By Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu
At a point in a people’s history, they pause, appraise their recent and current activities, identify areas they have erred, pray and renew their commitments to God.
Instances abound biblically where devotion to God, and the quality of spiritual life,were renewed .At these various instances,substantial turning to God took place,and spiritual life was deepened.
Wide range of circumstances have trailed these spiritual renewal and common factors have associated these renewal. The most important issue is that God has always used many different causes and accompanying features in bringing about this new quality of spiritual life.
Recent events in Abia have showed a wave of revival which has manifested in remarkable improvement in devotion to God by God’s people.In many instances, these revivals revolve around certain leading individuals, such as a head of family or clan, like Jacob in the bible.
The personality driving this revival in Abia aimed at rededicating the state to God is no other person than the Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu. The events culminated in the”rededication and thanksgiving service” held at Umuahia Township Stadium Wednesday(17th). The service was anchored on two premises: One, the state is rededicated to God;two, Abians celebrated the hard-earned victory of their hard working and performing governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu.
In his moving speech at Okpara Auditorium a day after his Supreme Court victory,Gov. Ikpeazu of Abia State has described his victory as an impetus for more work and services to the people of Abia State and Nigeria.
According to him, the victory is the victory of God, the victory of justice, victory of David over Goliath and the victory of the common masses, adding that there is no victor and no vanquished.
Ikpeazu said he needed to get out of the distractions of legal tussles so he will focus his attention and channel all his energies on service delivery and thanked the supreme court for giving him the impetus to continue with his revolution of rebuilding the state.
For him,with the distractions over, the tempo of infrastructural renewal drives in the state will be accelerated in the days ahead.
While extending an olive branch to all his detractors and advised them to shield their sword and join him in his crusade of development for Abia State, he appealed that nobody should trouble him again.
The Governor also thanked the people of Abia State for their support and doggedness throughout the campaigns, the elections and the legal battle that have stressed the entire state, adding that there is now light at the end of the tunnel.
He reaffirmed his covenant with the people and maintained that his victory is a clarion call for greater stewardship to the people of Abia, noting that he will remain consistent with his vision of putting the people first.
Of all the governor’s speech in that occasion, one was striking. Quoting from the bible, Galatians 6: 17 and repeating after Paul of Tarsus, the Governor said: “From now on, let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of my lord Jesus”.
For a deeper understanding of the above verse and clarification, an analysis of the verse would be pertinent.
The major plank on which the argument where is premised is circumcision. Many Gentiles in Paul’s day viewed circumcision as barbaric custom. Here,Paul exposes the motive driving the circumcision campaign of the false teachers. There motivation was triggered by national identity relegating to the background obedience to law. The false teachers were not teaching circumcision and law because of its moral transformation implication on the Galatian Christians or that the Galatian Christians would attain new spiritual heights rather their basic motivation was to boast to fellow Jews that they were good Jews. Their actions negate he central command”Love your neighbour as thy self”, which is Paul’s position and” the way of the cross”.
Like Paul cautioned his detractors in the Galatian era, Gov. Ikpeazu is in the mood of governance. Now that the legal tussles are over, further distractions will not be healthy to the state. He needs every time in the world to concentrate on his mandate of delivering dividends of democracy .Ikpeazu needs all the time in the world to sustain his transformational agenda which has seen his administration in over 40 roads construction sites. He requires all the time in the world to think beyond the oil economy in the midst of the dwindling fortunes from that sector.
A transformation that has elicited applaud and vote of confidence from high-profile personalities such as Rev. Uma Ukpai .Recently when the governor and his exco paid the cleric and unscheduled visit in Uyo, Rev. Ukpai could not conceal his elation thus:” I danced in my room after seeing a galaxy of street lights in Aba. I couldn’t believe I was in Aba. I slept off and dreamt I was in Uyo.”
He said he was excited to see the huge road construction work that Governor Ikpeazu has done in the state within a short period of eight months, saying that the new network of street lights made him to have a sound sleep on his recent visit to Aba.
He noted that Ikpeazu brought creativity and innovation to bear in his approach to governance, stressing that he was making the impossible possible in the face of the state’s dwindling economy.
The cleric said he was highly impressed in what he described as the Governor’s ‘early signals” and expressed hope that Abia will witness a watershed of development and progress under him.
He further described the governor as ‘God’s Anointed One” whom he has raised for a purpose in Abia and emphasized that he was overwhelmed by the governor’s ‘coat of humility” from the first day he met him.
The cleric stated that having visited him and received his blessings, things will change in Abia and the narrative will never be the same again.
He further vouched his commitment to Governor Ikpeazu and his government adding that he will never relent in his supplications and prayers for the success of the government. ‘I will remain committed to you and the government of Abia State,” he said.
The cleric advised Abians to rededicate the state to God and renew their prayer life as every good thing including riches of nations and individual prosperity comes from God.
The emergence of Gov. Ikpeazu to serve as the Governor of Abia, the “God’s Own State” at such critical period of the state’s history is divinely-inspired. The obscurity of his candidacy could be likened to that of the biblical King David.
His most pronounced outing before now was when he was saddled with responsibility to sweep the streets of Aba as the Deputy- General Manager (Aba and its environ) of Abia State Environmental Protection Agency(ASEPA). Ikpeazu did not only sweep the streets but swept they well.” If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well”. Martin Luther King.
His emergence as the governor of the state is a complete attestation that the race is not for the swift, nor the battle for to the strong.”I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all”.-Ecclesiastes 9:11.
As we renew our commitments to God in this revival time, 1Corinthians 1:10 beckons :”Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment”.
Ukegbu is the Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Ikpeazu on media.