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Between unassuming president and praying pastor

INNOCENT OKONKWO,
Asst News Editor

History was made at number 10, Odofin Park Estate, Ijesha, Lagos, recently when President Goodluck Jonathan met with the man who presides over one of the largest charismatic ministries in the world, Pastor Lazarus Muoka.
10, Odofin Park Estate which serves as the international headquarters and Revival Ground of the Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Revival Ministries is a place where different categories of people congregate frequently in search of spiritual solution to one problem or the other.
It is a `place where the highly placed and the down trodden in the society intermingle. Miracle seekers, worshippers and other categories of Christians besiege the place during crusade programmes which the church organizes from time to time.
Foreigners and some adherents of other faiths in search of solution to life’s issues have been attracted to the venue during such crusades.  During such meetings, the expansive auditorium of the church is always crammed with crowd with those who cannot secure a space inside the auditorium snaking around the surroundings in anticipation of God’s miraculous touch.
Nevertheless, no sitting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has worshipped in the church since its inauguration on December 23, 2002, until President Jonathan attended the just concluded crusade, entitled,   ‘’… from sorrow to joy.’’
President Jonathan’s appearance during the service elicited prolonged cheers from church members. The jubilations disrupted the testimonies’ segment of the service that was on-going before Team Jonathan arrived. It took several calls for calm from the service moderator for normalcy to be restored in the church.
Having listened to some of the testimonies, the president was genially invited to the pulpit by the General Overseer of the church, Pastor Muoka to address the congregation.
President used the opportunity to give what seemed to be the account of his stewardship to the congregation and recounted his life as a village boy before God took him to the throne as the President of Nigeria.
In his brief speech, President Jonathan expressed his delight on the existing collaboration between the church and government in the fight against terrorism in the country, thanking the former for providing the spiritual support for the latter to excel in its responsibility of protecting the citizens.
He reiterated his administration’s commitment in safeguarding the lives of Nigerians from the enemies of the nation and his desire to make every Nigerian particularly the youth gainfully employed.
He eulogized the leadership and members of the church for their prayer, gifts and support for his administration and described his coming to the church as divinely arranged.
“Thank you my brothers and sisters, I count it a big privileged and I am happy to be here with you, ordinarily, I almost missed this opportunity of being with you today, I have already rushed a goodwill message that I was to send and place on the multi-media because of my tight programme but God wanted me to be here today.
“And somehow my programmes were changed, I wouldn’t say much because this is not a good period for those of us who are contesting elections, I don’t want to be accused that I have come to campaign in churches because we believe that we should not campaign in churches, we discuss with people but not to use religious platforms for campaigning.  But I’m here because I quite appreciate what the G.O and members of the Lord’s Chosen are doing. You are doing this spiritual work which has not only helped members of the church but the whole country.
“You know our country, just like the rest part of the world, so many countries all over the world are facing the threat of insecurity, even the powerful countries, the G5, there have been terror attacks in those countries. The issue of terror being perpetrated by some religious extremists is now a major threat to the world and our own country is also receiving a very unfair share of that threat, it would have been worse than this but because people like you are praying everyday to God for help.”
The president recalled how the masterminds of the bombings tried to destabilize the entire country before they were halted by the prayer of God’s people.
He said, “You all remembered when this bombing started from Abuja, The United Nation’s building was bombed in Abuja, the Police Headquarters of the country where you would not expect any nonsense was bombed, of course, the Army Barracks was bombed before that of Nyanya and others. The idea was to start from the centre, the capital of the country and spread to other parts of the country, the West, the East, the South and everywhere to bring the whole country down but for people like you who are really doing wonderfully well, praying for us and this country for peace to reign and that is why today when we talk about terror; we only talk about states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.
“It wasn’t like that before; it was almost the whole country. We are working hard as a government, we are improving our platform. We have now secured the collaboration of our neighbours before they were not ready and with your support, we will rout terror. So our Daddy, the General Overseer, we thank you most sincerely for this great work you are doing, we can only promise you that we will work harder as a government to protect all Nigerians, to improve our economy so that people will be able to survive, young men and women will be able to get job and this distractions from insecurity will end.”
Making a reference to the testimonies that he heard from some members of the church, President Jonathan said that his life was also full of testimonies, from a typical village boy to the President of Nigeria.
He said, “I listened to the testimonies today, they are quite touching, I ‘m happy to be here to listen to them, very, very touching. So, one can see what the Lord has done in our lives. Some of us are having bigger testimonies but it is not for today. I hope I will have the opportunity to come here and give my own testimony one day because for me, a typical village boy who grew up in the bush to stand here as the president of this country is a testimony. Well, that is a story for another day but today, I’m here to thank our Daddy, the G.O and all of you, my brothers and sisters in the Lord and to encourage you to continue with your intercessory prayers. I thank you.”
He also acknowledged the gifts which the church has given him, saying, “ I was informed that you have given me so many gifts; I have to thank the G.O and my brothers and sisters for considering me worthy to be so praised and for you to give me this numerous gifts thank you all.”
Shortly after President Jonathan’s address which elicited shrill applauds from the congregation, Muoka said, “Before we allow His Excellency to go, we must pray for him. We are going to commit him into the hand of God; we are going to ask the Lord first of all to bless this nation with peace, unity and stability.
“Heavenly father, we praise you, we look up onto heaven, we present this nation before you, father, we pray for peace to reign in this nation, we pray for stability of this nation and pray that you take absolutely charge, every contrary power bring them to confusion, Oh Lord, let them be crushed by your power, in the name of Jesus.
Muoka added, “Now, we are going to pray again that God almighty is going to give him sound health; that God almighty will bless him more and more. Immortal Jehovah Lord, we ask that you take charge of his life, Father, bless him more, God give him sound health, Lord intervene in his life, let your power touch him.”
Thereafter, the pastor charged the congregation, saying, “As he is standing here, let’s use this opportunity to pray concerning the crisis going on in the nation; pray that God almighty will arrest the evil.  At this point,  Muoka  prayed briefing in tongue before adding. “Father take charge, let all the evils going on every place in this nation be crushed. We pray that there shall be peace before and after the election.
Pastor Muoka summarized his prayer of intercession for the president, the pastor said, “Right now, I am praying for him in agreement with all of you. Daddy, the righteous God, the living and true God, the prayer answering God with whom all things are possible, Lord, we hand him over to you, protect him physically and spiritually, preserve him from all evil, I am asking you Daddy according to the prayers that the church has made concerning this nation as he is representing the whole nation in agreement, we decreed and declared that it is done and we pray concerning him, let your name be glorified and as he goes back, we pray for his safety. In Jesus wondrous name we pray; can the church say amen, repeat it once more and it is amen in heaven.”

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