By Kennedy Mbele
Appeal Grace Assembly International (APGA INT’L),Lagos has held the 2016 edition of her Night of 1,000 Dancers, tagged Praise Up Chop Up, with Felix Obamo winning the star prize of N250,000. Jacob Princess and Da Blazin Rockaz took the second and third prizes respectively and got N50,000 cash each. The competition held on December 26, 2016 but the winners only got their prizes at an elaborate occasion held at APGA headquarters, located at Onikanga, Ayobo, Lagos last Sunday. Jacob Princess broke record by becoming the first member of the church to win a prize since the inception of the competition six years ago. Observers attributed this to transparency of the process to select the winners.
Praise Up Chop Up started in 2010 during which young talents gathered to praise and dance for the Lord as part of the activities marking the end of the year. The event turned into an annual competition in 2011 where new talents were discovered.
Senior Pastor of APGA and initiator of the program, Pastor Damilare Akinwale Akinola, explained that the program was designed to channel the strength of youths across the boundaries of ministries in the country towards singing and dancing for God and not the devil. He criticized the manner in which carnivals are usually conducted, pointing out that they glorify the devil instead of God. He posited that the glory of youths should be in their strength in line with the Scriptures, stressing that a situation whereby carnivals increase security challenges was not proper. The pastor said Praise Up Chop Up was aimed at re-directing the strength of youths towards activities capable of assisting to explore their talents and using same in a manner that would glorify God. In the process, excellent youths, according to him, are rewarded.
In his message at the occasion, the chairman of the occasion, who is also the President and Chief Executive Officer, African Christian Broadcasting Network, Pastor Samuel Moses, described the annual program as a way of showing the glory to God. He believed the program will soon be extended to other parts of the globe. Moses, who is also the President, We Pray Nigeria, urged youths not to allow themselves to be used by the older generations anymore for purposes that do not meet the standards of Christianity.
He predicted that there will be significant changes for Nigeria politically in 2019, urging every youth to join the We Pray Nigeria group without further delay.
Alluding to the fact that the reward for a job well done is more work, the overwhelmed star prize winner of the competition, Obamo described Praise Up Chop Up as very tasking. He attributed his success to God and called on both the organizers and his former competitors not to be tired but to brace up for the next edition.
The Chief Judge of the contest, Pastor Abimbola David, disclosed that some contestants were disqualified during the competition mainly due to their character and poor dress sense. He explained that the exercise was aimed at developing the overall character of the youth and as such calls for strictness on any issue bordering on character. The pastor urged interested participants for the 2017 edition of the program to pick up their forms which are already available at the church office.