By SEYE OJO (who was in Warri)
Warri, a popular town in Delta State, was agog for a week when thousands of people from Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Liberia, United Kingdom, United States, Canada and other places converged on the Salem City, Warri-Sapele Road. It was the annual feast of tabernacles organised by the God’s Kingdom Society (GKS), which took place from Sunday, December 16 to Sunday 23, 2012, at the St. Urhobo Square in the Salem City. It was a sort of harvests of testimonies at the feast when hundreds of people did special thanksgivings for the goodness of God over their lives.
The current Commissioner for Higher Education in Delta State, Professor Hope Eghagha, could not hide his joy over his deliverance from kidnappers that seized him for many days. He and his wife danced admirably to the altar for the thanksgiving. Also, some families were grateful to God that they mistook petrol for kerosene and cooked with it in their stoves for three days. They gave glory to God that their stoves did not explode till they discovered that the liquid was Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
Laity Chairman of GKS, Chief Emmanuel Ogidi, former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta State and former Commissioner that represented Delta State on the Board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), also danced to the altar with smiles for God’s protection and faithfulness. The feast, which kicked off with a procession from the Carvegina Primary School, formal Dore-Numa College, Ochuks Academy and Igbudu Primary School, had members of GKS assembled in the four locations in Warri before they marched to the Salem City. They were received by the chairman, Executive Board of GKS, Brother Godwin Ifeacho, with the assistance of the vice chairman, Brother Felix Adedokun and other ministers.
The first day of the feast was rounded off with public lectures on the importance of the feast of tabernacles and why God’s Kingdom is the desired of all nations. The programme featured public lectures from Monday to Thursday. The topics included: Is the Soul Immortal? Beware of the Broad Way, Who are those going to Heaven? How are Saints Made? The Act of God, and Passing the Time of our Sojourning here in Fear. On Thursday, the Executive Board of the society formally received delegates from Nigeria and abroad to the feast. This was followed by the review of the activities during the programme by the Publicity Secretary, Brother Benedict Hart. The day also featured lectures on the topics: Brethren, be not Weary in Well doing and It is the Truth not Miracles that will bring Salvation. Women Fellowship of the society took the centre stage on Friday morning with lectures on the topics: The Fashion of this World Passeth Away and Emulating the Qualities of Faithful Women in the Bible. A colourful music festival brought the activities on Friday to a close.
Fourteen chorales from different parts of the country made special presentations in their dialects. The choristers did not only sing beautifully, they also wore their traditional costumes and danced very well to the native songs. But a 10-year-old boy, Chizorom Anujike, a JSS Two student stole the show. He spectacularly beat a drum set for the Aba Kingdomite Orchestra during their rendition and he won an educational scholarship from a member of the church to study to any level he desires. On Saturday morning, there was a glorious procession of women from the Salem City through some major streets in Warri and back to the city where they presented an address and gifts to the Lord’s Ministry.
All the women put on uniformed Ankara fabrics crested with, GKS Women Fellowship. When the women were on procession, the children between the ages of five and 12 assembled for a lecture on walking as children of light. In the evening, there were lectures on the need to abide in God’s organisation and the need for Christians to beware of what they sow in life. On Sunday morning, there was a colourful procession of the celebrants from Salem City through some streets in Warri as a public demonstration of faith and allegiance to God and Jesus Christ. More than 150 groups participated in the street carnival.
The grand finale of the programme, holy convocation, was held in the evening. It featured a powerful address by Brother Ifeacho, special anthem by the national choir, a public declaration of faith in God and Jesus Christ, their established Kingdom and the Lords Ministry by the GSK Laity. In his address tagged: I Will never Leave Thee nor Forsake Thee, Brother Ifeacho said he chose the topic to strengthen the faith of members of the society towards facing the perils of the times with fortitude and hope.
“Those who have become hopeless and depressed because of the troubles of this world should turn to God, our fortress, shield and saviour in the day of affliction and calamity. We all should continually look to God Almighty, who has given us sure promises of deliverance anytime we are in trouble. “Dearly beloved celebrants, let me emphasize that those whom God has called to serve Him must have strong faith in Him and exercise patience in order to be in close fellowship with Him. This calls for good heart condition and the doing of righteousness at all times,” he said. Secretary, National Women Fellowship Committee of GKS (Nigeria and Abroad), Mrs. Comfort Ikekwem, stated the women did the procession to showcase the goodness of God. According to her, the women usually present gifts to the ministers in the church at the end of the procession.
She noted that the hostel project embarked on by the women has been completed and that the group would do more for the society. She added that pays regular visits to motherless babies’ home, orphanages and underprivileged people. Mrs Connie Agbanoma, Secretary, Women’s Fellowship, London branch, thanked God for His faithfulness.
She asserted that since she joined the church and has been attending the feast of tabernacles, her expectations have continued to be met. Former Commissioner for Finance in Delta State, Mr. Love Ojakovo, told newsmen that children of God have been celebrating the feast of tabernacles since the time of the biblical Prophet Moses. He explained that the significance of the feast to individuals and Nigeria could not be overemphasized. “If Nigeria as nation and we all take the message of the feast, not only celebrate it, learn the laws and practise it, Nigeria will be a better country.
What is the end of all the laws of God? It is charity, which is interpreted His Love. If we all practise love, Nigeria will be a better place to stay and leaders will be better leaders, the followers will be better followers. Chairman, Laity of the church, Chief Emmanuel Ogidi, urged all the participants to be doers of the teachings at the feast. By doing so, he said, they would attract the blessings of God. Commenting on the music festival during the feast where 30 groups presented special songs in their dialects and danced to the traditional drums, he said: “Some Christians believe that the bible is against their own tradition. You can dance and sing in your mother tongue to praise God. But you can’t just bring all into the service of God.
But the ones that are good bring them. There is no way we should do away with our custom as long as it is not fetish.” A member of the church, Prince Emmanuel Obelikpeyah, who is the chairman, Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria (ATPN), Delta State branch and Chief Tourist, Hook Tourist Klub, described the processions otherwise known as street carnivals during the programme as second to none. He explained that it was a purely Christian carnival, which was not mixed with idolatry.