By Elder Omoni Ayo-Tamuno
The Bible Society of Nigeria has been lauded for playing prominent leading role in the translation of the Word of God into Nigerian indigenous languages.
This commendation was made by the Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri at the dedication of the Epie Language New Testament Bible in Yenagoe last week Wednesday. Senator Diri declared, “by this singular action, the Bible Society of Nigeria (BSN) is preserving Nigerian native languages, especially the minor ethnic groups that are fast going into extinction”.
The Governor noted with delight the translation of Ogbia and Epie New Testament Bibles which he said was the first of its kind since Bayelsa State was created. He thanked BSN for the promotion of indigenous languages with its translation projects and promised to partner with the society for more translation projects in the State.
Governor Diri who was represented by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Religious Matters, Pastor S. S. John Peters encouraged mothers to teach their children to speak the local languages and pledged the commitment of the State Government to promote local languages.
In his speech, the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Lawrence Ewhudjakpo assured the BSN that efforts would be put in place to create the needed environment to translate more language Bibles in the State. Senator Ewhudjakpo who spoke through a Member of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Mr Oforji Oboku described the event as a spiritual breakthrough in the life of the people.
The Chairman on the occasion and a former member of the National Assembly, Senator Emmanuel Paulker pointed out that the dedication has brought unity among the people of Epie and Atissa communities in Bayelsa State. Senator Paulker represented by Mr. Zebakeme Natus a former Special Adviser in Bayelsa State praised the commitment and steadfastness of the translators whom he described as heroes and patriotic, adding that history would always remember them.
Speaking as the Guest Speaker, the General Overseer of the Glorified Ambassadors for Christ Assembly Missionary, Bishop Patterson Kikile stated that the search for meaningful life was only found in the Lord Jesus Christ. Bishop Kikile declared, “the Word of God when read in ones native tongue has more and better meaning and understanding, as well as impact than in a foreign language”. He added that the Bible being translated in Epie language had brought home the Word of God to their door step, stressed that with is, no one has excuse of not worshiping God as their Maker and Creator.
Bishop Kikile who is the First Bishop from the area said that the Word of God has the full capacity to change satanic culture, tradition, bad government and individuals who are controled by negative influences
Speaking the President of BSN, Rev Dr Olubunmi Banwo said that the Society belong to all who read and preach the written Word of God and solicited continued support to succeed in its aims and objectives. Rev Banwo noted that the BSN would not relent in its desire to translate the Bible into the various Nigerian languages to faithfully worship the Almighty God.
Also speaking shortly after the presentation of the Epie New Testament Bible, the General Secretary of the BSN, Dr Richard Dare Ajiboye disclosed that the Society had spent over one hundred and sixty million naira on the Epie and Ogbia translation projects. Dr Ajiboye further revealed that the money was spent on sending 12 translators for two year Capacity Building Programme at the United Bible Societies (UBS) Anglophone African Bible Translators Training, Saint Paul University, Limuru Kenya, hiring of office accommodation and recurrent expenditures among others for the past five years.
He said with more fund provided, the complete version of the Bible for Epie and Ogbia would be written and dedicated in less than three years and called for the total cooperation of both communities. High point of the dedication was the reading of the Scriptures, Matthew 5: 1 – 12 from the Epie New Testament Bible by Mr. Torvie Makhere with applause by the congregation.
Elder Omoni Ayo-Tamuno is the Chairman, Bible Society of Nigeria, Rivers/ Bayelsa Area