The Kogi State Government, Lokoja on Saturday night, held its Maiden Christmas Carol Service at the new Chapel of Peace and Unity in 28 years.
The state was carved out of the old Kwara and Benue on Aug. 27, 1991.
In his goodwill message, the Governor of the state, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, thanked God for the privilege to build a house of worship for God, saying that he welcomed the worshippers with overwhelming joy and a deep sense of satisfaction.
Represented by his Deputy, Chief Edward Onoja, the governor noted that the significance of the Chapel was not only in its purpose as a place of worship for Christians but also a symbol of unity, access and inclusion.
”When we did the groundbreaking ceremony for this lovely edifice on 22 July 2019, we promised to finish the work in December. Thank God for His help, it is not only finished but in use.
“I thank the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kogi and at national level for standing solidly with us in the actualisation of this project.
”It is my prayer that God will bless CAN and continue to increase its capacity to positively influence good governance, peace and righteousness in Nigeria.
”We are grateful to God Almighty for His Gift of Jesus Christ, which is the reason for the Christmas Season and we thank Him for His Help and Presence which we have been celebrating tonight,” Bello said.
The governor solicited the prayers, intercession and support from the Christian community and indeed, the entire people of Kogi.
”We promise to deepen these virtues, in our second term, until Kogites will be known as Kogites first, before tribe or tongue or social class come to mind.
”Once again, I welcome us to this first-ever service in this beautiful edifice.
”It is also double honours for us as tonight is a Christmas Carol Service in honour of the Birth of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, the One Who made the ultimate sacrifice to save mankind.”
In his short exhortation, the State’s CAN Chairman, Dr John Ibenu, commended the governor for the gesture, adding that the message of Christmas was that of the love of God to mankind.
Ibenu said God gave Jesus “to take away our sins”, while emphasising that the current happenings around the world were indications and assurances that Jesus was coming again and about to come.
”We live in an age where people make mockery of sins; sin is a sickness but Jesus is the cure.”
He, therefore, urged the people to take God first in all their actions and examine their lives, to see if they stood right with God.
He, therefore, on the Christians to engage in genuine repentance.
In his vote of thanks, the Chapel Chaplain, Pastor Henry Asarapo, also lauded the governor for the gesture, saying that the building of the edifice could only be by the hand of God.
He prayed for the Next Level manifestation of good and greater things to come to Kogi.
Other dignitaries at the occasion include: Mr Matthew Kolawole, the Speaker of the Kogi House of Assembly; the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Folashade Ayoade and the Head of Service, Mrs Deborah Ogunmola; among others.