of incidents of robbery and cultism that we have in our society today is because our children have left what we were known for and followed other things. We must rise and take the church to the outside world, and not the other way round. The Bible says all things are lawful but not all things are expedient (1 Corinthians. 10:23).
“The challenge is about our people. There is something we call continuous effect in business and there is another called a friendly fire. How can you enter a local government and find out that 8 out of every 10 youths have different forms of guns? If we can allow the church the affect the world, we will make a whole lot of difference.
“Whenever I read the Book of Malachi, I underline the word ‘Unchangeable God’. If God does not change and we are created in the image of God, why do we need a change? If we want to change, why can’t we change for the best? The only way we can overcome the challenge we are having is for the church to affect the world and not the world affecting the church.”
Earlier in his welcome address, Chairman of the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. (Dr) Ndueso Ekwere, stated that the church has not only produced a great governor, but also a worthy ambassador to the church and for the church, adding that Governor Emmanuel, being a financial management expert, is the right man for the church.
Rev. Ekwere further stated that the Governor’s election in 2015 was not a stroll in the park, but was won in the field, judiciary and in heaven, and quoted the Holy scripture saying “A thousand shall fall by thy right hand and ten thousand by thy left hand, but shall not come neigh thee. The church is ready to go into the troubled water to see you succeed come 2019.
“We will not allow you to walk alone. Your success is the success of the church. Your triumph is a triumph of righteousness. Your victory is a victory of light over darkness. We see in you, a tool in God’s hand to destroy darkness in the state. You have established a lot of industries and tarred many roads as well as reduced insecurity to its barest minimum.”
Setting the tone for the gathering, the founder, Destiny Mission International Inc, Achbishop Cletus Bassey, noted that “Today is one of the days we have been dreaming about and looking forward to meet with an erudite, amiable, formidable, impactful and industry-driven Governor. We have discovered that you have come, seen and conquered. The churches are gathered here to give our double assurance. The church brought you up and is standing by you.”
Also present at the interactive banquet were Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Sir Etekamba Umoren; Air Commodore Indongesit Nkanga (retd); Rev. Uma Ukpai; government functionaries and other men and women of God.