Governor Udom Emmanuel: Upholding the Christian Faith Amidst Covid-19 Fight
Throughout the Bible, every King that ever succeeded attained such feat through uncompromising obedience to the Almighty God, and the principle has not changed till today. From our religious background, we have understood that except the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain that built it, and so is governance.
In great democracies like The United States of America, Canada, Italy, and many other developed climes, their leaders are still subject to the Supremacy of God, no matter how powerful men view them. In the midst of the pandemic when all knowledge, intelligence, mastery and scientific prowesses have failed, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte cried out that their only hope remains up in the sky, and finally prayed, “God rescue your people”.
The US President Donald Trump has never relented in showing total dependence on God Almighty even in the face of the pandemic, hence he declared March 15 a National Day of Prayer. They all knew that without God, failure is imminent.
In Akwa Ibom state, the story is the same. God has blessed us with a Governor who doesn’t joke with the things of God. He has not hidden his faith in God, and has always been projecting himself as empty without the help of God.
Gov. Emmanuel since inception took a strong stance on whom he serves. He has steadily lived his Christian faith, as a passionate adherence to the admonition of Lysa Terkeurst to his children. Terkeurst told his children: Remember who you are, don’t compromise for anyone, for any reason. You are a child of the Almighty God. Live that truth. The governor is living that truth.
The people of the state have keenly watched the governor lived an uncompromising faith in God, even in an era when people erroneously claimed that you must “belong” if you must succeed. He has proven them wrong, and we have seen it.
Gov. Emmanuel’s composure, public testimony of his love for God, prayer life, unassuming humility, undying faith, unshakable strength, deeper passion and living hope in God Almighty in times like this have undoubtedly culminated into divine coverage for Akwa Ibom in the midst of the pandemic. The slow spread of the virus against the predictions of doom that the state will become the epicenter of covid-19, speedy recovery of patients and strong faith in God exhibited by Akwa Ibom people, are testimonials that God’s hand is on the leadership of the state.
His love for God inspired him to lay the foundation stone for a befitting International Worship Center, through the hand of Pst Enoch Adeboye, the General Overseer of RCCG on January 21, 2018. The 8,500 capacity worship center which is the first of its kind, on completion will have staircases, 8 lifts, 2 churches and some chapels. This alone has made Akwa Ibom people not to cast skeptical eyes, or hold religious and intellectual doubts about his faith in God.
From the inception of his administration, Gov. Emmanuel has not failed to lead the state to seek the face of God through solemn assembly, and at regular intervals, he has been dedicating and rededicating the state to God at the beginning of every year. This is in addition to the annual religious festival- Christmas Carols, which cannot be missed for anything.
In the face of the pandemic, Gov. Emmanuel has not compromised his faith. He has shown concern for the church, and wished the doors of churches were not closed. Closing of churches by a man who loves God so dearly is one difficult but necessary action to take as a precaution to the spread of covid-19. As a Christian dominated state, we know the routine and religiously-patterned after- service exchange of pleasantries, handshakes, holy-hugs and Christian gossips that occur on Sundays and mid-week services. These are potential ways of spreading the virus, hence the decision by the government to temporarily close churches.
Despite the decision, he has consistently been meeting with the Fathers of Faith in the state, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and other stakeholders to map out possible ways of reopening the doors of churches, while adhering to the precautionary measures from health experts.
Interestingly, while others were fidgeting, confused and not knowing what to do, the Governor’s strong faith in the omnipotence of Yahweh inspired him to prophesy that no Akwa Ibom person will die of COVID-19. God has honoured that prophecy. The two deaths recorded were those taken to the center when they were almost dead, and all those that went there from the onset have been treated and discharged.
Many people in the state have come to love God more and openly declare their submission to His Supremacy as a result of the attitude of the Governor towards God. As the scripture puts it, it flows from the head down to the skirt…
No matter how hard the times are, there are people who would never bow to Baal. There are people who would never deny God. There are people who would never be like the rest of the world, because they know their God, and they will continue to make exploits. This, the people of the state has seen in the governor. In the words of A. W. Tozer, ‘modern christians hope to save the world by being like it, but it will never work. The church’s power over the world springs out of her unlikeness to it, never from her integration into it’.
Gov. Emmanuel has chosen to stand with His God even in the face of the global health crisis, and if the truth must be told, God has kept His promises for the people Akwa Ibom State. We are in safe hands.
Rev Richard Peters