Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa, on Tuesday urged Christians in the country to remain united irrespective of their denominations.
Diri gave the advice at the inauguration of the 7th Executive Council of the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) at St Patrick Catholic Church, Ovom in Yenagoa.
Diri was represented by his Deputy, Mr Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo.
The governor also urged them not to see Christianity as a game of competition but a veritable medium to serve God and humanity.
Diri stressed that the unity of Christians in the country was needed now more than before in view of the insecurity and other problems facing the nation.
He, however, commended the Church for her support and prayers for the government, promising that that his administration would continue to support the Church.
Diri also promised to strengthen the security architecture in the state to drive the current administration’s prosperity agenda, anchored on agriculture, entrepreneurship and infrastructure development.
“Christianity is not a game of competition, but unfortunately, over the years, Christianity has been elevated to a game of competition. So, what happens is that everyone is trying to undo the others.
“The unity of the Christian body is needed now more than ever before. We need to be united and active in our faith to tackle insecurity and other challenges confronting our country.
“Christian disunity in our state must be interred today. It was unity that enabled the twelve disciples to spread the gospel. It was not the number; it was unity.
“I believe once we are united, we will be able to subdue any foe. We should not see ourselves as Protestants, Catholics, or Pentecostals.
“We are taking the issue of security very seriously. We believe that security is a collective effort.
“We are working with our communities, and all of us need to be determined, conscious and committed in that direction.
“We have a civic duty to report criminals in our neighborhood to the security agencies, so that our communities are not only safe, but are always secured for government to push its prosperity agenda.’’
The governor congratulated the new CAN executive and urged them to make conscious efforts at unifying Christians in the state.
The National President of CAN, Rev. Sampson Ayokunle urged the new exco to be diligent and committed to realising the objectives of the organisation.
Ayokunle was represented by the CAN South-South Chairman, Archbishop Israel Ege.
Rev. Father Anthony Ozele of Warri Catholic Diocese, in a sermon, stressed the need for unity in the body of Christ and called on well-to-do clerics and Christians in positions to use their privileged positions to support and defend Christianity.
He said, “Nigeria is presently known to be insecure in every aspect, be it political, social, economic and educational.
“The media is filled with stories of how Christians live under the terror of armed herdsmen, and bandits that kill, maim and rape every day.
“In the midst of all these upheavals, our political leaders have gone to sleep. This is the time for all Christians to come together, irrespective of the blocs they belong.
“The times we are in, in Nigeria demands a united Church to speak in one voice,’’ he said.
The new State CAN executive include Rev. Father Joseph Opelema, Chairman, Rev. Charles Aliga, Vice Chairman, and Apostle Michael Makpah, Secretary.