ABUJA/Nigeria: The Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has called for the development of the agricultural sector as a way out of the recession.
Speaking to journalists at the weekend in Abuja after delivering the keynote address at the unveiling of the International Cathedral of Elohim Christian International Centre, Governor Okowa said that Nigeria needed to provide the enabling environment for agriculture to thrive as it holds the key to pulling the nation out of recession.
“We need to provide an enabling environment for agriculture to thrive and for industries to thrive and I believe that, that is where Nigeria will grow and succeed. The oil economy itself does not truly impact very strongly on the average Nigerian because, though you make money out of it, it is an economy that does not create a lot for jobs,” he said.
“Over the years, we have continued to rely on the oil economy and that is not good enough; oil is supposed to be a blessing to our country. Apparently, when it was discovered, we forgot about agriculture and we did not think about our tomorrow; oil prices are things one cannot guarantee but I believe that whatever is going on in Nigeria today is a lesson to all, not just leaders but all Nigerians, that we need to redirect our efforts, we need to diversify our economy,” Governor Okowa added.
The governor stated that oil production has continued to improve and enjoined all stakeholders to support and sustain the existing peace and security in the Niger Delta region for development to thrive.
He called for prayers and support for leaders and for the unity and development of the country.
Earlier, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa had urged Nigerians to embrace intercession as a way of life for the unity and development of the country.
The governor also decried the lack of unity among Christian leaders and clergy occasioned by their forage into partisan politics.
Speaking when he delivered the keynote address at the unveiling of the International Cathedral of Elohim Christian International Centre, Abuja, Senator Okowa urged Christians to “embrace intercession as a lifestyle, spurn division, pursue unity amongst ourselves, generously extend grace to those who do not share our faith, while praying for our leaders and holding them accountable to the tenets of righteousness, equity and justice.”
Quoting copiously from the bible, Senator Okowa emphasised that “intercession is a divine command; it is not optional, neither is it a suggestion from the great Apostle Paul; intercession is the act of standing in the gap for another, in calling us to intercede for our leaders, God has but one goal – “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
“The Bible commands us to pray for our leaders because there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. In other words, all authority has been established by God to accomplish His purposes; so, whether good or bad, our responsibility is to pray for God to use the leaders to accomplish His will.
How He chooses to answer that prayer is His prerogative. But we must not lose faith in His power to effect the desired change.” he said, adding “the self-evident truth that our personal prosperity is tied to the prosperity of the nation is eloquently attested to in the scripture. Is there anybody or organisation here, for instance, that has yet to feel the biting effects of the economic recession?”
The governor reminded Christians that it would be ungodly for them not to intercede for their leaders, stressing that “the Lord will use our prayers – and cries – to enable those in authority to make the right choices and wise decisions that promote good governance, inclusive economic growth and sustainable development, he uses it to prevail on those in authority to initiate good policies and legislation, and reject those that will undermine righteousness and justice or hinder the preaching of the gospel”
While commending the leadership and the congregation of the church on the official unveiling of the cathedral and the choice of the topic of discourse – “The Role of the Church in Interceding for Our Leaders,” Dr. Okowa decried the disunity among Christian leaders due to their involvement in partisan politics, saying, “The 2015 election season will be remembered for being highly divisive and acrimonious. Regrettably, the church got entangled in the political process, albeit, largely out of genuine concern for the progress and development of the country, two years after, I am yet to be persuaded that the situation has changed. With mounting economic pressure, worsening living standards, political uncertainty and the national unity of the country threatening to unravel, many of us in the church are busy pointing fingers, casting aspersions and digging deeper into our positions, even if prejudiced.”


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