Having backed up to 300 Christians in their quest to perform a pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Israel, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has urged the prospective pilgrims to renew their faith in God and to be worthy ambassadors to the nation.
The governor, who met with the intending pilgrims at a ceremony before their airlift, also advised them to be of good behaviour and to pray for unity and harmony in Nigeria.
He congratulated the intending pilgrims for their bold initiative to embark on a holy pilgrimage to strengthen their faith in the Lord. Sanwo-Olu advised them to “be worthy ambassadors of Nigeria and Lagos State.” Adding: “Don’t go there and start shopping immediately. I have been there myself and I know our people start to do shopping immediately on arrival. What’s more important is spirituality and prayer. You need to travel light.”
Sanwo-Olu expressed this view on Sunday when he flagged-off the 2019 Christian Pilgrimage to Israel and Rome held at Chapel of Christ the Light Church in Alausa, Ikeja.
He thanked the leadership of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) for choosing Lagos State for the flag-off of this year’s general pilgrimage exercise, and assured that by next year the state would surpass the record of this year in terms of pilgrimage support and development.
Meanwhile, Sanwo-Olu gave a scriptural message from Exodus 6:4 and enjoined the pilgrims to establish new covenant with God and change attitudes that may rob them the rewards of the religious exercise. He described pilgrimage as a spiritual journey that would transform the lives of pilgrims forever.
“Pilgrimage is an opportunity for you to increase your faith and it will be an opportunity to fellowship with other Christians,” he said. On the problem of defection, the Governor admonished the intending pilgrims never to think of absconding in Israel. “You will go well, you will come back well, you will come back to impact on your community. “Sanwo-Olu told pilgrims, who are led by Lagos State Commissioner for Home Affairs, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, on the journey to the Holy Land.
President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Supo Ayokunle, commended Sanwo-Olu for honouring the invitation, pointing out that the Governor displayed high respect for the Church and Christendom.
Ayokunle was quick to remind the pilgrims of their duty to God. For him, the journey to Jerusalem was a form of worship to earn God’s pleasure and reward.
NCPC chairman, Rev. Yomi Kasali said Lagos was chosen as flag-off location for the pilgrimage because the state was unique in its preparation for the religious exercise.
Most of the high personalities advised the pilgrims to be responsible while in the holy land. The dignitaries at the flag off included the Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, Chief of Staff to Lagos Governor, Mr. Tayo Ayinde, and representatives of the Vice President, Prof Yemi President and Secretary to the Federal Government.