Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State was, on Tuesday, conferred with the ‘Best Pilgrimage Governor in the South East Nigeria’ award by the National Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) “for committing resources towards the growth and sustenance of Christian Pilgrimage in Nigeria”.
Presenting the award to Gov. Ugwuanyi, the Executive Secretary, National Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), Rev. Dr. Yakubu Pam said the Commission was impressed with the governor’s commitment to God and the spiritual objectives of the religious exercise, stressing that his administration’s contributions to the noble course in spite of the nation’s challenges are exemplary.
Dr. Pam also expressed delight that Gov. Ugwuanyi has kept the spirit of Enugu alive as “the political, economic and religious headquarters of the South East as designed by the founding fathers”.
The NCPC Executive Secretary disclosed that Enugu came first among the five states of the South East that sponsored pilgrims during the last exercise, saying: “The number of pilgrims that came from Enugu overwhelmed all the other states and that shows that not only politically you (Ugwuanyi) are coordinating, but spiritually you are leading and the best way to encourage you is to come here physically with an award for the best governor in the South East”.
Dr. Pam added that Enugu came third nationally in terms of states that sponsored highest number of pilgrims in the last exercise.
He, therefore, acknowledged Gov. Ugwuanyi as “a friend and an ambassador of NCPC, stating: “You remain our number one ambassador in the South East”.
According to him, “This is one of the reasons that has led us to come here to encourage you that you remain the father to the South East not only in the aspect of pilgrimage but other works we have seen that you have done in terms of infrastructure in the rural areas, in terms of street lights, in terms of intervention on federal roads, among others we have seen with our physical eyes.
“We have also seen your interventions in other areas, and the Executive Secretary, Enugu State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board and the Board Chairman have equally briefed me on all you have been doing in terms of giving full support, office and mobilization to them.
“Permit to say that even the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) which I am also part of has told me of your efforts in supporting the Church leaders in Enugu and even outside Enugu. At the same time, you are a friendly governor; time without number I have seen top religious leaders not only Christians but also those from different faith; I have seen top political leaders coming to Enugu and you have always given them a handshake. No wonder you were able to overcome the crisis of insecurity and all other crises that are disturbing different states; you have gone above them by the grace of God.
“On behalf of the NCPC, I confer on you the 2020 Award of Excellence as the highest sponsor of Christian Pilgrimage in South Eastern Nigeria. Congratulations!”.
Receiving the award, Gov. Ugwuanyi, who went prophetic, described the event as a very humbling experience for him, saying: “All my life, predating my political odyssey, I have always pursued a life of service to others, believing that the goodness of man to man is the God we see”.
According to the governor, “When the Grace of God came calling and it pleased the most High that I become the Chief Servant of this great state, it came as a tonic and opportunity for greater service to greater number of people.
“At inception, our administration put Enugu State in the Hands of God and His Hands have been manifest in all we do. He has delivered us through the most turbulent times and His blessings are still counting.
“The Government and good people of Enugu State are firmly in the Hands of the awe-inspiring God, the El Shaddai, the Adonai, the Yahweh, the Jehovah Nissi, the Elohim, from whom our help comes”.
Gov. Ugwuanyi thanked the leadership of NCPC for the great honour and delightfully dedicated it to the members of the Body of Christ in Enugu State, “the Clergy and other Christian faithful whose prayers, counsel and support afford us the Grace of God for navigating the challenges as they come”.
The governor while also thanking members of the Commission for appreciating the modest efforts of his administration, added: “But indeed all thanksgiving belong to God and the Awardees are the practitioners of Christian Faith in Enugu State”.
Announcing that the State Executive Council (EXCO) has approved the state’s sponsorship of Christian faithful for the February 2022 pilgrimage, to seek God’s face in the New Year, Gov. Ugwuanyi reiterated that his administration shall continue to encourage the people of the state to deepen the practice of Christian faith.
“In the thick of the storms of 2020, encouraging our people to pray and seek divine intervention was indeed our most potent therapy. We prayed, fasted, sponsored our people to embark on pilgrimage.
“To us, 2020 pilgrimage was not just a cost centre but was also the most needful. I dare say, that it worked like magic; it will always work, for the promise of God never fails. We have peace, security and an economically thriving state, to the Glory of God”, the governor said.
The event was witnessed by the State Commissioner for Special Duties, Hon. Mrs. Mabel Agbo; the Executive Secretary of the Board, Barr. Nestor Ezeme; the Chairman, Enugu State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Rev. Emmanuel Edeh; the Chaplain, Government House, Enugu, Rev. Fr. Chinedu Ozoude (Board Member); the Chairman, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Enugu State, Bishop Dr. Godwin Madu (Board Member); the wife of Archbishop of Methodist Church Nigeria, Enugu State, Ezinne Nkechi Ede (Board Member ; the South Zonal Coordinator, NCPC, Sunday Udeh, among others.