The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Imo State chapter, has expressed deep happiness with the State Government over its secretariat in Owerri, the state capital.
The governor, Rochas Okorocha, last Thursday, handed the complex at Umuguma over to the association, in a colorful ceremony witnessed by the La creme de creme of the Chistiandom including the national president of the body, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, Ph.D., and other top government functionaries. Church leaders, wife of the governor, Mrs. Nkechi Okorocha, other CAN leaders and members.
Others present were the state chairman, Ap. Gen. Dr. Iheanyichi Godson Ibeji; Government House chaplain, Dr. Bumni Babs; President, Liaison Officer to the governor on CAN Affairs in the state, Pastor Kenneth Obinna Kanu; media practitioners, political leaders and a host of other professionals.
Speaking with journalists there in an interaction Ibeji described government’s gesture as the first of its kind in the country, adding that the other states of the federation have chapels, small halls and centres for similar purposes.
He, thus, expressed undiluted happiness over the building, especially happening during his administration as CAN leader in the state.
He said, “It’s the first of its kind. And other places have other different structures…And the government has finished building, completed and furnished it the way it is.
“And today it is being commissioned and handed over to us. Thanks be to God. I’m very, very happy. Now, we have a central place for administration.”
Ibeji assured that the building with a large modern conference hall facilities, a large chapel, office units, large vehicle parking spaces and lots more, would not lack in regular maintenance to sustain its present beauty.
The state CAN leader described as bunkum the innuendo that the secretariat was a gift to curry favour from Christians at election, in the state by Okorocha.
“That thought is very, very stupid because the building was completed six months ago and furnished. We know the proposal to open it had occurred several times but due to the busy schedules of the national president.
So, the hand over was delayed on that, because we said he must be present…
“Even then, if it’s for politics I’m not bothered,” he quipped.
Meanwhile, Apostle Ibeji has called on people of the state to go out in their numbers and vote in the elections.
“It’s possible our votes will determine who leads us from 2019,” he stated.
He disclosed that in no distant time the association would have an interactive session with political candidates in the state to which a committee had been put in place.
The southern leader of Youth Wing of the association in the state, Barr. Oluchi Nnabugwu, expressed the hope that the secretariat would act as an ecumenical centre for the Christians and would strengthen the unity among them.
As he put it, “The centre will really positively make an impact in uniting us in the sense that the motto of CAN is ‘That they all may be one’! The centre belongs to all the churches. No one church owns it.
“So it is a symbol of unity. And even here we have all those denominations accommodated. They have offices here. In other words it is a unity Church.”
Nnabugwu equally expressed happiness over the development.
“Today is a great day of joy. We’ve gathered to celebrate God in a special way, cerebrating God and this wonderful edifice built by His Excellency, the governor of Imo State. So many governors may conceive similar idea but may not be able to execute it.
“So, we thank the governor who thought of building a wonderful edifice like this for God, and today people like us are coming together under the same roof from different Churches,” he stated.