By Joy Odigie
Benin – Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo has cautioned the 2019 intending Christian pilgrims , from the state, against absconding and engaging in commercial activities during the pilgrimage in the holy land.
The governor was represented by Ms Itohan Bazuaye, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youths and Special Duties.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the orientation/retreat, organised by the state Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, has as theme: ‘’Pilgrimage: A tool for Moral Transformation and Spiritual Rebirth.’’
The governor said that the essence of the orientation was to physically and spiritually prepare the intending pilgrims for the journey to the holy land.
He said that the theme of the retreat was apt and timely, adding that the nation needed transformation and rebirth.
“Our poor value system and attitude must change. If we must succeed, then, every Nigerian and particularly believers who have visited the Holy Land must take their rightful position as transformation builders, ‘’he said.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Edo Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, Bishop Oyonnude Kure, said the retreat was aimed at correcting all wrong impressions concerning pilgrimage.
“It is not for tourism and not for business. It is to fulfill God’s injunction, “Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee, whose heart is set on pilgrimage (Psalm 84:5), “he said.
He thanked the state governor for providing the needed finances, logistics and medical team to ensure a successful 2019 pilgrimage.
An intending pilgrim, Prof. Jacob Unuigbe, said the retreat was a welcome idea, adding that it had exposed participants to the benefits of pilgrimage and ways to conduct themselves in the holy land.
“I want to specifically thank the state government for organising this retreat, it has exposed us to the type of journey we will be embarking on.
He expressed optimism that none of the intending pilgrims would abscond during the pilgrimage, adding that intending pilgrims had been thoroughly screened for them to participate in the exercise.