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Sermon Preached By Archbishop Enyindah on 2023 Pentecost Sunday at the Rivers State Government Handover Thanksgiving Service [FULL TEXT] | Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)

Sermon Preached By Archbishop Enyindah on 2023 Pentecost Sunday at the Rivers State Government Handover Thanksgiving Service [FULL TEXT]

  • Korede Akintunde
  • June 4, 2023
  • 0 Comments

The Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Niger Delta and Bishop of Ikwerre Diocese Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Reverend Blessing Chinyere Enyindah has commended former Governor Wike for his numerous projects, especially the consruction of overhead bridges and good network of roads.

He noted this at the thanksgiving Service held at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Diobu, Port Harcourt, Rivers State to mark the end of the administration of the former Rivers State Governor, Barr. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike and welcome the new State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara and his Deputy, Prof. Ngozi Odu.

In his sermon titled, “Thus Far The Lord Has Helped Us,” taken from Exodus 15:1-2, Archbishop Enyindah eulogised the former Governor of Rivers State, Barr. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, describing him as an astute politician, outspoken leader, a forthright and candid personality, and a transformational leader.

“We have come to count our blessings as a state, recognise the grace of God that was sufficient for the outgoing administration of Governor Wike, and ask God for more of this grace for the leadership of Sir Siminalayi Fubara and Prof. (Mrs.) Ngozi Odu.“Our text today was a thanksgiving song composed by Moses after the Lord divided the Red Sea and brought the children of Israel out of Egypt. Moses took cognisance of the hand and power of God that delivered them from the dangers of the Red Sea and the Egyptian bondage. He knew it was not — military prowess. Of course, he had none that delivered them from Egyptian bondage. He recognised that it was not the multitude of the soldiers; for they were slaves and had no soldiers with weapons,” he said.

The Archbishop who noted that the efforts of the former governor and his team would have been futile without the help of God, said: “This is why the governor and Rivers people are thanking God today. Like Apostle Paul, they are saying, ‘but by the grace of God I am what I am: and the grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me,” (I Cor. 15:10).Also like the Psalmist, the governor and the people of Rivers State are saying: “There is no King saved by the size of his army; a mighty man is not delivered by much strength,” (Psalm 33:16).

’” There is no gainsaying the fact that except the Lord built this state, the builders would have laboured in vain and except the Lord watched over us, we would have been consumed by the fire of the enemy. So, we thank God for His goodness on this administration.And we join in their celebration because as a people, we are the beneficiaries of this good governance. Like Julius Caesar said, “you have come, you have seen and you have conquered.” And like Apostle Paul said to Timothy, “you have fought a good fight, you have ran the race, what awaits you now is God’s reward. You did the best you can with the resources and the grace of God available to you. We say a big congratulations.”He called on the govenors to forgive their offenders for their own good, adding that it is not easy to serve the public.

Advising the incumbent governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara and his Deputy, Prof. Ngozi Odu, Enyindah quoted the words of the former President of America, Abraham Lincoln, as saying: “With malice towards none, with charity for all; with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right.”He urged the governor and his deputy to carry everybody along. He said: “You are governor of Rivers State and not of a section of Rivers State. You must not show hatred to anyone whether they are in the opposition or not. I heard you say, ‘the doors and windows are open.’ I advised that you allow them to come through the door only not the window because only criminals come through the window.”The Bishop called on the new administration to depend on God for wisdom like King Solomon did and succeeded.“You have to be firm in what is right. Do not be swayed by the antics and selfish interests of power brokers. Stand up for what is right. Stand up for what would be in the interest of Rivers people. You need to know that in governance if you have not stepped on toes, it probably means you are standing still. When you do these things, you would succeed even more than your predecessor and this would make all of us who gathered here today happy. We wish you well,” the cleric added.

