Akwa Ibom governor, Chief Godswill O. Akpabio, has decried what he termed the commercialisation ofÂ churches by their leaders in the country.
Chief Akpabio who spoke during the conferment of award on him and commssioning of Ukana Corps Church building at Salvation Army, Ukana Ikot Ntuen in Essien Udim Local Government Area condemned emphasis on money by most of the modern-day churches and curious dressing styles by their members.
He lauded Salvation Army for not compromising its standards of worship over the years unlike other churches that adopt alien modes of worship, saying that “This has made the church unique.”
The governor, who was presented with an Excellent Service award and a flag with the insignia of Salvation Army, dedicated the award to children rescued from sex slavery and child labour.
Chief Akpabio donated N5 million for the church Childrenâ€™s Centre,Â N5 million for the Salvation Army, South West Division and an air-conditioned bus.
He recalled that “as a child of about eight years I used to sleep in the church. I donâ€™t think what I gave could be equated with the goodness of the Lord in my life.”
He used the occasion to re-assure Christians in the state of his commitment to change the face of Akwa Ibom, and urged them to disregard the antics of those he called the “Sanballats and Tobiahs.â€™â€™
â€œDonâ€™t be distracted or discouraged by petitions or criticisms,â€ Governor Akpabio added.
The governor, who cleared the air on the alleged spending of N1 billion on a kilometer of Ekritam-Ikot Oku Ikono Road by his critics, explained that no road in the state costs so high, slamming them for being ignorant of the fact that the road had two lanes and a bridge.
He said payment of compensation by the government to owners of property was also included in the total amount used for the construction of the road.
Commissioner Jean Ludiazo, the Territorial Commander of Salvation Army of Nigeria Territory, praised the governor for the developmentÂ strides in the state, stating that the church had a standard and could not admit anybody without assessing the achievements of the person.
According to him, the action necessitated the church to have bestowed the honour on the governor.
Commissioner Ludiazo said the flag given to him was symbolic of the presence of God and advised him to put it at a strategic place in the state because, according to him, God has planted him in Akwa Ibom.
He called on Christians in the country to desist from character assassination and other social vices capable of ruining their relationship with their God.
Earlier, Major Michael Oyesanya, the Divisional Commander, South West Division of the church, had acknowledged that God gave His will to Akpabio for Akwa Ibom, pointing out that his dogged determination, unflinching commitment to fulfilling promises and penchant for doing it right stood him out as a future leader.
Major Oyesanya commended the governor for positive intervention on Ikot Ekpeneâ€“Abak, Nung Udoe Itak- Use Ikot Amama and Afaha Obong-Etim Ekpo-Iwukem Road, among other achievements.