Lawrence Enyoghasu and Elizabeth Ogunbamowo
The glory of God came down, perhaps, in its fullest, at the corporate headquarters of The Sun Publishing Ltd, Kirikiri, Lagos, yesterday when Apostle General Anselem Madubuko the General Overseer of Revival Assembly Ministry International, Lagos, took his turn as guest preacher, to talk to staff and management of the company during the 16th edition of its annual thanksgiving service and award ceremony meant to appreciate God for seeing them through another year of newspaper publishing business.
The management and staff were thrown into spiritual ecstasy as they were regaled with soul-uplifting songs rendered in praise-and-worship session, led by The Sun Christian Fellowship Choir.
With his muscular arms pushing, punching and cutting through the air, and his broadcaster voice renting the air as he moved his massive, bouncer-like body build sideways in the directions of the audience he was addressing, as he preached, Apostle Madubuko declared abundant grace on The Sun’s staff and management, at this year’s Thanksgiving Service.
Backed up with a cocktail of personal life’s testimonies and Bible references, he sought to to lift up the sagging spirits of many of his audience with his message of hope. He preached with gusto. He preached with power. He preached with passion. He preached with marching gesticulations. He preached with conviction as he talked at length on the topic of his message: Abundant Grace.
This year’s Thanksgiving service was the first to be hosted by the new management team led by Managing Director/ Editor-In-Chief, Onuoha Ukeh.
The first Bible, reading taken from Psalm 66: 1-12, was read by the Managing Director, while the second taken from 1 Timothy 1: 12-24 was read by the General Manager Operations, Mr. Damola Lajumoke.
In his remarks, Mr Ukeh noted that it is a tradition in the company to have such a gathering to “thank God, return the praises to Him for what He has done for us, as individuals, workers, and the company.
“Last year was tough, a year that many people thought things were going to go wrong because there was an election that threatened the fabrics of the nation. As a company, we went through some turbulence, but I will rather count the blessings because we survived. As a company, we met our organisational obligations and we will continue to do so because the Lord is with us.” He encouraged the staff to put in their best and to keep doing their best as God is on our side. He ended his remark with a song that talks about pressing and not being in fear of the enemy’s derision because the Lord is on our side.
Powerful ministration by Apostle Madubuko
During his ministration, Apostle Madubuko declared 2020 a fruitful year for both the staffs and the company. Speaking on the topic, he noted that “the word ‘grace’ is so powerful and in a layman’s definition, it simply means unmerited favour.” God, he noted is “so loving that He has chosen to bless us with blessings far above our understanding.”
According to him, no human being on earth is worthy of that love but the Bible says, ‘even while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He started by giving us Jesus. The whole work of salvation is based on grace. God gave us His best, which is Jesus. If he can give us Jesus, He can give us every other thing. If a man gives you the best, why are you anxious over the little things?”
“Many are anxious, desperate, confused, under pressure,” he explained. “Many are caught up in the time pressure, ‘others have married, others have given birth to children, others have gotten better jobs,’ they say, ‘But we are still yet to do so.’ With that we constantly put ourselves under unnecessary pressure. But after today, just go and relax there is nothing you can do to change God’s time.
“Fasting doesn’t change it; penance doesn’t, neither does crying. God owns His time. He lives outside time but operates in time. Time is man’s problem. If God has given us His best, if Jesus had died and risen again, then there is nothing He cannot give us. Paul made a very powerful statement. He said: ‘By the Grace of God, I am who I am’ he didn’t ascribe it to his own knowledge. He understood that whatever God gave him was unmerited. Grace is given; it is never earned. When you understand this, there is no reason to be proud.”
He drew from a personal testimony to illustrate his point: “When we were in school, I was unserious. I was intelligent but very unserious. I was among those they say would never graduate. When I look at everyone today, they are not better; it is the grace of God. There’s nothing you get because you deserve it, because before you were born, it was already finished.
Referring to what that grace has done in His life, he said: “I was the last person anybody expected to carry Bible. I was a DJ, a Pyrate, a Capon before I knew Jesus Christ as my Lord and personal Saviour. But when in 1983, I gave my life to Christ, people said that I was up to a trick: they couldn’t believe it. They felt it was impossible for me to be born again and that’s because they don’t understand the grace of God.
