Developmental projects anywhere in the world are not executed at the express approval of citizens; they are often condemned, delayed and sometimes, killed by those they are meant for.
Many atimes, the same people who engage in very agonizing criticism, ignorantly turn back to be the major users of criticized projects such as roads and other infrastructure.
For this reason, leaders who do not desire to be distracted or discouraged, disregard condemnation and forge ahead to deliver on their promises for the same people who never remember to take back their ill words when they start enjoying the goodwill of condemned projects.
It would be recalled that the Ibom Air which has today become the first choice of every traveller in this state was initially labelled as “scam” by some of its patronizers who went as far as reporting their purported scam in various medium of communication. The same can be said of the world-class Isolation centre at Ituk Mbang which holds an unbeatable record of being the 2nd best in the entire Nigeria. The critics of these projects have long been put to shame.
As far back as the Old Testament era, criticism has remained a veritable tool for demoralization. Noah was called names for building the Ark of protection against the flood and Jeremiah was taunted by Sambalat and Tobias for building the fallen Temple of God.
However, the antagonists in the end, came to the understanding that there was indeed a viable reason for the project they condemned.
Today, the same fate has befallen the Governor of Akwa Ibom State whose only “crime” is building a standard worship centre for the State.
It is not clear whether people think building a standard Worship Centre is insignificant or whether they think the Governor is building the structure for himself and his family as was the case of Noah and Nehemiah’s critics but what Akwa Ibomites need know is that a State named after God should have something to show for it.
The children of Israel who were first called after God understood this and hence, sited a Tabernacle everywhere God led them. In the succeeding years, a befitting structure was considered most appropriate by King David before it was finally established in Jerusalem. It thus came to be that the whole world knew and recognized that Israel, the people of God have a sacred place where they go to worship him.
To this day, Jerusalem is still visited and heavily patronized as where God lives. People even take delight in being addressed as Jerusalem Pilgrim (JP) more than being addressed as ‘Child of God’, while many others will kill to visit the “Holy City”.
Meanwhile, in his attempt to replicate same in the State, Governor Udom Emmanuel has gone out of his way to not just build a worship centre but to deliver one which will favourably compete or outshine similar structures in other climes.
What this implies is that sooner or later, the Akwa Ibom International Worship Centre will become the Jerusalem of Israel with a crowd of people thronging from far and wide to worship God. For the records, every Worship centre is an altar so, no one will be restrained from exercising their right to Worship God inside the Centre when it is completed.
The 10,000-capacity International Worship Centre at Afaha Ikot Obio Nkan, behind the Udo Udoma banking layout is no doubt the first of its kind in history.
In Governor Emmanuel’s opinion, it is not fair that a state named after God should after 32 years of its creation, be gathering at playgrounds, stadia and even uncompleted buildings to worship, pray and sing praises to God.
He stressed that the worship center was very essential to the state, adding that other states which are not as endowed as Akwa Ibom have standard worship places to sing praises and magnify the Lord for His goodness and mercies.
“We have found favour in God’s eyes and religious bodies, non-profit organizations and even individuals from all over the world heeded our call for support to actualize this dream”, the Governor had said during the ground-breaking ceremony in 2018.
When he inspected the project on Tuesday, February 23, 2021, the Governor Emmanuel again stressed the importance of the Worship Centre.
“If this is the only state named after God on planet earth, then something must be there to show for it. I don’t think there is anything wrong in that. People see a building but I see an altar I’m raising for generations unborn. It takes one man to do a whole lot that God will mark as righteousness for all of us. This is the best International Christian Worship Centre on planet earth. People will come to the understanding when its done”, .
Today, save for the ongoing pandemic crippling nations’ economy, the International Worship Centre would be at an advanced stage where its completion would be a matter of months compared to its current state.
But Governor Emmanuel does not seem deterred or moved by the prevailing economic indices globally or locally. He knows what fortune, fame and honour the project would earn the state and is patiently watching the trend of things as a wise investor does.
Moreover, the construction site has hundreds of Akwa Ibom youths working daily for handsome pays, with more hands to be employed as the completion stage nears.
Rather than criticize, Akwa Ibomites should note that this honour done them is their pride and possession. We should learn to see the good in the things around us so as to identify ways we can collaborate.