Bishop Gabriel Nkennang is one of the leading gospel ministers in Akwa Ibom State. Well grounded in faith under the Assemblies of God, where he gave his life to Christ as a youth, he was after many years of stewardship in the denomination, led to begin a new work under Word Tabernacle, a ministry he founded alongside his wife, Melody.
He’s a man of many talents and an excellent conference speaker. A frontline member of PFN, Akwa Ibom State, Bishop Nkennang has cut a quiet image over the years.
But lately, he was involved in praying for the administration of Udom Emmanuel and was spotted for this interview with IMA NKANTA. He bared his mind on Governor Udom Emmanuel, the succession plan and the impact this government has made so far.

What has endeared you to this Governor, given your quiet posture in previous administrations?

First, Udom Emmanuel is a co – minister in the body of Christ. He’s not just a minister of the Gospel but he’s born again. He’s a committed child of God, filled with the Holy Spirit. For me, the best gift that Godswill Akpabio gave to us in Akwa Ibom State is Mr. Udom Emmanuel. I admired the administration of Goswill Akpabio as an outsider, I wasn’t involved. But I can tell you that the greatest gift that Godswill Akpabio’s administration gave to us is Deacon Udom Emmanuel.

When Udom Emmanuel came in, I discovered that he was a child of God, so I decided to get involved in praying for him and to ensure that his administration succeeds.
He might not be a saint, as everybody expects, but he’s someone sent by God Almighty to us in Akwa Ibom State at a time like this.

Look at what he has been able to do for the State, with the meagre resources at his disposal. Every citizen knows that he does not have the kind of money that flowed into the last administration, let’s not only blame COVID-19, the money didn’t just flow in as we witnessed in the previous administration. The COVID-19 really added salt to injury under this administration. Therefore the way the Governor has been able to maneuver the rough economic and financial paths and still accomplish the plans he had for Akwa Ibom State is what I call a miracle. He’s somewhat a miracle worker! Today, the blind can see, the deaf can hear and even the dumb can talk about what Udom Emmanuel has done for Akwa Ibom State.

He’s transparently honest with the resources available to him. Take a look at the quality of development projects of his administration; the roads, the number of hospitals renovated and the new ones built, look at the industries that are established, look at the Ibom Air and now the seaport happening during his administration; everywhere I go, I walk shoulder-high as a proud Akwa Ibomite because of the good name of Governor Udom Emmanuel and the achievements of his administration.

Whenever I’m outside the state, the moment people realize I am an Akwa Ibomite, they accord me extra respect.
Ibom Air is just unbelievable record -breaking experience. Last time I traveled back from Abuja, one of the fleet in Ibom air I boarded stunned me, it was as if I were on board a foreign aircraft for international trip; the crew were all expatriates, offering first class services. I had to double check to be sure it was Ibom Air onward bound to Uyo. What a pleasant experience!

The touch of excellence of this administration has so much endeared me to stand by Udom Emmanuel and I will stand by him in prayers till the end of his administration and beyond.

It is noteworthy hearing this from you but what do you say to others who don’t see anything this government has done, who say, ‘he’s not giving…’ (cut in)

Well, you have to choose between industries and spreading of money on the streets just for popularity. You have to choose between the infrastructure in health, roads, education, human capital development, the aviation development and the Ibom Air and the habit of throwing money on the streets for youths to fall in themselves. You have to choose either using these monies to develop infrastructure for the future, where our children will benefit from it and lead a better standard of life or scattering these monies on the streets and be called a good man.

I don’t also agree that Governor Udom Emmanuel is not generous, if they complain that he’s not throwing money on people in the streets, okay but to say he’s not generous, I don’t believe it because myself and several people I have interacted with have benefitted from his magnanimity.

With less than 2 years of his administration, what quality of a successor do you expect?
I expect a perpetuity of his administration, a sustainability of his legacy. Dr. Godswill Akpabio gave him to us. Today, we are enjoying the peace Udom Emmanuel brought to us, we see the development of industries; it is commendable.
But he must also hand over to us someone who will be better than him, as he is better than his predecessor. If someone who succeeds him is a direct opposite of him, all of the legacies of peace and good governance he is leaving behind will become history.

He must give us a successor who is a godfearing person, who will not only speak in tongues but speak in projects also. He must sustain the legacy of peace and up the game in development and good governance.
We don’t want to go back to the days when we could not sleep with our two eyes closed. Check with many pastors and they will tell you there was a time they couldn’t have all night prayer meetings in their churches because of insecurity. The security situation was so bad that between 6 and 7pm shops and churches were closed. Today, people are walking through the night and no fear of molestation by hoodlums.

We don’t want a repeat of the bad security past. We don’t need someone who will come and the state is put on the reverse gear in terms of peace and development. This is why the church must be united in praying for a successor after God’s own heart, who will sustain peace. We don’t need any cultist to ascend the Hilltop Mansion because it has been sanctified and made holy for the Lord; nothing that desecrates should enter that place.

How prepared is the church to get involved in the process of electing the kind of leader God wants for Akwa Ibom State?

We should not be intimidated by a move within the political quarters to silence the church, by asking: “Why should the church be involved in politics? They say, “we should concentrate on the altar and leave politics for them.” No sir! Look at your Bible again; the priest and prophets were the ones who anointed kings, they father the process. So, we cannot keep quiet but must be involved in the process. I enjoin the church to up the game this time around; pray together, speak with one voice and let our members too be involved in the process, let some of our members vie for elective positions in the political process, let them get their voter’s cards and be actively involved because faith without work is dead.

Will Votes Count?

I believe God that with what happened during the EndSars protest, there’s hope for Nigeria. That event tells me that in the next elections, votes will count. Why many didn’t get involve before was that votes didn’t count because people never counted the votes.
I want to urge the youths to reject peanuts for sale of their votes. The EndSars gave me some hope that the youths have now realized that one bag of rice will not feed them for another eight years, so they insisted that the right thing must be done in this nation.

How do you respond to some pastors using divisive approach, contrary to what the fathers of faith stand for?
If people read their Bible they will find out that you don’t fight the fathers and succeed. Fathers are the ones who give the baton, if you don’t have someone who gives out the baton, where will you get it from? Sons don’t fight their fathers, they stand by their fathers and ask their blessings. If you fight fathers and throw them upside down, even their wrappers will cover your eyes.

Quest News 24

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