SERMON PREACHED BY THE ARCHBISHOP OF THE ECCLESIASTICAL PROVINCE OF NIGER DELTA AND BISHOP, DIOCESE OF IKWERRE, THE MOST REV. DR. BLESSING CHINYERE ENYINDAH, DSSRS, JP, AP ON THE OCCASION OF THE THANKSGIVING SERVICE MARKING THE END OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF HIS EXCELLENCY, CHIEF BARR. NYESOM EZENWO WIKE, CON, GSSRS, POS (AFRICA), LIFE BENCHER GOVERNOR OF RIVERS STATE AND THE INAUGURATION OF THE GOVERNOR–ELECT, SIR SIMINALAYI FUBARA AND HIS DEPUTY, PROF. (MRS.) NGOZI ODU AT ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL, DIOBU, PORT HARCOURT ON SUNDAY, 28TH MAY, 2023.

Preamble Let us pray Take a song “We are grateful Oh Lord……” “Ndam emelem wee…….” Good morning, everyone.

We thank God for the gift of a new day to all of us and the privilege and the opportunity to be in His presence this Sunday morning.

Today is Pentecost Sunday, a day in the liturgical calender when the church marks the coming of the Holy Spirit to empower the Children of God for a better service to God and humanity. Peter who denied Jesus three times was able to address the Jews after the Holy Spirit came upon him and three thousand people believed the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a good coincidence that this service is holding today. A leaders both political, religious and secular need the power of the Holy Spirit to lead well.

I am particularly grateful to Him for this singular honour I have to share some thoughts with the congregation of Rivers people in this special thanksgiving service. Thanks to the Bishop of the Diocese of Niger Delta North, Rt. Rev. Wisdom Ihunwo for the use of his Cathedral and his pulpit. My brother Bishops in the chancel we welcome you. Greetings to the Executive Governor of our State, His Excellency, Chief (Barr) Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON, GSSRS, POS (Africa), Life Bencher and his wife. The Deputy Governor and Senator-elect, Dr. (Mrs,) Ipalibo Harry-Banigo.

The Governor-elect Sir Siminalaye Fubara, DSSRS and the Deputy Governor-elect, Prof. (Mrs.) Ngozi Odu, DSSRS, special greetings to you. Welcome to you all in this special service.

TOPIC: THUS FAR THE LORD HAS HELPED US TEXT: EXODUS 15:1-2

Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spoke saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider He has thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song, He is become my salvation: He is my God, and I will prepare Him a habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.

INTRODUCTION: We are all gathered here today to celebrate the goodness of the Lord on our State, Rivers and on the out–going Governor, His Excellency, Chief (Barr) Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. Governor Wike as we all know has governed our State successfully for eight years. Without mincing words, Governor Wike is an astute politician, an outspoken leader, a forthright and candid personality and a transformational leader. His administration was impactful.

Under his administration, we have recorded monumental achievements that could convince even the pundits and critics. He was named Mr. Project when he had not done a quarter of what we have today in Rivers State. With what we have on ground now, he ought to have another nomenclature more than Mr. Project. I listened to a joke recently where someone said, “If there is hold up in your backyard, call Governor Wike to come and construct a flyover there.” Today I can drive into my family compound because of his internal road project in my village, Omerelu. We are happy with these beautiful descriptions and nomenclatures given to our dear Governor. We would have been sad if it was otherwise. To God be the glory.

This is why we are here. We have come:

i. To count our blessings as a State

ii. To recognize the grace of God that was sufficient for this out-going administration of Governor Wike.

iii. To ask God for more of this grace and leadership in the in-coming administration of Sir Siminalayi Fubara and Prof. (Mrs.) Ngozi Odu.

Our text today was a thanksgiving song composed by Moses after the Lord divided the Red sea and brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. Moses took cognizance of the hand and power of God that delivered them from the dangers of the Red sea and the Egyptian bondage. He knew it was not – military prowess, of course, he had none that delivered them from Egyptian bondage. He recognized that it was not the multitude of army; for they were slaves and had no soldiers with weapons.

