By Sunday Ani
Scores of the underprivileged and the needy in Lagos recently smiled home with various food items as the Handlifters Praying Group marked its 20 years of unbroken prayers for Nigeria and its leaders.
The event, which was the group’s thanksgiving and intercession programme for Nigeria, recently took place at the Palace Square of the traditional ruler of Onigbongbo, Maryland, Lagos, Oba Oluwasegun Adeyemi Ajasa, who, incidentally, is one of the backbones of the group. The programme, which attracted Christians, Muslims and traditionalists, saw the underprivileged smiling home with such food items as rice, garri and noddles, among others.
The guest speaker, Apostle-General Anselm Madubuko, called for a united Nigeria, even as he pointed out the need for people to live a godly life, saying: “It is appointed unto man once to die and after that comes judgment.”
Also, the visioner of the group, Mrs. Chinyere Adegboye, disclosed that, apart from marking the annual thanksgiving and prophetic declarations over Nigeria for 20 unbroken years of ceaseless prayers for the country and its leaders behind closed doors, the group also used the occasion to reach the poor in the community with food items to celebrate the Christmas
“We are also giving free medical check-ups with drugs, in collaboration with the Oba of Onigbongbo, Oba Oluwasegun Ajasa,” she added.
Mrs. Adegboye, who is also a pastor, recalled that before now the group used to visit hospitals, pray for the sick and settle the hospital bills of those who could not afford it, but added that they now have instruction from God to also reach out to the less privileged in the society by giving them food.
“We started several years ago. Our activities are not limited to the Onigbongbo community alone because we also extend our hands of giving to other communities in Lagos and other states, like Imo. By next year, we want to reach out to other African countries like Kenya, Ghana and South Africa. We want to reach out to their rural communities,” she stated.
Acknowledging the power of God in what the group does, she said: “God is our strength and that is why most time, we look for people who have passion to give to the less privileged, the widows, and the aged to come and support us financially, materially and even to get accommodations for some people. It is not as if we have any connection in other countries right now, but when God gives a vision, he will make provisions for its fulfillment. My backbone is from God and we want people to support us. My husband, Pastor John Adeyinka Adegboye, has been very supportive and he is an advocate of rural transformation and social reformation.”
She promised to leave a legacy of giving as life is all about giving even as she urged people to imbibe the spirit of giving. “As Christians or human beings we must learn to give to people, so as to ensure that poverty is alleviated not only in Nigeria but also across the globe. The less privileged should be helped and cared for,” she noted.
Noting that this year’s programme was more elaborate than the previous ones, she said: “When we came last year, it was impromptu, but this year, we prepared very well so that we can really reach out to the people in a more massive and elaborate way. We discovered that we can get more of the less privileged people in this environment. I don’t even live here; I live in the Mowe-Ibafo axis.”
She called on the corporate organisations, various levels of governments and politicians, as well-meaning individuals to support the cause because they have been praying for the leaders and those in authority over years behind closed doors. “For 20 years of unbroken focus, we have been committed towards doing it by the grace of God. We are not resting on our oars praying for nations and leaders globally, especially Nigeria, our country,” she added.
She equally urged women in positions to help other women, saying, “Women don’t like to help other women because they always feel intimidated; it should not be so. Women should love and help each other because the world is for women. The men’s era is over.
We are in the era of women. That is why women should cooperate and help one another. Before now, we did not have women as presidents, but we have a lot of women as Chair Ladies and presidents in many organisations and countries across the world. We now have women as chair ladies in big companies. It is not only in Nigeria but also throughout the world, and I want to thank God for that. Women should be given the place of authority.”
Extolling Mrs. Adegboye’s virtues, Mrs. Tayo Ohiku, who said she has known her for over 20 years, said: “I thank God for her life and the prayers of the Handlifters Praying Group. I am amazed by the wonderful testimonies through the prayers of the group. They have never deviated; they’ve remained focused for 20years. I thank God that she has also been a mentor to many people. I am so proud of her. I pray that God will continue to uphold her and also the Oba of Onigbongbo Kingdom, Maryland. It is so great to see a traditional ruler performing so well the way he is doing. I pray that peace will continue to reign in his Kingdom.”
Mrs Ohiku noted that the state of the nation underscored the need to give to charity in Nigeria. “Rice has become gold. A lot of families will not be able to afford rice this Christmas. That is why the people are getting the quantity that will serve their family. If we say we love people, we must give to them. Also, people have been given the opportunity to give their lives to Christ. I know God is happy right now. We have also offered prayers,” she said.
She disclosed that the ceremony was open to everybody because the kingdom of God welcomes everybody without any criteria. “You can see that both Muslims and traditionalists are here to get the charity. We thank God because people have seen the vision. Everybody came together to make the day a reality. We thank Mrs. Adegboye for her vision; she has put so much resources into it. So, people who are not handlifters have been encouraged,” she added.
In his comment, the Asojuoba of Onigbongbon Kingdom, High Chief Ganiyu Sadiq, thanked God who made it possible for them to gather to pray for Nigeria towards the upcoming election in February 2023 and for a new Nigeria in 2023. “My message is for us to love ourselves. If you love yourself and your brothers, you will be able to do good things. That is my advice to our people and everybody. Love yourself, love God and your neighbor,” he submitted.
Noting that the programme is quite unique, he said: “Today is full evangelism; we are not just here to share food stuffs, but also to listen to the words of God and pray together. This is not the first time; we pray that next year we will still be here and it will be better. When God created this world, there was nothing like religion. God created the world and Adam and Eve; so all of us are one. What matters most is whether you know the God that you serve.”
He commended the state government for what it has done for the community but stressed that a lot still needs to be done for the community. “The government has done the little it could but we pray that God will continue to strengthen them. We need employment for our children. We need good roads. We want the government to recognize our Oba among the Obas in Lagos State. He should be lifted up to a first class Oba. The process is on but we still want the government to give us all the support. The government has acquired most of our property – the GRA, the General Hospital and a lot of other places are parts of our land. When you go to the Niger Delta part of Nigeria, they have oil. Land is ours in Lagos, the indigenous people. It is not that the government acquired the land without adequate compensation, but we just need to let the government know that land is our own resources in Lagos,” he pleaded.