THAT Akwa Ibom state in the last six years has under gone stupendous spiritual renewal is stating the obvious.
Evidence of this spiritual rejuvenation is well expressed in some of the tacit public policies of the state which include the routine monthly solemn assembly, the weekly prayer meetings in ministries and parastatals and the annual Akwa Ibom state Government Christmas carol that is held every December of the year.
The most notable is the record breaking mass choir which the commissioner for Information and communications, Mr. Aniekan Umanah described as a show of the depth of appreciation to God for His abundant blessings in the state”.
The Holy book notes that: “when the righteous is on the throne, the people rejoice”. When the Akpabio administration came into being in 2007, it indicated its appreciation of the precept, first by ensuring that the state was duly dedicated to the  Almighty God and that he as the governor was ready and prepared to do God’s will in Akwa Ibom state. And so at the Ibom Hall grounds, the venue of the inter-denominational dedication service, he pledged his unalloyed faith in God and charged the people to join him in handing over the state to God, noting that with God, all things are possible. It was therefore not a surprise that things started working in Akwa Ibom state. As the Governor himself often enthused. “The secrets of the success story in the state is God. He orders and directs our every steps:.
By 2008, it was public knowledge where the state stood in matters of Christian faith and commitment to its tenets. The directorate of protocol under the illuminating leadership of the imaginative Iniekpeno mkpanang invented a new order to boost the relationship of the state with God and honour Him with thanksgiving for providing a leader who did not only fear God but loved the people as a believer in the doctrine of “Love one another. Again  in the  course of that same year, it  was cruising already clear that the state at a reasonable altitude of developmental strides, thus deserving an elaborate thanksgiving to God. And so the protocol department on December 26, of that year organized a worthy carol night parading a parliament of singers comprising 9,300 participants to celebrate God for His abundant love for the state.
The modality at arriving at that number was illustrative of creative thinking, an attribute that is progressively in short supply. The method involved 10 choir groups from each of the 31 LGAs which summed up to 310 choir groups. Each group was to have 30 members. And so, 310 were therefore multiplied by 30 and the result was the 9, 300 member choir which was used in the first edition of carol Night. The second and third edition of 2009 and 2010 respectively also performed with the same number. The record subdued and replaced what was recorded in 2004 as the largest mass choir with 7514 members at Bob James University in south caroling. But the forth edition in 2011 also had its own uniqueness and trappings especially in decoration of the arena.
Perhaps the most notable was the change in number of partipants from 9, 300 to 9,999 and the kind of eminent people including men of God that graced the event. Pastor William Kumuyi honoured the invitation extended to him by the Government, Akpabio by coming to offer the ministration after which he returned that night to Lagos where his flocks were anxiously  waiting his return to usher in that year’s Christmas.
Many foreign gospel artists also performal to the animation of the audience who joined in worshipping God. It was the gathering of unique number of people singing carols in one place, one night, and for the purpose of worshipping one God. The change from 9300 which I have laboured to explain, to 9, 999 has provoked enormous curiosity without the advantage of so much in information  about what advised the numerical increase. That is the point which the mercurial protocol department has employed to build a climactic crescendo for the event. But let me under the ambience of journalistic liberty let the cat out of the bag perhaps a comic side of freedom of Information Act. As earlier explained, the initial number of 9300 was procured with 10 choral group from each of the 31 LGAs  with each group subscribing 30 choristers. In the bid to increase the number, Uyo and catchments  surrounding LGAs with proximal advantage now subscribe additional 20 choir groups with 30 members each. This gives additional membership of 600 which is added to 9300 to arrive at 9900. Some special choir groups in the state to wit: United choir voices, Ibom choral voices and Abak choral voices also now subscribed 30 choristers each giving a value of 90 choristers. The number thus rise to 9, 990. A special choir group from Government House chapel being a statutory participant in the epochal event supplies nine members upping the numerical ante of the group to 9,999; a curious deficit of only one number before 10, 000. The number one citizen of the state loves songs and it is why he is promoting the singing project for God. The protocol department in its wisdom maybe reserving the one slot for this man who has chosen to serve humanity through adherence to God’s will. The spectacular event which has come to be christened as AKSG XMAS carol Night has gained place as a public policy in acknowledgement of the place of God in the affairs of the state. And as an annual event billed for every end of the year, preparations begin early. The protocol department known for its diligence and dutifulness leaves nothing to chance. For instance, by the first quarter of the year, it had confirmed participation of some outstanding personalities to this year’s event –world acclaimed gospel music evangelist from the United states of Ameriaca, world class continental gospel choir from Tanzania, world class renowned pastor and church leader from Nigeria and the maintenance of its uniqie number of 9,999 choristers.
The place  of songs in the worship of God is well known. It is why every church maintains a choir unit in recognition on of songs as critical in the worship God with songs, asserting that it is a valuable way to demonstrate gratitude for His unending kindness and grace upon mankind. The Bible offers many insights into God’s appreciation of thanksgiving through songs. Akwa Ibom being the only state in Nigeria named after God has therefore in sync with this knowledge established a unique way of showing gratitude to God for the uncommon Transformation or –the state under the Akpabio administration.
Governor Akpabio’s passion for God has also made this legendary event possible. It may take anyone to steer the ship but it takes a leader to chart course of history. In the last seven years, he has not only charted the course of good governance for Akwa Ibom people which today served as a national bench mark, he also charted a course of partnership between God and the state with attendant verifiable gains. No wonder it is often touted that people must always seek for leaders who have the fear of God. The revolution in Akwa Ibom is a testimony to the claim that with God all things are possible. When America adopted  “In God we trust” as its motto, many had viewed it as phantom driven by delusion and paranoia. But where America stands today in the world order has buried those cynicisms.
Project 9,999 aptly tagged AKSG XMAS carol Night is part of the state’s commitment to value that would promote good governance, unity, peace and stability in the state. It’ believed that the collective voices of  9,999 choristers will make spiritual declarations glorifying God and pulling down strong holds as drawing down heavenly blessings for Akwa Ibom people from heaven. Hossanah! Hossanah! Hosanna!

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