Ecumenical Centre: Now that Dickson has put Bayelsa in God’s hands

By Editor on 07/11/2017

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Dickson and Adeboye at the dedication

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness." 1 Corinthians 3:19. “A wise man's heart directs him toward the right, but the foolish man's heart directs him toward the left. Even when the fool walks along the road, his sense is lacking and he demonstrates to everyone that he is a fool.” Ecclesiastes 10:2.

There are many more biblical verses which underscore the fact that the way of God is far different from that of man and that those who follow God’s ways look foolish in the eyes of man.

What could be more foolish than Abraham agreeing to sacrifice his only son, after many years of childlessness and the likelihood of not getting another after that singular act? Why would Mary, waste such an expensive perfume on the feet of Jesus? Why wasn't this perfume sold for 300 denarii and the money given to the destitute, as Judas Iscariot suggested? Indeed, why should Jesus Christ remain silent in the presence of Pontus Pilate, when he has all the mastery of language and argument to outwit the Roman Governor? Why would he choose to die when He had the powers to destroy all those who executed Him? Why would He even ask for forgiveness for those who killed him, so disgracefully?

That similar questions are being asked by many today, regarding the construction of the breathtaking edifice that is the Bayelsa Ecumenical Centre (BEC), built by Governor Seriake Dickson, which was commissioned on Wednesday, October 31, 2017, is expected.

Why should the governor employ such huge resources to construct this gigantic project when such could be used for other “useful” purposes? Of what economic interest is it to the people of Bayelsa State? What business does a government have with religion?

But, as it was with Judas, most of the people who put up these questions, may not have the supposed good intentions or the interest of those they appear to speak up for at heart. Instead, the reason may oscillate between envy, fault-finding, outright mischief or at best, ignorance, in line with the biblical saying - my people perish for lack of knowledge.

Instructively, like Noah paid no heed to those who questioned what he was doing constructing the Ark, and even mocked him, because they lacked knowledge, Dickson successfully brushed aside the naysayers and continued with his single-minded purpose.

Today, the 10,000-capacity imposing structure, is standing with all its magnificence and awe in the heart of Igbogene suburb of Yenagoa, the state capital. By that, The Countryman Governor, not only successfully accomplished the covenant he made with God, but effectively buried his state in the hollow of God’s hands. 

Located in Igbogene area of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, the building, which commenced over five years ago, boasts of two libraries, including an e-library, special locations for retreats, cafeteria and a restaurant. It is also equipped with a rotating alter, an archive, prayer rooms, a Very Important Person (VIP) and a main auditorium.

 To ensure that the project and its import outlived his administration, he also signed the Bayelsa State Ecumenical Centre Management Board bill into law, thus, raising constitutional body, which he explained, would ensure sustainability and proper maintenance of the facility.

Indeed, the BEC, is a project that has the capacity to continue to confound many, especially those who believe that everything begins and ends with the physical, while enlivening others who are certain of the superiority of the spiritual and in fact, know that it is the spiritual that drive the physical.


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These were indeed the point made by the various speakers at the event. Capturing the entire essence of the project, which he explained was one of the legacy projects of his administration, Dickson, told his audience at the commissioning ceremony that the edifice was in fulfilment of the vow he made to God prior to coming into office to build a befitting place of worship where people of the state would gather for the Bayelsa annual thanksgiving service, another of his promise and other religious activities.

The argument, is simple. The governor had undertaken to transform the state into what he called the Jerusalem of the Ijaw nation, Bayelsa, being the only state in Nigeria that is completely Ijaw in origin and thus capital of the Ijaw nation.

Gazing into the future, he must have seen the enormity of the task ahead in accomplishing this goal and discovered that he needed far more than his personal capacity or indeed that of any human capacity to attain. Therein lies his appeal to a superior power – his creator.

That, ostensibly explains why he attributed the success of the project to God. Instructively, the sheer resilience and tenacity put up by the governor to accomplish the feat in the face of the current recession in the country, to underscore the importance he attached to it. To him, it was all about gratitude and thanking God for all the good things He had been doing for the state and the Ijaw nation.

He also underlined the great efforts put in the strict management of resources to see the project through, stating that only one like the Restoration Government, which he was running could have delivered on such an iconic project like the Centre in the face of the difficulty trailing it.

He even saw the fact that he was the one found worthy to build the structure more rewarding, given the fact that not everyone including David, who desired the same dream was given the opportunity to build a house for God.

Hear him: ‘‘No one should take glory and credit for building a place of worship. We are only mortals and instruments effecting His will on earth. Thank God we are the instruments God used in making the Centre a reality but we cannot take the glory for all glory go to God. Thank God it is not everybody who wants to build a house for God is privileged to do so. I consider myself privileged and honoured to have conceived and built the Ecumenical Centre and seen it to fruition. ‘’

Both Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, and the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, were also not less forthcoming in their enthusiasm in support of the project, while offering their own perspectives.

In fact to emphasise the importance he attached to it, Adeboye, said he had to leave behind the preparations for the month’s edition of the church’s monthly Holy Ghost Service to attend.

