• Charges Nigerians to trust God for revival of economy after COVID-19
By Omon-Julius Onabu
Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, yesterday reminisced on his 2019 re-election with his deputy, Mr. Kingsley Otuaro, saying that it was because he trusted in God Almighty to deliver them despite the mountain of opposition, including campaign of calumny in certain quarters at the time.
Speaking at an interdenominational thanksgiving service on the first anniversary of his second term, and the fifth as Governor, Okowa expressed confidence that in the same manner he ensured his resounding electoral success in 2019, God will take away the current global health challenge and revive the economy at the state and national levels even as the world continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 had posed a major challenge to economies of the world and Christians should pray fervently for a divine solution to the scourge, which had led to severe drop in crude oil prices, which remains Nigeria’s major source of revenue,” he said.
Okowa recalled how a certain media publication mocked him about his daily fellowship with God, saying that rather than dampen his spirit, the publication strengthened him in his belief and trust in God.
“At that point, I knew that the battle of my re-election was over because I saw the publication as a challenge to God, not mine; and, of course, the rest is history because I won the election more convincingly than in 2015,” he pointed out.
The governor said that the Thanksgiving was remarkable and necessary despite the relative disruption of socio-economic life in the land by the Coronavirus.
Okowa said, “We thank God for making it possible for us to gather here today; if not for the season that we found ourselves, I am sure that by now we would have been at the Event Centre with many gospel artistes coming to perform for us while we dance to glorify the name of God.
“I thank the Chaplain and his assistant for being able to arrange the Chapel in such a manner that we are able to obey the rules of the state regarding COVID-19 protocols.
“It’s unfortunate that all of us cannot worship the way we desire, but for those of us who are able to gather together and are able to call on the name of the Lord, He will answer us.
“For those who are at home praying and giving God glory for this day as we celebrate our first year in the second term and the fifth year in office, we give God glory for their lives.
“It is necessary that we continue to praise the name of the Lord our God, because when He fights for us we shall hold our peace. In the last five years, the Lord has continued to fight for us and I am a witness to all the things He has done; even for the challenge that we have at the moment, we will continue to trust in His name.
“He fought for us in the 2019 elections; there were all manners of speculation and all things were said and I still remember a publication somewhere it said that ‘he goes to church every day, he goes to chapel every day; let’s see if the chapel and the church will deliver him in the election’.
“Whenever I remember that publication, I have all reasons to give God the glory more. We will continue to trust in the name of God because we can never be wrong when we trust in Him and that’s why I give God glory that He gave us the opportunity to worship God today.
“The Lord has always been there for us even in trying times. We all are wearing face masks because of the pandemic, and we may be wearing this for three months or even one year but only God has the answer to this challenge.”
He noted though everybody was rushing to find the vaccine but it was only when God permits that the vaccine will come because He is the one that gives us power to have knowledge to solve live challenges.
“The Lord has led us thus far these five years and we must recognise that it is the Lord that made it possible and I want to urge us to continue to call on the name of God because He is ever faithful.’’
He noted that Nigeria’s economy was negatively impacted by the effect of COVID-19 because of its dependence on oil revenue, saying “we produce oil now and there is nobody to buy and the prices have crashed because the world is sitting at home.
“The engines have stopped running and even vehicles have stopped moving. So, obviously it’s big challenge globally.’’
He admitted that his administration had been hamstrung in attaining certain targets because of the pandemic, but expressed confidence that “the Lord will turn things around even in the current economic challenge; and, the things we planned to do we shall accomplish them together in the name of Jesus Christ”.
The governor noted that the state had experienced some security challenges but assured that the new security outfit, “Operation Delta Hawk”, being established by the state government, would stem those challenges.
In his sermon, “I know my redeemer liveth”, Assistant Chaplain of the Chapel, Mr. Matthew Ezedom, said harped on importance of thanksgiving, saying “It is God that protects us all”.
Quoting Job 19:25, he urged Christians to always put their trust in God as “He alone can keep us away from all evil”.