Pilgrimage 2012: Jonathan admonishes pilgrims on good conduct •As FCT committee seeks partnership with NCPC
President Goodluck Jonathan recently at the Presidential Villa, Abuja inaugurated members of the Federal Government delegation for year 2012 Christian Pilgrimage.The president congratulated the 11-man delegation for their well deserved appointment. According to him, the members were appointed based on “character, merit and competence.”
He commended the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC) for the steady increase in the number of Nigerians who undertake pilgrimage exercise.
He added that the commission had made tremendous improvement on airlifting of pilgrims to Israel, adding that the commission has equally performed well by reducing to the barest minimum the issue of abscondment.
The president described members of the delegation “as men and women of reliability and trust.”
He stated that, as Christians go on Holy Pilgrimage, it strengthens their faith and this would help in driving the transformation agenda of the government.
He averred that the essence of the transformation agenda of his government is to transform individuals whose lives would transform the entire nation.
“Pilgrims should be good ambassadors of Nigeria, by shunning any act that may lower the credibility of our country. Rather, they should obey laws, respect culture and norms of the host country, while on pilgrimage.”
Speaking, the leader of the delegation, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, who is also the President of Christian Association Nigeria (CAN), thanked President Jonathan for the honour to represent him in overseeing the 2012 Christian pilgrimage.
He appealed to the President to use his good offices to ensure the signing of Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) between Nigeria and the State of Israel without further delay.
“This would reduce the hours spent on flight and consequently reduces the cost of package,” the cleric said.
He called on local government administrations in the country to support the efforts of the NCPC in sponsoring the less privileged people in the society.
Pastor Oritsejafor promised that his committee would not let the Federal Government down and would turn in a good report to President Jonathan at the end of the exercise.
The 11-man delegation included the President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, who is the leader of the delegation, Pastor Israel Abam, the secretary of the delegation, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Professor Viola Onwuliri and the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs. Sarah Ochekpe.
The members of the delegation were briefed on the activities of the commission by its Executive Secretary, Mr. John Kennedy Opara.
In another development, members of the FCT Committee for this year’s pilgrimage recently visited the NCPC to collaborate with the apex Christian pilgrims regulatory body in Nigeria to ensure a successful pilgrimage exercise this year.
In the words of Senator Aduda “our visit is to identify with the NCPC and the executive secretary who pioneered the affairs of Christian pilgrimage in Nigeria from zero-level to great heights through hard work and patriotic commitment.”
He however, pledged to cooperate with the NCPC boss to ensure that the 2012 pilgrimage exercise is conducted successfully.
Aduda assured the NCPC boss that his committee would be willing to help prevent operational challenges that come with flights scheduled for the Holy land.
He requested Opara to consider and review the flight schedule for FCT pilgrims, which commences soonest.
Aduda prayed that the Lord would grant the executive secretary wisdom to handle the operational challenges of this year’s Christian pilgrimage successfully.
Speaking, Opara congratulated Senator Aduda and his committee members for their re-appointment by the Minister of State for the FCT, Chief Olajumoke Akinjide as members of FCT 2012 Christian pilgrimage.
He, therefore, stressed the need for leaders to institutionalise memories in order to improve upon past efforts and build a virile future.
However, he reminded him that this responsibility meant more work. But as a result-driven person, he would certainly triumph.
Opara explained that NCPC is the only institution that is linked to government and the Bible, thus the commission carries out its mandate conscientiously.
He stated that the era when Christians looked for government sponsorship to pilgrimage is over. He called on Christians to begin to sponsor themselves to pilgrimage as this is the only way they could appreciate the importance of the exercise.