… Governor is indeed God sent, say beneficiaries
Governor of Imo State, Sen. Hope Uzodimma has said he did not have any political intention in sponsoring the 1200 Imo Christian and Muslim pilgrims who visited Jerusalem, Jordan, Mecca and Medina this year on Pilgrimage, noting that he was rather interested in the spiritual upliftment of the beneficiaries with its attendant moral benefits and their relationship with God.
The Governor spoke on Sunday at the Eze Imo Palace in Mbari, Owerri in his remarks during the Interdenominational thanksgiving service organised by the pilgrims to appreciate him for the opportunity given to them to visit the Holy lands at no cost to them.
The Governor had paid for the airlift, feeding, accommodation and other living expenses of 1000 Christian pilgrims to Jordan and Jerusalem as well as of 200 Muslims who went to Mecca and Medina from Imo State.
The thanksgiving service turned out to be a moment of emotional outpour as Governor Uzodimma was treated with tales of how, through the exercise and his magnanimity, many beneficiaries, both Christian and Muslim pilgrims, had the opportunity of either traveling by air for the first time in their lives as well as traveling outside the shores of Nigeria, also for the first time.
The Christian and Muslim pilgrims, most of who clamoured to see the sponsor, were therefore excited to behold Governor Uzodimma in their midst on Sunday and also happy over the opportunity to lavish prayers on him as his governorship election draws closer.
Though they reminded the Governor that they prayed for him, his family, his government, Imo State, among others at the Holy lands, the pilgrims also told him that the pay back time which is November 11 has come.
They were therefore happy to enter into a prayer of agreement after which they endorsed the Governor for re-election and resolved to vote massively for him.
The Interdenominational thanksgiving service was organised by the Imo State Christian Pilgrims Welfare.
Appreciating their prayers, the Governor told the congregation that he was not only humbled by their experiences, but that it gives him satisfaction having a better relationship with his creator. He urged them to do the same.
He said that pilgrimage means a lot to the Christian and Muslim faiths, and appealed to Imo people to “first live together as a people irrespective of religious differences because all of us are of one God.”
He recalled that before the visit to the Holy land a lot of killings and violence were going on in the State, noting that he was convinced that after the visit, “the State is now far better and peace has returned to the State.”
He enjoined the pilgrims to pray that next year there will be opportunity for another set of contingents to visit the Holy lands also.
The Governor reiterated that his administration’s sponsorship of Imo citizens to pilgrimage is not political, “rather it is to strengthen our relationship with God.”
He used the opportunity to pray for a free and fair governorship election in the State and urged the pilgrims to freely vote their consciences in the coming election even though they had all resolved to cast their ballot for him.
He thanked the organisers for the honour done him with the award and decorations and described them as an “encouragement to do more.”
In their various speeches earlier, the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prof Placid Njoku thanked the Governor for his Godly dispositions that made it possible for him to sponsor the number of people from the State to the Holy lands.
Prof Njoku said that the Governor has shown the world that “all about Imo State is in the hands of God.”
The Chairman Imo State Pilgrim Welfare Board, Rev Fr. Dr. Gilbert Alaribe thanked the Governor and God Almighty for a seamless exercise and journey mercies “because it was a difficult and complex programme.”
Alaribe who recalled that “never in the history of Imo State had any administration sponsored such a number of pilgrims to the Holy land,” appreciated all that made it possible.
The Chairman, Imo State Muslim Council, Baba Sule expressed sincere gratitude to the Governor for the gesture, saying that it is the first time the Government of Imo State sponsored Muslims to the Holy land.
Sule, the Sarikin Hausawa Imo State prayed God to continue to “put Governor on the front seat and always put him above all his enemies.”
He described the Governor as “excellent” and that he will “shine again”.
“The large population of Muslim Umar will vote for the Governor come November 11 this year,” he said.
Other speakers included the Chief Judge of Imo State, Justice Theresa Chikeka; the Chairman of APC Imo State, Dr Macdonald Ebere and HRH Eze Mathew Nwokoma.
They all thanked the Governor for his magnanimity and prayed God to continue to preserve and grant him success in his future endeavours.
Both Bishop Henry Mbamaonyeukwu and Bishop Akanabu, representing the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, CCN, ECWA, Anglican Church, said the Governor has sown bountifully hence he will reap bountifully.
They offered other prayers of grace and success for the Governor in the coming election and beyond.
Most Rev. (Dr.) Moses Chikwe, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, former Governor Ikedi Ohakim, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Chief Uche Nnaji, Senator Patrick Ndubueze, Rt Hon Jerry Alagboso, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Barr Nnamdi Anyaehie, Deputy Speaker, Amara Iwuanyanwu, APC Chieftain, Chief Tony Chukwu, Eze Imo, HRM, EC Okeke and his wife, among other dignitaries graced the occasion.
Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to the Governor