Against, the backdrop of mounting challenges bordering on the COVID-19 pandemic, economic downturn and insecurity, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State still managed to sponsor pilgrims to the Holy Land.
The Executive Secretary of Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), Rev. Dr Yakubu Pam, dropped this hint while commending Governor Ugwuanyi for his commitment to God and exemplary leadership in spite of the nation’s economic, security and public health challenges.
Speaking when he addressed pilgrims from Enugu and Benue States, who were departing for Jordan from the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, Rev. Pam disclosed that Ugwuanyi is the only State Chief Executive in the South East and South-South geo-political zones of the country who had so far sponsored candidates in the ongoing Easter pilgrimage to Jordan for 2021.
The NCPC Executive Secretary expressed delight that Ugwuanyi, notwithstanding the nation’s daunting challenges such as insecurity, the COVID-19 pandemic and economic meltdown, among others, sacrificed a lot to sponsor candidates for the pilgrimage.
Rev. Dr Pam maintained that the Enugu State governor remained the only governor in the South East and South-South zones to achieve this Christian profiling feat at the moment “except if Delta State pays within the next few days before the last batch leaves Nigeria for Jordan on August 22.”
The NCPC boss also applauded the governor for his administration’s immeasurable contributions to the comprehensive upgrade of facilities at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, to international standard, by the federal government, stressing that the governor’s ingenuity had equally been manifested in the airport project.
According to him, “The federal government listed Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, as one of the airports that will lift pilgrims to Jordan, very soon people from Lagos and other parts of Nigeria will be coming to Enugu to board planes internationally, courtesy of the governor.”
He, therefore, enjoined the beneficiaries to be disciplined, behave according to the laid down norms and avoid anything that would bring disrepute to Enugu and Benue States, and Nigeria at large.
Addressing the departing pilgrims, Governor Ugwuanyi urged them to be of good conduct and focus squarely on the spiritual aim of the exercise and pray fervently for their various states and Nigeria, throughout their stay in the Holy Land.
Represented by his deputy, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo, the governor, who enlightened the people on the inherent benefits of the visit to Jordan, further advised them to be “good ambassadors of Enugu and Benue states and Nigeria.”
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary, Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Enugu State, Nestor Ezeme, lauded Governor Ugwuanyi for achieving such feat, saying: “We are here because of His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi made it possible; not minding what the country is passing through, he sponsored us to this spiritual journey.”
On her part, the Benue State’s Executive Secretary, Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Dr Mrs Dorcas Otalo, thanked the Governors of Enugu and Benue States, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Dr Samuel Ortom, respectively, for sponsoring pilgrims from their states, stating that “it is a spiritual journey, not a jamboree.”
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