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A Visit To The Worship Center

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OPINION

By Etim Etim 

Just before I rounded off my vacation in Uyo, I visited the Ibom Worship Center, the ecumenical center in the heart of the city, this morning. It is the most controversial piece of real estate in the country, started by the last administration, and completed by the incumbent. But I must confess that it is quite beautiful, magnificent and splendid. I was taken around by a technical staff of one of the subcontracting firms. It has a seating capacity of 5,500, including the gallery, and is served with 28 standing air-conditioning units, in addition to the central air conditioner. Inside, the décor is elegant, but not flamboyant, giving it an overall relaxed ambience. The lighting is impressive.  The pulpit stands elevated by up to four meters to enable a clear view from the rear. There is also the basement that accommodates offices and service units. There are over 30 toilets and restrooms. On the westside is a large partly-covered verandah that leads into the main doors of the auditorium. ‘’Won’t rain water splash all over the verandah?’’, I asked. ‘’No. The rain doesn’t come close,’’ my tour guide assured. The landscape is beautiful, a typical Julius Berger signature. ‘’It is a unique creation; there’s no building like it in this country’’, said Adrian, the Romanian engineer who walked up to me as I looked around. He might have been watching from a distance. He spoke excitedly.

I have been to a few beautiful worship places. In 2012, I visited The Potter’s House (TPH), a beautiful church in Dallas, founded by Bishop TD Jakes. A piece of beauty, it has a seating capacity of 8,500. In 2017, I visited the 50,000-capacity Faith Tabernacle in Cannanland, founded by Bishop David Oyedepo. He is currently building a bigger church with double that capacity. I went by the construction site last year. In September, I worshipped at the 10,000-seater House on The Rock Cathedral in Lekki, Lagos with my family. It is owned by Pastor Paul Adefarasin. A masterpiece! Bishop TD Jakes himself was the guest speaker that Sunday at the Cathedral. It was awesome!

When Gov. Udom Emmanuel proposed the idea of the Worship Center, I opposed it vehemently. I had argued that government had no business building churches. I reasoned that the money should have been used to fund other projects and programs that would be of socioeconomic benefit to the people. Now that it’s been completed and put to use, the it should serve as a major attraction to visitors.

Standing a few meters from the Worship Center is the 21-storey building that was completed a few years ago. Reputed as the tallest building in the subregion, it adds color to the skyline, especially at night.  It is heartening that the Bank of Industry will soon take up some floors there. In the neighborhood also is the Ibom Tropicana Complex, comprising a shopping mall and a cinema. New events centres have just been added to it.

With a golf resort, an airline, well-laid out road network, unparalleled serenity and two standard hotels, one of which is managed by the Sheraton Group, Akwa Ibom is undoubtedly the place to visit.

Etim is a Journalist and a Political Analyst based in Abuja.

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