No doubt, the Governor and his team labored, strategized, planned and executed a number of projects and programmes in order to deliver on their campaign promises. But all these would have been futile without the help of God. This is why the Governor and Rivers people are thanking God today. Like Apostle Paul they are saying “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and the grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more than they all: yet not I but the grace of God which was with me” (I Cor. 15:10). Also like the Psalmist, the Governor and the people of Rivers State are saying, “There is no king saved by the size of his army; a mighty man is not delivered by much strength” (Psalm 33:16). I can perceived the governor as an Ikwerre man singing “sobula chiokike mezere eme ola” There is no gainsaying the fact that except the Lord built this State, the builders would have laboured in vain and except the Lord watched over us, we would have been consumed by the fire of the enemy.

So we thank God for his goodness on this administration. And we join in their celebration because as a people, we are the beneficiaries of this good governance. Like Julius Ceaser said “You have come, you have seen and you have conquered” And like Apostle Paul said to Timothy “You have fought a good fight, you have ran the race, what awaits you now the God’s reward” You did your best you can with the resources and the grace of God available to you. We say a big congratulations.

I have a few words for the Governors and I want to use this medium to convey these words to them. i. Forgive your offenders for your own good: It is not easy to serve the public. Some would love you and some would hate you. Your ability to forgive those who wronged you determines how happy you become. When Nelson Mandela was released from prison, he said, “As I stand before the door to my freedom, I realize that if I do not leave my pain, anger and bitterness behind me, I will still be in prison.”

Your Excellency, if you don’t forgive your offenders, you cannot be free. Meanwhile everyone of us offends at one point or the other and we are forgiven by God in the same measure we forgive others. ii. There are still more lands to conquer: When Joshua was old and he thought he had done much for God and so should retire, God told him, “There are still more lands to conquer” (Josh. 13:1).

Your Excellency, you can still do more. The onus lies in you to figure out how you can do more for the State in particular and for our dear nation in general. Let me at this juncture turn our attention to the in–coming Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara and his Deputy, Prof. (Mrs.) Ngozi Odu and offer a little piece of advice. In his second inaugural address as the President of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln said, “With malice towards none, with charity for all; with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right.” These were the words of a great leader and they are very instructive. From this statement, I advise you to: i. Carry everybody along: You are Governor of Rivers State and not of a section of Rivers State. You must not show hatred to anyone whether they are in the opposition or not.

I heard you say “the doors and windows are open” I advised that you allow them to come through the door only not the window because only criminals come through the window. I the people concerned you to take advantage of the open doors. ii. Ask God for wisdom to know what is right: Decision making is very important in governance. There are simple, difficult and complex decisions to make in governance. You need God to guide you to the right decisions from time to time. When Solomon was made king, he saw the enormity of the task before him and prayed And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king instead of David my father: And I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people which you have chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore your servant an understanding heart to judge your people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this your so great a people (I Kings 3:7-9).

You need God’s illumination to distinguish between right and wrong. So pray for it and mediate in the word of God. Find time as a Christian and a Knight of St. Christopher, a carrier of Christ, a soldier of Christ to meditate in the word of God for therein lies the wisdom for success and prosperity in leadership and governance (Josh.1:8). What I am I saying “God first”. iii. You have to be firm in what is right: Do not be swayed by the antics and selfish interests of power brokers. Stand up for what is right. Stand up for what would be in the interest of Rivers people. You need to know that in governance, if you have not stepped on toes, it probably means you are standing still. When you do these things, you would succeed even more than your predecessor and this would make all of us who gathered here today happy. We wish you well.

As I conclude this sermon, I want to assure you of our prayers. We would continue to pray for the out-going Governor for God’s grace to attain higher heights in their career and for good health and long life to enjoy the works of their hands. And we would continue to pray for the in-coming Governor to serve Rivers people in the will of God, to win the battles in governance; for we know that there is a spiritual dimension to governance, and finally, to be a blessing to Rivers People by delivering the dividends of democracy to the people because people are the fulcrum of any meaningful development. In doing this, remember “Inye ine eba, inye indi eba”.

Let us pray.

Most Rev’d. Dr. Blessing C. Enyindah, DSSRS, JP, AP. May 28, 2023.

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