Mark out betrayers In your midst – Gov. Udom urges Christian fathers
-Says, ‘TIME NOT RIPE TO REVEAL MY SUCCESSOR’
It was poignant and unequivocal, something starlight to the heart, was the message delivered to Akwa Ibom Christian fathers at a breakfast table by the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel – “Watch out for betrayers amongst yourself.”
The Christian Governor said this at a breakfast organized by the State Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) at the weekend in Uyo, where he was a special guest of honour and spent some moment to interact freely with the clergies, numbering about 150, besides their aides and media men.
It was a message similar to the one Jesus delivered to his twelve disciples at the dinner table before his betrayal, even by one who was eating with him. But for the inspiration behind such intriguing message, the Governor did not tell but his candour suggested a few past Christian leaders of the State maybe playing the devil’s advocate.
Unlike Jesus who did not ask the disciples to withdraw from the betrayer, the Governor differed as he asked the Christian elders to avoid those who were fueling discord in the body of Christ.
UNEASE IN THE BODY OF CHRIST?
Governor Udom Emmanuel decried attempts by some members of the Christian community to play up divisiveness and cause a crack amongst the Christian community for selfish purposes. He frowned at activities of some pastors whom he said, described themselves as ‘sons of faith’ and warned them against hauling further smear on the Christian fathers.
“I’m hearing ‘sons of faith, sons of this…if fathers didn’t give birth to sons, will you call yourself sons?” He expressed shock that even some pastors who benefitted from his benevolence were casting aspersions on his government, and warned of dire consequences for disrespecting governing authorities.
Anchoring his remarks on the scriptures which he quoted with great relish, especially Romans 16:17 which states: “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them,” he enjoined the Christian fathers to watch out for persons in their fold who have tendencies to cause divisiveness and offence, in order to avoid them.
The governor also compared pastors who have risen up against him and the Christian fathers to a piece of wood in the hearth and talebearers in the body whose main agenda was to cause strifes for selfish purposes. He pleaded with the Christian elders not to associate with such, because, according to Proverbs 26:20: “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.”
FACE YOUR WORK, NOT POLITICS OF SUCCESSION
The Governor also charged political gladiators and entire citizenry to face their work instead of unnecessarily heating up the polity over 2023 elections, submitting that he was not yet prepared to reveal whoever God will choose as his successor.
The Governor who praised the Christian fathers for continuing to pray for peace in the State, however, chided political office aspirants in 2023 for teeing off the game so early, asserting that he would not join the frenzy by naming his successor as it would distract people from focusing attention on their duties to the state and the nation.
“About succession, when the times comes, if the angels will not announce it, I will, ” he told the audience and added: “The noise is just too much about my successor; even if God has shown me, I’m not going to reveal it yet so that people can work.”
Lamenting over the brouhahas of 2023 elections, he said: “It is only in Akwa Ibom State that there’s so much noise about a successor; go to Abia State, our next door neighbour and ask who the successor is, they won’t even talk about it, in Cross River, Rivers and Delta States, I’ve not heard this noise, why is it only in Akwa Ibom State that we talk about a successor day and night?’ The governor queried and warn pundits to stop heating up the polity, even as he was working hard to deliver dividends of democracy to the electorates.
Wondering why politics of 2023 was placed on the front burner in the State, instead of more productive engagements that will impact the state positively, as especially piloted by his administration through various investments to bolster the economy and widen employment opportunities.
He stressed that putting more attention on elections cannot enhance the quality of life of the citizens and the next generation.
His words:”If year in, year out you’re only thinking about elections, you’re not thinking about the next generation, then there’s a problem,” noting that such thinking was why the nation has found herself in the present chaotic state.
DANGER OF ATTACKING AUTHORITY
Mr. Udom Emmanuel, who is also a deacon in the body of Christ, reminded those who were quick to throw tantrums at him, that they were doing so at their own peril, because God will hold them to account for dishonouring divinely constituted authority. According to him, the Bible in Romans 13:1-2 warns of the danger of denigrating higher authority:
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.”
He cautioned that unwarranted criticism of the fathers of faith for standing with him in prayers for the peace and development of the State may attract curses.
He warned pastors not to let financial inducement by desperate politicians move them to destroy the unity of the body of Christ, pledging to fight for the preservation of the body of Christ, not only in Akwa Ibom State but across the nation and appealed to the fathers to continue to support the state with their prayers.
WARNING AGAINST CULTISM AND OATH-TAKING
The governor also came hard on cultism and oath-taking phenomena, common with politicians vying for elective positions, as such practices negated the peace and prosperity of any state. He urged the Christian fathers not to support anyone with cult inclinations or past activities of persons associated with any dreaded group, adding that: “Whatever takes you to will sustain you there. He said while he has chosen to hang on God, nevertheless, was because God took him to the very top and advised the State not to associate with such persons.
He also charged Christians to get involved in politics and not see it as a dirty, adding: “As God participated in the process of redemption, we should also participate in the election process in order to ensure the redemption of the nation and sustenance of peace and prosperity in Akwa Ibom State.
The governor who also applauded the fathers of faith in Akwa Ibom State for supporting his administration, sought for more cooperation and prayers for the success of his completion agenda, assuring that major road projects ongoing across the state would be completed during the life of the administration.
The CAN breakfast meeting which was attended by notable Christian fathers in the state, including, the 85 year of old Pa Sunday Mbang (CON), Prelate Emeritus Methodist Church Nigeria, Prelate Isaiah Issong, Dr. Uma Ukpai, Archbishop Uko, Acting Chairman, Government House Prayer Committee, CAN Chairman, Akwa Ibom State, Rev. Dr. Ndueso Ekwere and his secretary, Bishop Emmanuel Ebitu, heads of blocs of CAN and several pastors, provided a platform for interaction with the governor on some issues bordering on peace and development of the state.
In his remarks. The governor also fielded questions from pastors who expressed anxiety over the state of the nation and prayed the governor not to renege on his pledge to fight cultism in the state.
CAN Chairman, Rev. Dr. Ndueso Ekwere, speaking on behalf of all Christians in Akwa Ibom State, appealed to the governor to ensure the legacy of peace and industrialization of Akwa Ibom was sustained through emergence of God ordained successor. He reaffirmed earlier vote of confidence passed by CAN on the governor for his numerous development programmes in the State and assured of more support for full implementation of the administration’s completion agenda.