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Akanji Announced 109th Baptist Annual Session, Urge Members to Join Politics

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By Jide Afolabi

President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Rev Dr Israel Akanji, has announced the 109th Annual Session of the Convention, urging members to join politics as the 2023 general elections draws closer.

The announcement was made at a press conference held in Lagos. He said that the convention would be held at the Baptist International Conference Centre (BICC), Lufuwape Town, Kilometre 53, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, from April 23 to April 28, 2022.

He disclosed that the theme of the convention is “Entering into Newness with Praise and Thanksgiving (Ps. 100:4)” and will be hosted by the Oyo Baptist Conference.

Akanji noted that the programme would be attended by members of the Baptist family from all over Nigeria, Africa, United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, and other parts of the world.

He said that the convention was being conducted to fellowship with God and with one another through worship and interactions, for spiritual renewal and recommitment as well as reporting of stewardship.

He said:
“One major reason for our annual convention is to call upon God in prayer. The Bible says: ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain’ (Ps. 127:1).

“We believe that we need to pray for our country and our world generally.

“For our country, we need to pray specifically in the following areas, security situation of the country, economic development and growth, 2023 election and current state of university education in our country.

“We are constantly told that so much is being done on security, but the effect is definitely insufficient. Political will appears to be weak. We cannot but look up to God in prayer.

“We expect the Federal Government and ASUU, NASU and SSANU to quickly and respectfully resolve the ongoing crisis and come to agreement.

“It is expected that the government would fulfil promises made, but where it is unable to do so, to employ respectable means of renegotiation, so that our children will not continue to linger and suffer at home.”

Commenting on politics,
Akanji said that members were not only being encouraged to go and vote but to go and be voted for.

“We have been encouraging our members to participate in politics.

“In those days, we all know that the church was shy of not just publicity but from politics. They used to say politics is a dirty game, therefore, do not go into it and for many years many kept out of politics.

“But we have discovered that there is no way you can bring a change if you are not part of the system.

“We have been encouraging our members to participate in politics.

“In those days, we all know that the church was shy of not just publicity but from politics. They used to say politics is a dirty game, therefore, do not go into it and for many years many kept out of politics.

“But we have discovered that there is no way you can bring a change if you are not part of the system.

“Our rhetoric has changed about politics. When we see somebody going into politics now, we encourage and pray for the person.

“We encourage our people to also get registered, have their voter cards, so that they can vote. We have come to that level in this country”.

The Baptist leader added that members with political ambitions would be blessed, irrespective of their political affiliations during the convention.

“During our convention, a time will come when we will call all the people who have political ambition and we will pray for them.

“Whichever party you belong to, we don’t care which party, if you just know that God is calling you to help salvage this nation, come out.

“These are some practical ways and we will pray for them and we encourage our people to go and vote and encourage our people to serve as politicians.

“We have changed the language, we don’t speak negatively to them, we encourage them.

“Even though we don’t encourage them to go and sin, or do what is bad or join the corruption that is going on, yet we encourage them to go and participate.

“As at 1976, the President of the Baptist Convention in Liberia, William Tolbert, became the president of the country; in other words, a pastor became the president of Liberia.

“Even if there are pastors that are called upon to go into public life, into politics, we will pray for them and encourage them to go.

“We will not encourage them to continue preaching fully at that time, so that they will not humanly begin to preach their own political party.

“Martin Luther King Jr. was a Baptist pastor, his father was also a Baptist pastor.

“Baptist people especially, we are not supposed to be backward when it comes to politics and ensuring freedom for people,” he said.

Major highlights of the 109th Annual Session of the Convention include Opening Session and Youth Night on Saturday.

Convention Sunday Morning Worship would hold on Sunday and a special Convention Sunday Evening Worship. All members have been directed to wear white attire for the special praise and worship service.

On Monday, Men Missionary Union, Women Missionary Union and Baptist Students’ Fellowship would hold their programmes. Other programmes for the day include Showers of Blessing, Bible Study, Presentation of Reports and Evening Rally.

Meanwhile, Wednesday would witness Global Missions Board Hour, Presentation of Financial Reports, Social Ministries Anniversary and Appreciation Services.

On the final day of the 109th Annual Session of the Convention, Royal Ambassadors, Lydia, Girls Auxiliary and Sunbeam would display their parade skills to the delight of supervising leaders and Ministers of God; Showers of Blessing, Discussion of Reports, Resolution and Communique, and Awards and Recognition would take place. The programme would end with Closing Charge.

Baptists across the globe and Nigeria in particular were enjoined to attend this year’s session and where it is not possible to attend physically, they are urged to join the programmes through the Nigerian Baptist Convention owned New Frontiers Television, NFTV, and virtually via YouTube, Facebook and other online platforms.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ezekiel Daujir Bayara

    April 21, 2022 at 2:58 pm

    Long live Nigerian Baptist Convention

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