Governor Okowa who made the call Friday, August 7 2015, when the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission, Mr. John Opara led management team of the commission on a courtesy visit stated that given the current economic downturn in the country, there was the need for churches to take up the gauntlet and convince their well-to-do members to sponsor other members on pilgrimages.
According to him, “our churches need to take the gauntlet and convince the rich in our churches to spend some of their money to sponsor other spiritually inclined but poor members to attend the pilgrimage, if we begin to encourage this, it will have positive impacts on our society”
“There is a lot of scramble for government sponsorship for pilgrimages, even among those who can afford it, we need to look for other ways to fund pilgrimages, we want to direct our resources to the poor in the society and encourage the rich to sponsor the less endowed members of the society, this will free government from the huge money it is spending on pilgrimages”, Senator Okowa said.
He advised members of the public to take advantages of the family pilgrimage as it was both spiritually and morally rewarding and “gives you the opportunity to have time with your family and seek the face of God”
The governor commended Mr. Opara on the various innovations he has introduced to Christian pilgrimage in the country, especially the family and youth pilgrimages and the skill acquisition programme stating, “you have taken Christian pilgrimage beyond what it was before you came in as the Executive Secretary”.
Earlier, Mr Opara had told the Governor that four different pilgrimages have been introduced by the Commission for Nigerians to avail themselves of the opportunity to seek the face of God while engaging in other activities that will be beneficial to them and the country.
He described Governor Okowa as a “very reliable individual one can always trust,” and commended him for his interest in encouraging pilgrims to the holy land.
Okpara disclosed that efforts are on to reduce the burden of sponsorship of pilgrims on government.