By Jessica Onyegbula
The Executive Secretary, Nigeria Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), Rev. Yakubu Pam says that pilgrimage is not for sightseeing but a place for prayers.
Pam in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday said pilgrimage was an opportunity to pray for the country, especially now that it was facing insecurity and economic challenges.
“Nigeria needs God’s intervention to surmount all its challenges.
“If we need anything, it is God’s intervention. Pilgrimage is not about sightseeing but prayers it is about going to rededicate our lives to God first and then pray for our country.
“The spirit behind pilgrimage is also about discovering the things you read about in the Bible and reconnecting with God. The encounter is the most important aspect of it.
“This is a critical time. Those going for pilgrimage now are going to pray – prayers for our president, our governors, the future of the country, that is the purpose for pilgrimage at this hour,” he said.
Pam explained that NCPC had picked Jordan as one of the countries for this year’s Nigerian Christian pilgrimage.
He said Jordan was a symbol of the church unity going by the baptism of Jesus Christ at the River Jordan.
“People will always criticise new things. People are free to express themselves. In doing such, we are able to know that they need to be educated more.
“You cannot stop a Catholic from going to Rome or the Pentecostal going to Greece, the same thing with the Methodist.
“There are places you can mention that may not be a pilgrimage per say, in terms of going to Jerusalem, when we talk about Jordan, one thing that really unites the church is baptism.
“Jesus was baptised there, all Christians do baptism. That is the original side of baptism. So there are many places there that can unite us more. That is where Elijah crossed and God took him alive to heaven.
“There is also the history of Jacob and his brother. The choice to go to Jordan is so that all Christians, Catholic, Pentecostal can unite. It is a uniform ground,” he added.
The NCPC boss urged those kicking against the choice of Jordan to see it as an opportunity to pray for Nigeria’s unity, just as baptism unites Christians.
“Some people feel that this should not be done. We made a thorough contact and tried to sample opinions within the commission.
“This is not just the Executive Secretary doing it. I have a board with stakeholders who are paying the money. In all the states, we do not have up to 10 people that have complained.
“We only have one or two states that felt like they would not be able to go because they are not ready for now. The conference of states has agreed that we are all going.
“In those days, Jordan and Israel were all one country, there is no difference between them in the days of the Bible.
“There are borders and separations now because everybody has its own territorial authority to their own government and kingdom.
“These are the things one can explain about this journey, it is a spiritual journey and people should take it by faith. I appreciate those who are able to speak their minds,” he said.
He called on Christians to prepare their minds ahead of the pilgrimage in Jordan so that God would answer their prayers about Nigeria. (NAN)