Philippians 4:8 –“…brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
My profound gratitude goes to the organisers of this epoch-making event in my honour. On behalf of my family and I, I bring greetings to you all in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who makes all things beautiful in His own time.
I am the most privileged to be honoured by my National Constituency, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), in this manner which I do not take for granted. I am proud to be associated with this noble and prestigious Christian organisation. To the national leader, His Eminence, Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, my family and I say ‘a big thank you’ for honouring me in this special way. May God honour you too, and the entire membership of our great organisation.
Today marks one of the happiest days in the history of my life and work with God Almighty. Seeing this kind of gathering put together in my honour despite the global Covid-19 pandemic has made me humble and speechless. In my over 30 years of ministry work with our Lord Jesus Christ, one thing our Heavenly Father has released to me graciously and made me stand out is ‘Relationship With People’ which I cherish without reservations. That I receive this honour today in this way is all about Relationship. From the first day I picked up this appointment, I have seen in its purest form the love of Christ and of his people; receiving numerous visits from individuals and groups, I am greatly overwhelmed. May the Good Lord keep us together in oneness of spirit, that we may do exploits as a people for our great Nation, Nigeria?
I specially acknowledge God Almighty without whom this would not be possible. I will not forget to thank His Excellency, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR), for finding me worthy of this appointment as the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Christian Pilgrim Commission. I say thank you Sir, I am deeply humbled. My sincere appreciation goes to all those who stood by me individually and collectively. May the Good Lord bless you all?
The promise I made to God and to Nigerians, is that, by the special grace of God, I will not betray the trust and confidence you have for me. I know you all hold me in high esteem and will never want me to fail. I assure you that as long as my God lives and watches over me and this great nation, I shall serve with great sense of responsibility with the fear of God and uprightness. I will represent the light I bring into the Commission.
Since my assumption of Office on July 7, 2020, I have come up with major agendas for the Nigeria Pilgrim Christian Commission (NCPC) and I would like to share them with you all for record and reference purposes. My main Agenda is to ensure that we abide by the Act that established the NCPC; this is because abiding by the Act that establishes an Agency makes every other responsibility easy and creates orderliness and commitment to serve. I have carefully studied the Act that established the NCPC and one striking provision is that “The executive secretary is given recognition as the Chief Accounting Officer of the Commission, while every other staff of the agency is a support staff of the executive secretary.”
The Act has also given me powers to punish anyone who fails in his or her duties. By this provision, it simply means that I will be accountable to every deed and misdeeds of the agency and I would not want to be associated with corruption or anything that will dent my image or the image of our dear CAN as I stand as an ambassador. I will work closely with the NCPC Board and staff to ensure mutual respect and interpersonal relationship to achieve our common goals. I will do my best to fight corruption and redeem our image globally as well as the image of the agency. I have also promised the NCPC Board and staff that by the grace of God, I shall build a credible institution in NCPC that will make her the envy of other government agencies, which will in turn make other agencies seek the services of our staff owing to their capacity and integrity.
Secondly, I would like to rebuild our image internationally due to our core responsibility of embarking on pilgrimages as our image in international communities is not so good especially with the records we have of people absconding when sent on holy pilgrimage. In view of this, we have started working strategically with relevant stakeholders who will ensure thorough screening for intending Pilgrims for an increased global acceptability and respect. We shall continue to advise our pilgrims to remain resolute and focus and avoid unnecessary distractions while on Holy Pilgrimage because our pilgrimage is a spiritual Journey and not tourism.
Thirdly, I would embark on a re-orientation of the mindset of Ministers of God and other Pilgrims so as to drive a behavioural change first in themselves, and ultimately give back the lessons learnt on pilgrimage to the society.
Fourthly, I would like to go on relationship drive among NCPC Board members and staff, relevant stakeholders, Muslims and Christians across Nigeria and ensure mutual respect and unity amongst all and sundry. This national thanksgiving service is already an indicator of unity of purpose amongst all the five families of CAN irrespective of denominations, tribes and status to strengthen our purpose of existence and ensure acceptability and reconciliation amongst all.
The fifth on my agenda is to synergise with Church leaders and encourage churches to sponsor themselves and also encourage self sponsorship of their members for pilgrimages as federal government does not sponsor pilgrims to the Holy Land, but only provide consular and medical services for pilgrims who travel in their large numbers to Israel, Greece and Rome.
Finally, I would work assiduously to gain people’s trust to enable me carry out reconciliation amongst people for peaceful co-existence. I have been involved in peace and reconciliation for many years as reiterated by government while announcing my appointment and would extend same gesture if permitted by government of the day by establishing a Reconciliation Unit in the Commission to foster peace, unity and tolerance amongst people. This is so that government could utilise the peaceful atmosphere to carry out its policies and programmes for its citizenry.
Worthy of note is that this is the first time the government is giving CAN recognition in the NCPC by appointing me from CAN to head the Commission. This is now a history of a sort in our CAN family; hence an assignment for us to use this platform to foster peace irrespective of tribe, race or religion.
At the end of my tenure, I would like to be remembered for building a good relationship amongst people, particularly the Christendom, Board and staff of NCPC and other relevant stakeholders involved in the business of peace and pilgrimage across nations.
Beloved Nigerians, I sincerely appreciate this great and memorable moment organised in my honour which has added value and colour to my life and family. I will continue to stand as a good ambassador of CAN and with God by my side, you will not have any cause to regret identifying with me as one of you.
May the grace of God continue to abide amongst us all!
Pam’s words at a recent thanksgiving service, reception organised in his honour by CAN at the National Christian Centre, Abuja