By Daniel Akwatang
Recently, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel embarked on an inspection visit to assess the progress of work at the on-going construction of the International Christian Worship Centre, Uyo. The Governor was impressed by the progress of work and highlighted the significance of the project, which necessitates emphasis here.
The Scriptures show clearly that the secret of successful leaders is in their closeness with God. According to the Book of Acts, Chapter Thirteen, Verse Twenty Two, “After removing Saul, God raised up David as King and testified about him: I have found David son of Jesse a man after my heart; he will carry out my will in its entirety.” In fact, building an altar for God is a critical act of doing the will of God. Governor Udom Emmanuel has taken a wise decision.
Such visionary leaders in the Bible like Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Solomon knew the place of an altar for the Lord in advancing the course of the people.
That is why the visionary initiative of Governor Udom Emmanuel in building an International Worship Centre for Akwa Ibom State deserves commendation. By this well thought out project, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has renewed God’s covenant with the people of the only State whose founding fathers in their wisdom and foresight, named after God. More than Ninety percent of the population of Akwa Ibom State practice Christianity, hence it is not out of place for the State to have a central worship Centre for State and national religious activities.
Granted that this project is facilitated by the Akwa Ibom State Government, it has diverse sources of funding including individual and corporate organizations. It is worthy of note that Governor Udom Emmanuel and his family have made a significant personal financial contribution to the project, in addition to mobilizing his friends and professional colleagues to do the same. It is, therefore, a lie that exists only in the imagination of the critics to say that the project is a hundred percent funded by the Akwa Ibom State government. Governor Udom Emmanuel through this project will cement a genuine bond between the true living God and Akwa Ibom State.
The International Christian Worship Centre project, when completed in 2022 as projected, will stamp God’s name forever on our State, and make Akwa Ibom a Jerusalem of some sort.
The Lord has been faithful to Governor Udom Emmanuel’s administration. This is seen in the quantum of projects and programmes initiated and completed by the government in less than six years. With all that the Lord has done for Akwa Ibom State, is there anything too much for Akwa Ibom State to do for the Lord? Certainly not! Indeed, Akwa Ibom State stands to gain more in erecting a place of worship for the Lord. Evidently, for over Thirty-Three years of the existence of Akwa Ibom, the State has witnessed gigantic infrastructure across sectors including health, education, industrialization, agriculture and even the social infrastructure. However, no significant attention has been given to an infrastructure that signposts us as a State named after God with over Ninety percent Christian population. This would have looked hypocritical, and mere lip service carrying an insincere toga of a State named after God without commensurate evidence. This would have reached a crescendo – even to God himself.
But thanks be to God for giving us a Governor with the spirit of Nehemiah, David and Solomon who will not give himself sleep until there is a befitting, visible State-token to show that God alone is on the throne and rules over the affairs in Akwa Ibom State. The commendations this project for the Lord has attracted the Governor from far and near is most appreciated.
However, a few have also criticized the initiative. Obviously, if this altar for the Lord did not provoke jealousy and condemnation from some quarters, then it would not have passed the test as befitting of our Almighty, glorious and infinite God.
This misguided condemnation could be likened to what Governor Zerubabel in the Bible encountered as recorded in Ezra chapter three, verse eight where Zerubabel and the High Priest, Joshua led the people to lay the foundation of the new temple of God. Like what we are witnessing today, this effort was roundly criticized by people who hired lawyers to cause the Persian authorities to frustrate the project.
To Zerubabel, the mountain of opposition was so hard, proud, strong and more numerous than the project was stopped for sixteen years. But God, the owner of the project intervened, and said “the hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple, his hands will also complete it.”
God stood by Zerubabel and ensured that against all odds, the temple was completed and the house was finished on the third day of Adar. That same God will stand by Governor Udom Emmanuel to complete the International Christian Worship Centre in the third year of his second term no matter the gimmicks of detractors.
Therefore, let us not copy the woeful example of Judas Iscariot who, instead of praising and commending Mary for pouring expensive perfume on Jesus rather condemned her because of jealousy. If anything, we should even be thankful to God for the person of Mr. Udom Emmanuel because every leader consciously or unconsciously raises an altar, but Akwa Ibom is blessed with a leader whose altar is raised only for God.
The Scripture in Haggai, chapter one, verse eight says: “…go up to the mountain, and bring wood and build the house and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified.” Any leader who means well for his people will work for God to be glorified and take pleasure in his leadership. This is exactly what our Governor is doing and it can only attract blessings to Akwa Ibom State. Only God is worthy of our jewels and riches.
Good enough, industries and other breathtaking infrastructure have equally been built by the Governor. It is then condemnable for anyone to single out the one project to condemn because it is built for the Lord. Remember, it is only God who gave us these accomplishments that have continued to make Akwa Ibom State a cynosure of the world cutting across different sectors.
Governor Udom Emmanuel is a visionary leader. Visionary leaders see what others do not see because God sees them as the representative of the people. Since every leadership on earth is planted by God, let us support God’s purpose for our State.
Let us, therefore, key into the vision of Governor Udom Emmanuel and embrace the International Christian Worship Centre devoid of biases of divides. Like Governor Udom Emmanuel said, “People see a building, I don’t see a building. What I see is an altar raised to God for my people, and for generations yet unborn.” Akwa Ibom people should see what the governor sees in this foresighted initiative.