BENIN CITY – Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki has charged the contingent of Edo State Christian pilgrims to the holy lands of Rome, Greece and Israel to be ambassadors of the state and to shun any act that is capable of tarnishing the image of the state, warning that government will not condole such misconduct.

Addressing the members of the 2016 Edo State Christian Pilgrims
at the Government House, Benin City, Saturday, Governor Godwin Obaseki said, “Your pilgrimage to the three cities of Italy, Greece and Israel is a journey of spiritual renewal. In this regard, you go not only for yourselves but as ambassadors of our dear state. It is our expectation that you will serve as points of contact for all Edo citizens and Nigeria whom you represent. Your journey to the holy land is sacred.”

Governor Obaseki asked the pilgrims to pray for the country and ensure they do not abscond, “We expect you therefore to pray fervently for the restoration of all that is good and all that is lost in Nigeria. You will therefore be making a grave error if you choose to abscond and seek to remain in the holy lands or indeed relocate elsewhere in search of greener pastures. Such an act will not be condoled by this government because we shall hold your guarantors responsible. Note also that such unholy and unwholesome conduct will jeopardize our relationships with the host nations and also deny other potential persons from experiencing what you are about to experience.”

He admonished them, “I want to urge you to be of humble character and reverence in your conduct on this pilgrimage. I also urge you to be observant and note the elements that make the holy land a very compelling attraction for pilgrims all over the world. Though Nigeria may be going through a number of economic, social and political challenges, it is my belief that we all need to play our part in repositioning our country for good.

“Let me thank all of you for being considered worthy pilgrims. Edo State is on the cusp of something new. Your prayer for peace, security and prosperity of the State will be much appreciated. On behalf of all the citizens of the state, I wish you a wonderful and spirit filled journey to the holy lands,” the Governor said.

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Earlier, the Chairman, Edo State Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Bishop Peter Imausen represented by the Secretary of the Board, Sir Patrick Ikhayere (KSJI) thanked the Governor for the opportunity given them to embark on pilgrimage to Rome, Greece and Israel.

He said 83 pilgrims comprising 34 females and 49 males were screened for the pilgrimage. He said they will be away for 11 days to seek God’s face for themselves, their families, Edo State and Nigeria. He assured the Governor that there will be marked difference and expressed belief that their faith in God will increase, and they will return as changed persons.

He assured that they will be good ambassadors of Edo State. The Chairman said, “I present to you men and women chosen by God, very thankful to God, who will be away for 11 holy days, from 10th December, 2016 to 21st December, 2016, to seek God’s face for solutions concerning our challenges, and to present ourselves, our families, our state and the nation for divine intervention, guidance and blessings. Your Excellency, Edo State contingent will be going to Rome, Greece and Israel for this year’s holy pilgrimage.”

He assured, “I wish to assure you that there is going to be a marked difference in performance than the past years. We have been praying for God’s touch, for God’s healing upon us, the church, Edo State and our nation.”

On behalf of the board and pilgrims, Mr Humphrey Best Iriabe thanked Governor Obaseki and prayed for the success of his administration in Edo State.