The Kogi State Government at the weekend held its maiden Christmas Carol Service at the newly built chapel in Government House, the first ever since the creation of the state 28 years ago.
The state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, thanked God for the privilege to build a house of worship for God, while welcoming worshippers with a deep sense of satisfaction to the chapel called ‘Chapel of Peace and Unity.’
Bello who was represented by his deputy, Chief Edward David Onoja, noted that the significance of the chapel did not only lie in its purpose as a place of worship for Christians, but also a symbol of unity, access and inclusion which his administration had worked to guarantee for all Kogites in the state’s public institutions.
He said, “When we did the ground breaking ceremony for this lovely edifice on 22 July, 2019 (just 5 months ago) 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 her 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”.
The governor appreciated his deputy, Onoja, for sacrificing everything to see the work completed on time, and prayed God to bestow a special blessing on him for his tireless labour of love.
The governor promised to bring the best of his abilities to work for Kogites in his second tenure, while soliciting for prayers, intercession and support from the Christian community and indeed the entire people of Kogi State.
Bello continued: “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.
“May the Blessings of Christ’s Birth and the Benefits of His Death and Resurrection fill our lives and families and towns and states and nation, now and always.
“May the Almighty God bless this Chapel and may He hear His people when they pray unto Him from within it and answer their prayers.”
Earlier, while speaking in his own capacity as a deputy governor, Onoja eulogised the governor for doing the unthinkable thing after 28 years of existence of Kogi State.
He stressed that Bello had done what no other governor had done in the past 28 years, saying God did the unthinkable thing when he brought the governor on board.
”God can use anybody; He makes use of anybody to become somebody without consulting anybody. God does unthinkable things, may God find us worthy to do the unthinkable things,” Onoja said.
In his short exhortation, the state’s CAN chairman, Dr John Ibenu, commended the governor for the gesture, adding that the message of Christmas is a message of the love of God to mankind.
Reading from the Bible in the book of John 3:16 and 1 John 3:5, the Bishop said God gave Jesus to take away our sins, while emphasising that the current happenings around the world were indications and assurance that Jesus is coming again and about to come.
“We live in an age where people make mockery of sin; sin is a sickness but Jesus is the cure,” he said, urging the people to take God first in all they do, and examine their lives to see if they were standing right with God, and called for genuine repentance.
He prayed God to bless the governor who had made himself available for God to be used to build the chapel.
Prayers were offered by men of God for the governor, his cabinet and the entire State, for God’s wisdom and protection for divine guidance and good governance.
In his vote of thanks, the Chapel Chaplain, Pastor Henry Asarapo, commended the governor for the gesture, saying it could only be by the hand of God and prayed for Next Level manifestation of good and greater things in Kogi.