1st July, 2022
The wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu has charged Lagos State Christian pilgrims to see pilgrimage exercise as a spiritually rewarding journey rather than for site-seeing and relaxation.
Sanwo-Olu stated this on Friday during the service of dedication organised by Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board (LSCPWB).
She noted that the theme of the dedication service “Tourist or Pilgrim” was apt as the importance of the pilgrimage exercise had been lost on some pilgrims as they see it as an avenue to go for site-seeing.
Sanwo-Olu enjoined the intending pilgrims to see the pilgrimage exercise as a time for spiritual rejuvenation and uplifting of their faith as all the things read about in the bible would come to life.
“I pray that the pilgrimage exercise will mark a turning point in the way we handle our relationship with God and people around,’’ she said.
The first lady also expressed gratitude to God for the reopening of Israel for pilgrimage exercise after the closure due to Covid-19 pandemic.
She, however, enjoined the intending pilgrims to be good ambassadors of the State while adhering to Covid-19 safety protocols in order to stem the tide and take necessary precautions against monkeypox.
Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi, said the event was organised to dedicate and commit all the intending pilgrims as well as State officials into the shelter of the Almighty God as they proceed on pilgrimage to the holy lands of Israel and Jordan.
He enjoined the intending pilgrims to see the pilgrimage exercise as purely a spiritual journey and not a vacation.
“May I also remind us that the pilgrimage exercise is purely a spiritual journey and not a vacation. For this reason, you will be invited to attend early morning devotion just as you will visit many biblical historical sites where you will offer prayers’’.
The commissioner also enjoined the pilgrims to offer prayers of intercession for their families, loved ones, Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole while expressing thanks to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for his commitment and benevolence towards the ministry and the agencies under it.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Sewedo Oluseyi Whenu admonished the intending pilgrims to conduct themselves as good ambassadors of Christ and the State in words and deeds.
He charged them to have a deep sense of responsibility while emulating the 2021 Easter pilgrims where there was no single case of abscondment nor misconduct recorded against any of them.
The chairman, LSCPWB, Rt. Rev Babatunde C. Akinpelu-Johnson in his sermon “Tourist or Pilgrims” admonished the intending Pilgrims to expect something different during the pilgrimage exercise and have a heart of expectation that God would meet them in a special way.
He, therefore, urged intending pilgrims to be good ambassadors of Christ, the State and Nigeria, saying, “As an ambassador, carry out the instructions, don’t be distracted, have an expectation that you want to receive and not just as a tourist”.
The Board Secretary, Mrs. Florence Yetunde Gbafe, expressed gratitude to Sanwo-Olu for his support while thanking the intended pilgrims for their patronage.
She encouraged the intending pilgrims to be their brothers’ keeper, good ambassadors and participate fully in the pilgrimage exercise.
Bishop Prof. Rufus Oguntuase led the prayers of dedication for the intending pilgrims, the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Nigeria at Large.
The event had in attendance the Special Adviser to Mr. Governor on Christian Religion, Very Rev. Bukola Adeleke; representative of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) Chairman, Mr. Chris Odegbuna, Presiding Chaplain of Christ the Light Chapel, Venerable Ezekiel Oluwadare, Board Members, Lagos State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, among others.