By David Yomi Tsola Okpaghoro
Today, thousands of Itsekiri sons, daughters and visitors gathered at the Palace (AGHOFEN) of the Olu of Warri for the maiden Iwere Thanksgiving Day Service.
The Thanksgiving service had in attendance His Majesty, Ogiame Olu Atuwatse III, Olori Atuwatse III, Delta State Governor, His Excellency, Senator Dr. Ifeayin Arthur Okowe ably represented by his Deputy, Deacon Barr. Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, Iy’Olu Atuwatse III, Papa Ayo Oritsejafor, Founder of Word of Life Bible Church, Prophet Tomi Arayomi, Bishop Bawo Otone, Pastor Chris Utieyin Akperi, Bishop Best Agbolayah, Deacon Victor Agbateyiniro, Pastor Maya Oritsegbubemi.
Other important personalities who were conspicuously present include; Chief Gabriel Awala, Chief Oma Eyewoma, Chief Brown Mene, Chief Engr. Tony Onuwaje, Chief Dr. Eugene Ikomi, Chief Barr. Robinson Ariyo, Prince Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh, Hon. Griftson Omatsuli, member representing Itsekiri nationality in the board of Desopadec, Hon. Dr. Austin Uroye, DHTA representing Warri South Constituency 1, former Minister of State for Education, Chief Kenneth Gbagi, Hon. Irene Imila, Prince Joseph Atseyinku, former Delta State commissioner for Transportation, Hon. Vincent Uduaghan, Hon. Hope George and many others.
Papa Ayo Oritsejafor centered his sermon on the one leper who came back to give thanks to Jesus after ten of them were cleansed. Papa admonished the congregation to always give thanks to God. According to him, the one leper was made whole and complete because he gave thanks to Jesus. Luke 17:11-19.
While delivering his brief sermon, Papa Ayo Oritsejafor charged His Majesty, Ogiame Atuwatse III to set up a committee that would convince 500 Itsekiri sons and daughters to donate at least N10m each for the establishment of a tertiary institution in Iwere land. Warri Kingdom has wealthy individuals the cleric stated. Papa Ayo Oritsejafor also said that Iwere land needs Education, Industrialization and Tourism at this point in time.
His Excellency, Deacon Barr. Kingsley Otuaro remarked that he was elated by one of the high points of His Majesty, Ogiame Atuwatse III Coronation maiden speech; “that Warri Kingdom has been dedicated to God.” The Deputy Governor averred that today’s Thanksgiving service is an offshoot of the Olu’s maiden speech.
Chief Dr. Roland Oritsejafor, while giving the vote of thanks, prayed that this maiden Iwere Praise and Thanksgiving Day outlive us. God is always around the people who give him Praise and Thanks all of the time because that is the only thing He cannot give himself. Hence, it was fondly reiterated yesterday (Iwere Praise Day) that “God has a new address and it is Iwere land (Psalm 22:3).
When one praises God, He comes down to see to the operation by himself. When God came down in Egypt, Pharaoh bowed out. May every Pharaoh in Iwere land bow out in Jesus’ name, Amen. Light has come to stay in Warri Kingdom.