By SAM EYOBOKA & OLAYINKA LATONA
NIGERIA’s 51st independence anniversary celebration may have come and gone despite all the controversies that attended it. Since the first incidence of terrorism in the country on Independence Day during the Golden Jubilee anniversary of Nigeria, Nigerians, known for their resilience, now go to bed each day with one eye open irrespective of their faith, not knowing what may spring up the next minute.
It was therefore a comic relief when Believers Love-world Ministries, better known as Christ Embassy, declared at media launch at the Grandeur Event Centre, Oregun in Lagos that there was yet hope for the nation’s citizens despite the growing army of unem-ployed youths who easily take solace in criminality in their quest to carve a niche for themselves.
Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, charismatic founder of the church, knows how to attract the young folks. It was therefore not a surprise to see an enterprising gospel crooners, Ada, Eben and resourceful gospel musician, Deacon Buchi electrifying the atmosphere of the event with their acts.
Spirit of patriotism
To commemorate the nation’s 51st anniversary as well as kindle the spirit of patriotism in Nigerians, the Christ Embassy Church distributed free copies of its daily devotional, Rhapsody of Reality during the October Reach Out Nigeria Campaign while various deve-lopmental projects are carried out in all the states of the federation.
This year, Pastor Oyakhilome expanded the distribution of the daily devotional, as 15 million free copies of the booklets were distributed nationwide.
To also achieve a far-reaching effect, the church introduced Rhapsody of Reality for Children as well as for youths. Due to the rapidly revolving society, the church also went a step further to introduce the e-Rhapsody of Reality as well as the audio versions which were said to have been distributed free.
Speaking during a grand media launch of the Reach Out Nigeria 2011, the chairman, Organising Committee, Reach Out Nigeria 2011 and zonal pastor, Christ Embassy, Pastor Lanre Alabi said the purpose of this year’s campaign tagged; “Cele-brating a New Hope”, is not only to commemorate the nation’s independence anniversary but also to “kindle the fire of pat-riotism in our people and restore hope in the future of our great country.”
He further stated that it is the belief of Pastor Chris that the best way to change the people was to draw them to God, which is what the church aimed to achieve through the Rhap-sody of Realities, in add-ition to commissioning some projects to alleviate the people’s suffering.
Also speaking, Fela Durotoye, a motivational speaker, spoke of his association with Oyakhilome’s dreams and visions for Nigeria, saying that God had told him several years ago, and which has been confirmed by Pastor Enoch Adeboye and Mama Margaret Idahosa, that Nigeria would not die in 2015 as some prophets would want us to believe, but it would transform to become one of the world’s greatest nations by 2025. He charged youths to be more focused and engage only in activities that would promote peace and unity in the country.
As part of the church’s corporate social responsibility, it donated food items, medical supplies, boreholes, books, comput-er accessories and other items to several communities in the spirit of the celebration of the nation’s 51st independence anniversary.
Reports from Delta State, said the church donated two ambulances to Orerokpe and Orhu-whorun communities in Okpe and Udu local government areas of the state respectively.
Making the donation during the ‘Reach Out Nigeria’, Pastor Ken Igini stated that in addition to the two ambulances, the church also gave free medical care to over 4,000 adults and children. Pastor Igini thanked Pastor Oyakhilome for giving them the opportunity to key into one of the three-point agenda of the state, adding that they gave treatment to over 4,000 persons in Okpe and Udu local government areas.
Responding, the Delta State Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Dan Omodo, who represented the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joseph Otuma-ra, stated that he was im-pressed with what the church, headed by Pastor Oyakhilome did for the people.
He noted that the Reach Out Nigeria programme was a good example of welfare for the people, as they have been able to bridge the gap for Nigerian citizens living in abject poverty, who where not able to afford high hospital bills. Head of Personnel Management of Okpe and Udu local government areas, doctors and nurses across the state attended the programme and they all expressed gratitude to the church for the kind gesture.
The Warri zone of the church estabbished a com-puter training and resource centre for youths in the oil rich city as part of activities marking the Reach Out campaign, addition to the provision of drugs and medical gadgets to the Warri and Ekpan General Hospitals. Zonal pastor, Siji Dara who announced the gesture, said other pro-jects have also been embarked upon to put smiles on the faces of the people in its immediate environment.
The church was also reported to have commissioned a water borehole project at Oka-Ebere community in Benin City.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, the Edo State Commissioner of Energy and Water Resources, Mr. Calistus Ojeabu who was represented by the Director of Water in the ministry, Mr. Andrew Orobor, said the well-being of the people is critical to the policy thrust of the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole-led administration, hence government is very keen in the provision of portable water and power supply.