By Njideka Eze
Worried by the level of insecurity in the country and the seeming nonchalant attitude of the Federal Authorities over the many challenges the country is facing , the Christian Association of Nigeria Enugu State chapter organized a prayer rally tagged ‘My Peace I Give Unto You ‘ on Thursday the 20th of May 2021 at Okpara Square.
In an opening remark by the CAN Chairman Enugu State chapter Rev. Emmanuel Ositadimma Edeh, the theme for the prayer rally was occasioned by the prevailing circumstances of the day and as Christians the word of God in John 14:27 quickly comes to mind.
According to the chairman, “We need peace in our hearts, in our homes, communities, in all the Local government areas, the South East and indeed, the whole world.
He thanked the Executive Governor of Enugu State, His Excellency Rt. Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, Church fathers and all the bloc leaders for their support and encouragement in making the prayer rally a success.
In a sermon and congregational prayer led by Rev. Fr. Tony Nnaji, he bemoaned the level of intolerance among the body of Christ. He said it is disheartening the way Christians fight themselves rather than coming together to fight the common enemies. He however advised Christians to put their houses in order and seek for peace in our state and country as one body.
Prayers for different intentions such as, Gratitude to God, Forgiveness of sins, Against insecurity in Nigeria and peace in Enugu state, Youths and Nigerian Leaders were said.
In a note of gratitude, the Auxiliary Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev. Ernest Obodo who is also Enugu State CAN Vice Chairman as well as the Chairman planning committee, thanked all those who attended the prayer rally while stressing that prayer is cardinal for the nation’s salvation.
“If there is anything our state and nation need at this point in time, it is intensive prayer”, Bishop Obodo said.
This need for intensive prayer amidst the grave insecurity, mindless killings and chaos according to His Lordship made the body of Christ in Enugu state gather together with the leaders of civil societies to raise voices to God in prayer.
Speaking further, Bishop Obodo said that what the body of Christ in Enugu state did today is scriptural as well as historical .
His Lordship likened it to the moment in the bible when the children of Israel faced turmoil. At that time, Nehemiah the Governor, and Ezra the Priest gathered the people together and Ezra the Priest read out the scriptures to the hearing of all the people of Israel and explained the sense of it.
Bishop Obodo said the body of Christ in Enugu state have offered these prayers to support the good works of the Governor of the state. “We believe in the words of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council that the joy and hope, the grief and anguish of the men of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted in any way are the joy and hope ,the grief and anguish of the Church” His Lordship said.
“Our country is bleeding and we cannot keep quiet. Our greatest arsenal according to His Lordship is prayer because just like St Paul said, it is not against flesh and blood that we wrestle but against principalities ,powers and against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
“We have cried out to God who is able to save us and we are confident that the peace which the Lord Jesus promised his disciples will not elude us”, His Lordship concluded
Bishop Obodo further thanked the Governor of Enugu State, the state house of Assembly Speaker, State legislative Assembly members as well as the Chief Judge of the state for their support and encouragement .
He also appreciated the bloc leaders, State Directors of CAN , State Officers of CAN and all the committee members .
In his remark, the Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma prayed for peace and security in the Enugu State, South East region and Nigeria, and beseeched God to give Gov. Ugwuanyi more wisdom and strength to continue to discharge his onerous responsibilities diligently, stressing that Enugu State will continue to be in the hands of God.
In his goodwill message, Gov. Ugwuanyi, through the State Commissioner for Information, Nnanyelugo Chidi Aroh, endorsed the prayer rally, pointing out that the peace and security being enjoyed in Enugu State were among the cardinal policies of the present administration.
Aroh noted that it was because of the peace entrenched by Ugwuanyi that all the past governors of the state have come together to chart a new course for the progress of the state, stressing that “it has never happened before”.
The Commissioner added that the governor’s commitment to peace also led to the massive infrastructural transformation in the Judiciary for effective dispensation of justice, “because peace and justice connect”.
Aroh who highlighted some of the remarkable achievements of the Ugwuanyi administration in other spheres of development such as health, roads construction, security, workers’ welfare, etc, in spite of the nation’s economic challenges, said that “these things happened because of God and the existing peace in Enugu State”.