The State Governor, Senator (Prof.) Ben Ayade has restated his administration’s readiness to partner organizations with people-oriented initiatives that have direct bearings on the citizens.
Governor Ayade, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Barr. Tina Banku Agbor, made this assertion at the official opening of the 23rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, held at the Church National Headquarters, Hope Waddell, Calabar.
Senator Ayade expressed elation to be part of the 23rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, welcomed guests to the ancient and historic city of Calabar, describing the Church as “one of the earliest Christian Missions in Nigeria.”
According to Senator Ayade: “the Presbyterian Church has played a significant role in educational advancement in Nigeria and produced several notable Nigerians including Nnamdi Azikiwe, Akanu Ibiam, among others.”
“Recognizing the importance of girl child education, the Church established an all-female institution – Edgerly Memorial Secondary School, Calabar – as a complement to Hope Waddel Training Institution,” Prof. Ayade added.”
On the Church’s vision to establish the Hope Waddell University and a Guest House, Governor Ayade assured them that as a Government that places high premium on education and tourism, while pledging his administration’s support to the projects, as well as imploring guests to also join in ensuring that these veritable projects become realities.
In a keynote address, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Deacon Udom Emmanuel, represented by his Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Dr. (Mrs.) Glory Edet, described the Presbyterian Church as “an entity that has maintained the moral codes and true mission of its founders since 1846.”
Governor Emmanuel stated that the Presbyterian Church, apart from teaching the Word of God and winning souls for His Kingdom, has been a life-horse of challenging the socio-political order of Nigeria.
The Akwa Ibom State Governor saluted and thanked the pantheon of the Church for living true to the doctrines of the Church’s founders.
In a welcome address, the Prelate of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, His Eminence, Most Reverend Nzie Nsi Eke, appreciated the Special Guests of Honour, the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, represented by the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon. Yakubu Dogara, represented by Hon. Jonathan Gaza, the Cross River State Governor, Senator (Prof.) Ben Ayade, represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Barr. Tina Banku Agbor, the Keynote Speaker and Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Deacon Udom Emmanuel, represented by his Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Dr. (Mrs.) Glory Edet and other Ecumenical partners for honouring the event.
Reverend Nzie informed that the 172year old religious institution has also been involved in the education sub-sector through the numerous primary and post-primary schools established and run by Parishes, Synods and Presbyteries, which include: Duke Town School (Primary and Secondary) – 1846; Hope Waddell Training Institution – 1895, which has produced prominent Nigerians loke Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (first President of Nigeria), Dr. Akanu Ibiam (first Governor of Eastern Nigeria), Sir Denis Asadeby, Prof. Eni Njoku, Prof Kalu Ezera, Chief (Mrs.) Margaret Ekpo, Alvan Ikoku, Ojo Maduekwe, among others.
The Clergyman remarked that the proposed Hope Waddell University, which has been visited by the Nigeria Universities Commission, aims to produce a new generation of of leaders and citizens who are broadly educated, spiritually equipped, and passionately committed to excellent service delivery in Nigeria and beyond.
He further highlighted his Church’s contribution in the health sector to include: the Mary Slessor Joint Hospital, Itu, Akwa Ibom State; the Presbyterian Joint Hospital, Uburu, Ebonyi State; Presbyterian Mission Hospital, Ivenger, Benue State; Presbyterian Tuberculosis Hospital and Leprosy Hospital, Mbembe, Obubra – Cross River State;
Others are Eja Memorial Hospital, Itigidi, Abi – Cross River State; Rural Improvement Mission Hospital. Ikwo, Ebonyi State; Urban Health Service, Aba, Abia State; and Ekoli Presbyterian Joint Hospital, Ekoli-Edda, Ebonyi State.
The Prelate, who took time to pray for the various leadership strata of the nation, called on all Nigerians without voter’s card to endeavour to register and get one, pointing that the PVC is one’s power, and absence from owing one is a negation of one’s fundamental rights.
The event which featured goodwill messages from President Muhammadu Buhari, through his representative, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, represented by Hon. Jonathan Gaza, the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, all calling for prayers for the nation amid prevailing political seasons and prosperity for Nigeria; climaxed with awards to deserving members of the society, among whom were, Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, Rt. Hon. Uzoma Nkem Abonta, Hon. Nkole Ndukwe, Elder (Dr.) Ndukwe Dibia, among others.