Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), South-South zone, Archbishop Goddowell Avwomakpa, on Monday refuted reports in some sections of the media that compared former Delta State Governor, Chief James Ibori, with Jesus Christ, during a thanksgiving organized by the ex-governor’s kinsmen in his home in Oghara.
In a statement through his media adviser, Ovie Edomi, Avwomakpa, who is also Chairman, Niger Delta Bishops Forum, expressed displeasure at the way his sermon at the occasion was given a mischievous slant, with several interpretations.
He lamented a situation where his message titled: “Knowing the gift of God,” was watered down by media practitioners and citizen journalists, some of whom did not even hear him preach.
The statement recalled the cleric as saying at the well-attended event that “Ibori was the point of contact that united government with the church” and that Nigeria needs politicians who will go into politics for the advancement of the society.
Consequently, the statement recalled him as saying that in the history of Urhobo land, two people have made tremendous impacts: the late Olorogun Michael Ibru and James Ibori.
The statement further said the preacher had noted that while in public office many politicians do not build a house for anyone, even when they have the resources or empower people, especially the youth and upcoming politicians, unlike Ibori who in his time built men and churches.
Consequently, the Archbishop had described Ibori as a gift of God and noted that just like people who God used to change the story of some generations, “Ibori’s ordeal was like that of Samson, Paul, Joseph and so on in the bible who were enemies to the authorities yet they were loved by their people.”
The statement said he further likened Ibori to Samson who Israel never realized was their hero, recalling also that in the days of Samson, people used his name to defeat their opponents just the same way many people have used Ibori’s name to make some inroads..
Consequently, he said that since God made man in his image and likeness whatever man sees himself doing, nobody should take away the fact that God has a purpose for allowing certain things to happen to any man.
Archbishop Avwomakpa noted that all human beings are gifts of God, but that those privileged to be endowed with the potential to deliver their people or the masses are not only gift of God, but should be modicum of change.
The statement added: “Though Avwomakpa made reference to men of old in the bible like Joseph, Samson, Paul and likened lbori to them, never did the Archbishop compare Ibori with Christ- the saviour.
“For some journalists to imply that Ibori was compared with Jesus Christ is misrepresenting the message of the Archbishop which is not good journalism. It must be stated without fear that Archbishop Avwomakpa as a preacher of the word in over five decades has remained an apostle of good governance and a soldier for Christ. Though he prays for men in leadership positions, he is known equally for preaching to men and women in power as well as encouraging Christians to work towards seeking holiness as well as leadership position so that when the righteous are in power the people will rejoice.
“It is expected therefore that a man of God of this standing who has transversed the globe with the message of Christ with great emphasis on holiness would speak the truth to God’s people. In fact those who know Archbishop Avwomakpa know that he is not a minister of the word that can be influenced by man. To therefore suggest in some sections of the media that the Archbishop’s message described Ibori like Jesus Christ is most unfortunate and should be avoided by citizen journalists and reputable men of the pen so that in discharging the social responsibility functions media men will not cause more havoc to the society they serve,” the statement further added.