The Executive Governor of AkwaIbom State, His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel has commended the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) for the choice of Uyo for the 2018 Christian Pilgrimage Leaders and Managers Conference.

The Governor who spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem said AkwaIbom State being the first State to host the Pilgrimage Leaders and Managers of Nigeria outside Abuja was strategic. The Governor stated that AkwaIbom State is completely a Christian State and as such would do everythingpossible as a government to provide the enabling environment for Christians to worship God and prosper in their endeavour. He stated that AkwaIbom State is a State named after God thus he said "In AkwaIbom State we strive day in and day out to do what is right".

Dr. Ekuwem explained that Governor Udom realizes that the people and the State are partners in progress, adding that AkwaIbom State is 99% Christians.

Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission, Rev. Uja TorUja thanked the government and the people of AkwaIbom State for receiving the Christian Pilgrimage Leaders and Managers in the State.

According to the NCPC boss, "we are persuaded that AkwaIbom stand on a very stead to make Nigeria become what it should become in the world". He further urged that AkwaIbomState "gives us it leverage by increasing its investment in Christian Pilgrimage". Rev. Uja stated that he would like to see more pilgrims taking responsibilities and to see more of pilgrims from AkwaIbom State.He stated that with the challenges we face in Nigeria, 'we need to increaseour praying commitment and development. He affirmed that pilgrimage has gone beyond sight seeing'.

In the words of the NCPC boss "we want a situation whereby younger people receive leadership, adding that we need to create more opportunities for the younger ones". He stressed the need for the younger ones to grow and contribute to the development of Nigeria.

Rev. Uja affirmed that Nigeria has the largest number of young people in the world. He posited that if we invest in the young people, the whole world will bow down for Nigeria. He explained that Israel's economy is in the hands of their youthwhich explains why the country is doing very well globally.

Earlier, the Chairman of AkwaIbom State Pilgrims Welfare Board, Archbishop Cletus Bassey said the hosting of the Pilgrimage Leaders in Uyo was historic being the first time ever outside Abuja. He thanked NCPC for considering the State fit to host the conference. His words: "AkwaIbom State is the best place to have hosted this conference outside Abuja. This is one place you find peace". He assured that this year the government of the State would do more to sponsor more Christians to the Holy Land.

The 2018 Christian Pilgrimage Leaders and Managers of Nigeria commenced on 10th September, and will end on 12th September 2018. The choice of Uyo was decided in Abuja during the last Pilgrimage Leaders and Managers of Nigeria where it was agreed that the meeting would be rotational across the states.

The essence of this conference is to enable the Pilgrimage leaders and Managers plan, prepare and take decisions on pilgrimage activities towards having a 2018 successful pilgrimage exercise.

The Christian Pilgrimage Leaders and Managers of Nigeria comprises all the States Chairmen and Secretaries of State Pilgrims Welfare Board and their functional staff. Indeed almost all the states chairmen and secretaries were fully in attendance at the meeting.

At the end of the conference, the Pilgrimage Leaders and Managers will be embarking on a one-week pre-visit to Israel for hotel and holy sites inspection preparatory for the main pilgrimage from October to December 2018.

Celestine Toruka

NCPC Media

12th September 2018