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Prominent personalities, including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former President Goodluck Jonathan, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, and a former governor of the state, Chief Henry Seriake Dickson, graced the 9th Bayelsa State Thanksgiving Day on Monday.
The event held at the magnificent 15,000-seat Ecumenical Centre at Igbogene near the state capital, Yenagoa, also had in attendance National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, members of the party’s National Working Committee, clergymen as well as captains of industry.
At the event, which was the first for his administration, an elated Governor Douye Diri, again, extended his hands of fellowship to political opponents, calling on them and Bayelsans to join forces with his government in building bridges of unity, peace and development of the state.
Senator Diri said it was time for the political class in the state, regardless of party affliation, to jettison their differences and discontinue the endless litigations against the government of the day in order to distract it.
His Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah quoted him in a press statement as saying: “We should be building bridges in this state and not burning them because before APC and PDP, Bayelsa was there. Like I have said over and over, our arms are open for all of our brothers whether in APC, PDP or whatever party. It is time to build Bayelsa State.”
Expressing gratitude to all who graced the event, particularly former President Jonathan, the Vice President, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Christian Religious Matters, Pastor Seyi Malomo, Diri assured of the state government’s willingness to accommodate genuine ideas aimed at fast-tracking the socio-economic development of the state.
“This is not the time for us to continue in litigations. This is the time for us to build and bring our ideas to the table. If you have the idea of a blue economy, bring it to the table. We are ready to accept it. If you have an idea of a green economy, bring it to the table.”
According to him, although the world was experiencing serious economic crisis, he believes Bayelsa would surmount the challenges if the people spoke with one voice in order to move the state forward.
In his speech, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan urged political players to take a cue from the examplary conduct of Christians that worship one God under various religious organisations.
“We the political class should really learn from the Christians; the body of Christ. For those of us in Bayelsa, that is my only message today.
“There are so many religious organisations but one thing I will tell you is that they all believe in one God and that brings them together always.”
Dr. Jonathan reminded politicians that the primary objective of their involvement in politics was to serve the interest of the people, urging them to unite after elections to achieve greater things for the common good of all.
“In Bayelsa State, the political class should know that we get into politics primarily in the interest of the state and the people.
“So, no matter the political parties we belong, let us put politics aside and unite for the greater good of the state. At the end of elections, the remaining thing is governance and supporting those who by divine providence emerged as winners.
“The common interest of Bayelsa must be maintained irrespective of our political differences. We must work together and put the interest of Bayelsa before any other interest and surely the state would develop.”
Vice President Osinbajo, in his remarks presented by Pastor Seyi Malomo, commended the state government’s initiative at instituting a special day annually to appreciate God for His blessings upon the people.
Osinbajo, who highlighted the significance of thanksgiving, expressed optimism that Bayelsa would continue to reap many blessings from making thanksgiving a culture, adding that the act of thanking God should be a daily affair.
“Thanksgiving is such an important aspect of our lives that once you give it, you automatically qualify for another miracle,” he said.
Former Governor Seriake Dickson, on his part, congratulated Senator Diri for the successful organisation of the Thanksgiving Day and enjoined Bayelsans to rally round the present administration to succeed.
In his sermon, the Guest Preacher, Pastor Adeboye, spoke on the biblical keys to opening doors to success.
He said there would be breakthrough for all who praise and worship God in truth and in spirit.
The respected cleric, who said it was the third time he was attending the state’s Thanksgiving Day, noted that coming to Bayelsa was like a homecoming and praised God on behalf of Senator Diri for continuing with the worthy legacies of his predecessor.
“I rejoice from the depth of my heart with Governor Diri, who is thanking God specially today for what the almighty God has done for him. And my prayer is that his joy will last forever.
“The key is a very small implement but it has tremendous powers that if you lose the key to your car or house you would know how powerful it is.
“A master key can supposedly open every door or every safe in the world. If there is such a key and it is in the hands of the Most High God, once it opens the door to promotion, then nobody can shut it,” he said.
Highpoints of the celebration were gospel songs rendered by various musical acts and choral groups.
In accordance with the state’s Thanksgiving Law, November 2 is set aside as Thanksgiving Day and declared a public holiday by the state government.