“Most times, God goes to the rejected. He goes to the least qualified so He can be glorified. God gives His grace to anybody. So when people kill themselves they are stupid because they don’t know they could be something.
“Grace is for work. When it is given, it is for something. It could be the grace to make money, grace to write. Paul said: I did not waste or misuse the grace God gave to me. Although I came into the kingdom after other apostles but laboured more than them all. In other words, he was saying: although I wasn’t here when You (Christ) were around but the grace you gave to me, I didn’t allow it to be misused.
“A lot was given to Paul and Paul did not rest. He was on the move for the gospel and he was careful to say that it’s because of the grace. Grace is nothing to be proud of. Never boast of the grace God has given you.” has given you.”
He illustrated grace with what happened to Mephisobeth, Jonathan’s paralysed son in the Bible. He explained how grace transported him from Lodebar to King David’s palace when nobody was looking his way on account of his being a cripple.
“Never laugh at anybody who is not as graced as you are,” Apostle Madubuko counselled. “True grace of God humbles you.”
In reference to Johnson Ogwumike, The Sun’s Senior Manager, Internal Audit’s plea to him to contact heaven from his high pedestal of Apostle General office, and plead with our Almighty God to cause things to change in every area of the company’s operations, Apostle Madubuko prayed that God grant the requests and cause their desires to manifest this year according to His promise. He prayed that God would take both the staff and management to a New Level of grace and prosperity.
“New Level,” he said “is better than Next Level because if you are, say, on Level 7, you already know what your next level would be. It is Level 8. But when God takes you to new level, it could be anything from level 8 to 16. So my prayer is that God would take you to the next level.” The audience thundered a loud Amen.
Prayers, songs, attendance and awards
This year’s ceremony kicked off with an opening prayer by Pastor Leo Nwokoji, The Sun Chief Librarian as well as Co-ordinator of The Sun Christian Fellowship who Ogwumike, the master of ceremony of the day’s programme. As soon as he was through, the staff and management let down their hair as they went into a session of praise-worship songs, led by threesome female song leaders from the Fellowship. The staff danced sang and danced their hearts out in appreciation to God for seeing us through one of the toughest years of conducting business.
In recent years, religious luminaries like Rev. Dr. Wilson Badejo (Foursquare Gospel Church), Pastor Sam Adeyemi (Daystar), Pastor Ayo Orit-sejafor (Word of Life Bible Church and former CAN president), Pastor Osondu Anyalechi (Evangel Pentecostal Church), Bishop Humphrey Erumaka (Word Base); the National / International Coordinator of Christian Pentecostal Mission (CPM), Rev Mercy Ezekiel; Pastor J.T. Kalejaye, a Regional Evangelist with The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Bishop Mike Okonkwo, the Bishop of TREM; Pastor Itua Ighodalo of Trinity House and Femi Faseru (KICC), had preached as guest speakers at the event.
Apart from the general staff, the Thansgiving service was attendend by the management staff. They include: Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Onuoha Ukeh; Iheanacho Nwosu (Editor, Daily Sun); Femi Babafemi (Editor, Saturday Sun); Chidi Nnadi (Editor, Sunday Sun) and Chidi Obineche (Editor, Special Investigations)
Others are: Damola Lajumoke (GM, Operations); Robert Obioha (Chairman, Editorial Board), Nkiru Obeki (Business Development Manager), Jessica Oje-Humphrey (Human Resources Manager); Johnson Ogwumike (Senior Manager, Internal Audit) and Dennis Ogi- erhiakhi (Senior Accountant).
The second part of the service was used to issue certificates to staff who have served for ten years. There are: Obeki Nkiru Judith, Ndubuisi Orji, Chinelo Obogo, Wole Balogun, San- yaolu Adewale, Seye Ojo, Sunday Ani, Paulinus Aidoghie, Kate Halim, Oladele Onatade, Damiete Braide, Timothy Olan- rewaju, Moses Ujachi Abayomi Idowu, Ngozi Ogba, Love Eke, Florence Dickson Eme, Eme- nike Ukaegbu, Okoro Kalu, Morufu Oseni, Ibe Ugo, Friday Ilori and Uchenna Harbour.