By EDU ABADE,
Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has urged the people of the state not to despair in the face of the obvious challenges caused by the ravaging floods in most parts of the state and entire country.
Diri, who stated this during the 11th yearly thanksgiving service of the state at the Ecumenical Centre in Igbogene, commended the people for turning out _en masse_ for the event despite being displaced and rendered homeless by the floods.
He also commended the resilience of the people he noticed, as he traversed the length and breadth of the state to sympathise with the victims and expressed the hope that better days were ahead.
In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Daniel Alabrah, the governor said some people tried to discourage the state government from holding the annual thanksgiving service due to the flooding, but that he was thankful to God that the event finally held.
He expressed confidence that God Almighty would reward people of the state for their faith and applauded former President Goodluck Jonathan, his predecessor in office, Seriake Dickson, Pastor Paul Eneche and all
those who made sacrifices to be part of the 2022 thanksgiving service.
He stressed that the flood, which did not discriminate based on class or party affiliation, has highlighted the need for leaders and people of the state to unite.
His words: “The irony is that since the floods came, I have been traversing communities and visiting the people across all the local government areas. I have had the privilege of knowing another dimension of grace in the life of our great people. They are resilient, tenacious, courageous, joyous, and full of unexampled charity and thankfulness.
“Wherever I have visited to empathise with the people, I had rather left more edified and energised. From the little that they manage to rescue from their farms, they have given me provision of foodstuff and that is the authentic generous Ijaw spirit, which always looks out for the interest of others.
“I have never been more proud of our people than at this time. Perhaps if the naysayers leave the comfort of their homes, they too will appreciate the mood of the people.”
Speaking further, he said: “Indeed, if there is a time that we need to give thanks, it is now. The Bible declares that those who know their God will be strong and they will do exploits. We only need to reflect on February 13, 2020 to know that we serve a Mighty God. The same God who delivered us from COVID-19 surely will also deliver us from this flood.
“The flood did not affect people along party lines. It should be a clear message to us that we have common challenges and we can only solve them when we are united. As such, we should not be deceived into fractionalising to suit the political interests of politicians, who look for us only when they need our votes.”
Speaking, former President Goodluck Jonathan appreciated former Governor Seriake Dickson for building the Ecumenical Centre and instituting the annual thanksgiving, saying: “As a people, we can achieve nothing without divine help of God.
He also lauded Diri for continuing the thanksgiving, saying his administration has made God a priority and will always receive divine blessings.
On the ravaging floods, Jonathan joined the call for the Federal Government to assist the state in the recovery process, saying he was optimist that given the efforts he had made alongside other leaders, help will come from the centre.
“I commend Dickson for showing commitment to the service of God. He built this edifice and initiated this thanksgiving service. You place God first and God will continue to bless you and the state.
“I also thank Diri for continuing with the programme and I thank the clergymen for their continuous work, as well as Pastor Paul Enenche for his service to God, humanity and nation.
“I do not want to overemphasise the disaster that has befallen us. Everybody is an IDP (internally displaced person) in Bayelsa State. I have discussed with the President and Vice President and I believe help will come. We empathise with all of you. Coming out today when we are still affected by the flood is significant,” Jonathan stated.
In their goodwill messages, Dickson and his then deputy, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John-Jonah (rtd.), stressed the need for the Federal Government to assist the state to mitigate the effects of the flood.
They also commended the people of the state for their display of love for godly things and expressed the hope that divine blessings will never cease from the state as God had never abandoned His people.
Delivering the sermon, Pastor Paul Enenche of the Dunamis International Church, who praised the people for coming out to praise God despite the difficulty times they were facing during the floods, likened their situation to that of the people of God in the past like Paul and Silas, who praised God in difficult moments and were blessed.
The cleric said the grace and mercy of God were the most fundamental assets of a Christian, stressing that the grace of God could make anybody great and prayed for God’s blessings up the state, especially now that the people were going through the challenges of the floods.
1: Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri (left), former President Goodluck Jonathan with former governor and representative of Bayelsa West Senatorial District, Seriake Dickson, during the state’s 11th annual thanksgiving at the Ecumenical Centre, Igbogene in Bayelsa State.
2: Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo (left); Governor Douye Diri and former President Goodluck Jonathan during the state’s 11th annual thanksgiving at the Ecumenical Centre, Igbogene, Bayelsa
3: Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo (left); Governor Douye Diri; Guest Preacher and General Overseer of Dunamis International Church, Paul Enenche and his wife, Becky during the state’s 11th annual thanksgiving at the Ecumenical Centre, Igbogene, Bayelsa State.
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