Full of praises to the governor for embarking on the project, he stressed that Dickson should count himself among the lucky few that had earned the permission to build a house for God adding that the people of Bayelsa should count themselves lucky to have a governor, who put God first.

Commending the magnificence of the structure, he said: “I had to leave behind our monthly Holy Ghost service to be here today to answer to the governor’s invitation to the occasion because of my love for Bayelsa. We must all strive to serve God and humanity in truth,” he said.

Osinbajo, himself a pastor in the same church, represented by the Chaplain of Aso Rock Villa, Pastor Seyi Malomo, was no less elated, stressing the significance of the symbolic aspect of the project with regards to nation building.

He said that the fact that Dickson was able to complete such a gigantic project, presupposed that Nigeria could be built by the people, but only with dedication to God, such as the governor had depicted with his own tenacity.

Hear him: “By 2050, Nigeria will be the fourth largest nation in the World and we can like China become one of the 10 most successful economies in the World by that date. This is our best moment because we have shown that despite the lowest earnings from oil in the past fifteen years and in 2016, we can still build and be involved in capital projects.

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‘‘How is that possible, you may ask, it is by the grace of God and commitment to build. We have shown that as difficult as painful as recession might be, we have the capacity to come out and begin the building of an economy that emphasizes productivity and we provide enough jobs.’’

Other stakeholders also added their perspectives, with the Deputy Governor of the state, Gboribiogha Jonah, saying: “It is marvelous, it is glamorous, it is good, it is befitting. We thank God for giving us a person who will have this type of vision. I’m happy I’m part of this history.”  

Alfred Diete-Spiff, Chairman of the Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council, also enthused: It’s a national monument. It is God’s grace and God’s wisdom that must have entered the mind of our governor to think of this and by the grace of God, to execute it.”

Tor Fred Agbebi, member House of Representatives: “God’s house is the best an edifice to the glory of God and the blessing of the governor and blessing of Bayelsa, shall be bountiful and limitless.”

Speaker of the House of Assembly, Kombowei Benson, was not only full of praises for the governor’s initiative, but explained that building of landmark edifices had defined his administration.

Hear him: “This is one of the architectural wonders of the Dickson administration. You can find this kind of edifice only in Bayelsa in the whole of Nigeria. The restoration government is not only appreciated by mouth, but by the show of infrastructure. That’s what has been achieved here. He has done several other infrastructures – buildings, road construction. This is another feat.

“One cannot quantify what is here. If you go in there, you’ll be able to appreciate the ecumenical wonders of God. This is an ecumenical wonder. And for us, as partners and brothers of the restoration government, we are so elated.

It is mesmerizing. It is all-encompassing. You can see how glamorous every place is looking. Everybody is in high spirits. And that is the spirit of God descending on all men and women, boys and girls.

At the first thanksgiving to be held inside the magnificent edifice, two days after, the governor and the religious leaders, were again quite optimistic about the prospect of the initiative opening the floodgate of good tidings in the state.

Hear the governor: “Our expectation is that, every thanksgiving service, especially this one, the first of its kind that is holding in this Ecumenical Centre, will usher in a new era of renewal of our families, reconciliation and unity, economic prosperity and revival. Let this thanksgiving service every year, draw us nearer to God from whom all blessings flow.” 

“For those of us in service, let this thanksgiving continue to renew our determination to serve with the fear of God and always doing that which is right, fair and good before God and man. On this Thanksgiving Day, my message for all is a message of solidarity, re-union and of reconciliation.” 

Malomo, who again spoke on behalf of the Osinbajo, highlighted the significance of thanksgiving in the life of an individual, saying: “Since the Bayelsa Annual Thanksgiving Day Service coincided with the period Nigeria emerged 24th place in ‘World Doing Business’ report, it signifies open doors of blessings for Bayelsa State.” 

Guest Speaker, Rev. Dr. Uma Ukpai, while speaking in the same vein, made references to the scriptures, saying thanksgiving was a commandment from God to mankind and anyone who desires to command the wealth of God, must at all times, show gratitude to God.

Identifying ignorance about the ways of God, as the greatest obstacle in a man’s life towards achieving limitless possibilities, he stressed: “If they want to be promoted, let the people and nations praise God and then shall the earth yield her increase.”   

“Many of us can’t give thanks to those, who have helped us in life to become who we are. We need to remember those who have helped us, which is exactly what Governor Dickson has done by erecting this edifice.”

Ostensibly, this groundswell of approval, certainly shows that Dickson is not alone in his decision to hand the state over to God. What remains, perhaps is for the ayes to nourish this attitude by making adequate use of the facility, in the hope that even the naysayers, would soon see the reason to join the train. Like the investors, after financing a good project would sit down to read the tea leaves, the Dickson camp, may certainly take their drinks contentedly at the moment, whilst waiting to call the party by the time the goodies begin to flow in.  

For as the governor emphasized: “How many people thought that I’ll be here to hand this over when we were doing the last elections? How many thought that I’ll occupy the office that I built – the best governor’s office? But God said it should be so. And we are here completing magnificent, life-changing projects for our people, changing our state. As I said in my inaugural address, after my tenure, this state and the Ijaw nation, won’t be the same again.” The world waits.




Posted on November, 7 2017

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