The Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) has flagged off 2016 Easter Pilgrimage Exercise to Israel in Port-Harcourt, International Airport with Ebonyi Pilgrims.
The Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, Dr. Eric Kelechi Igwe who represented the President, Muhammady Buhari and Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief Dave Umahi stated that Nigerians are pacesetters when it comes to those who want to do things right.
According to him: “your stay in Israel will be very peaceful, the President of Nigeria wishes you well”. He congratulated the intending pilgrims for their selection to travel to Israel on Holy Pilgrimage out of many other Christians in the state who would have wished to travel. According to him, “many are called but few are chosen”.
He admonished the pilgrims to be of good conduct while in Israel. She assured the NCPC boss that this team of pilgrims shall not abscond or defect because they are men and women of high moral character.
He urged the Pilgrims to pray for the President, Mohammadu Buhari and the resuscitation of the economy of the nation.
He equally enjoined the pilgrims to pray for the Governor of Ebonyi State who made it possible for them to embark on the spiritual journey to Israel.
He posited that the economy of Ebonyi State was not dependent on man but in the hands of God. His words: “when there is casting down, there is lifting up”.
The Deputy Governor affirmed that the 2016 set shall become a new name and bring about revival in our land. He expressed that Nigeria and Ebonyi state have been sick for some time, he was optimistic that the Lord would hear the prayers of the pilgrims and heal the land.
The Deputy Governor described the Executive Secretary of NCPC John Kennedy Opara as a man of perpetual relevance, a man whose faith in God is unwavering.
Earlier in his welcome address the Executive of NCPC, John Kennedy Opara congratulated Ebonyi state for being the first state to airlift state to airlift pilgrims this year under the Easter Pilgrimage Programme of the Commission.
He stated that Easter pilgrimage has become part and percel of the pilgrimage programme of the Commission in line with its calendar of activities.
He informed that Mr. President has directed that sooner than later the flight to Israel would be direct as efforts are being made to activate the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) with the State of Israel.
He affirmed that the sacrifices of today, make tomorrow better. According to him, “today I see hope in the faith of our intending pilgrims”.
The NCPC boss further explained that since 2012 the Commission had maintain a particular theme for its pilgrimage which is using pilgrimage as a tool for Moral Transformation and Spiritual Rebirth. He posited that if the pilgrims were transformed, it would help in nation’s building.
The Executive Secretary further stressed that “for us in NCPC change is a journey and not a destination”. Thus, he added that the Commission had introduced Skill Acquisition and leadership training into its pilgrimage programme to create wealth and for Youth empowerment.
He also hinted that the Commission intends to set up a Kibutz system in Ebonyi State for exportable agriculture. Mr. Opara also disclosed that the Commission would soon launch its Win A Trip to Israel Promo so that Christians could take over ownership of Christian Pilgrimage in Nigeria.
He advised the intending pilgrims, especially top functionaries to conduct themselves in Israel with humility as according to him: “no matter your position, pilgrimage is a leveler”. Prayers were said for intending pilgrims as well as the safety of the aircraft.
This years’ Easter pilgrimage is the fourth edition since its commencement in 2013. About 350 intending pilgrims from Ebonyi were airlifted to Israel under the first batch.