ABIA State governor, Chief Theodore Orji and renowned legal luminary, educationist, author and former president of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Prof. Jo Ogbonnaya Irukwu last Sunday congratulated Rev. Chris Okotie and members of the Household of God Ministries for G.R.A.C.E. 2014 describing the programme as a brilliant concept.
Gov. Orji, Special Guest of Honour at the event, speaking in the lighter mood described Rev. Okotie as a visionary and perfectionist.
Prof. Irukwu, chairman, said this was the happiest event he had attended this year, and it was a departure from the current despondent mood of the nation, urging Rev. Okotie to keep up the work.
The church’s annual G.R.A.C.E event gives back to the society, and the Karis Award honours a Nigerian (living or dead) whose dist-inguished service to the nation has been un-heralded.
Last Sunday was the 24th anniversary of the G.R.A.C.E event and the 18th anniversary of the Karis Award of the church.
The flamboyant pastor-politician, Rev. Okotie, cele-brated the popular charity outreach programme this year, to remind us of the plight of the Chibok girls who have been in captivity for over 200 days.
Midway into the event, the lights of the auditorium were turned off, and hundreds of battery-powered lanterns were lit-up by the attendees as symbolic lights to search for the missing girls.
This year’s Karis Award went to late Mrs. Beatrice Ibeneme (nee Okebugwu), the first female police woman with enlistment Number 001, who rose from the rank of cadet to Woman Police Inspector. Mrs. Ibeneme passed on in 2007. Being a post-humous award, it was received by her brother, Mr. Okebugwu.
As is customary, four charit-ies namely; The Pacelli School for the Blind and Partially Sighted, The Spinal Cord Injuries Association of Niger-ia,SCIAN, The Strong Tower Mission and The Sunshine Foundation were also recip-ients of cash awards. They were given cash donations of N1 million each to support their work.
In attendance at the event, amongst others, were last year’s awardee, the first one-star general in the Nigerian Air force, Air Commordore Habiba Ruth Garba (Rtd), the families of previous awardees like Hajia Sawaba Gambo, Mr. Taiwo Akinkunmi, Mallam Aminu Kano and Prof. Ishaya Audu etc.
Other major highlights include the selection of the church’s ambassador via the prestigious Queen Esther costume pageant, which is a parade of some female memb-ers of the church clad in novelle costumes reminiscent of female biblical characters.
In the pageant, judges select a Queen, who becomes the face for the church’s benevolent activities for one year. The Queen Esther 2014 pageant was won by Michelle Isikalu who adopted the character of Jezebel, the notorious wife of King Ahab.
She beat 16 others to win the coveted crown and walked away with a cash prize of N1 million. She was crowned by the last Queen Esther, Becky Oyibo and the Centenary Queen, Amara Chantel Mba. The Centenary Queen was a pageant organized by the Federal Government to cele-brate the country’s centenary.
The church presented her with a brand new Hyundai Elantra because of the failure of the Federal Government to redeem its pledge to give a car to the Centenary Pageant winner, who happens to be a member of Household of God.