On Friday, December 7, tens of thousands of people from across Lagos and beyond will be converging on Ikorodu community in Lagos. They will be there for this year’s edition of the annual programme, ‘A Night of 365 Hallelujah’ which will hold at the expansive grounds of the Ikorodu Town Hall.
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The programme, otherwise tagged ‘Convocation to Praise,’ is the initiative of the Senior Pastor of Joy Cometh Ministries, Ikorodu, Pastor Olaitan Aromolaran.
The programme is an annual praise and thanksgiving service featuring dozens of clerics, gospel music bands, Christian dance groups, instrumentalists and the shouts of 365 hallelujah. The programme started when Pastor Aromolaran was a pastor and provincial evangelist with the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Covenant of Peace Parish, Ikorodu.
At an interview at the weekend, the convener, Pastor Aromolaran said arrangements had been concluded for a hitch-free programme on Friday. “We are expecting God much more this year, not as a result of our preparations, but because it is the plan of God,” he noted.
The cleric expressed joy that some other denominations had started holding nights of 365 hallelujah, adding that the development gladdened his heart. “It is a thing of joy that what started as a little fire a few years ago is now getting people’s attention.”
Each year, the programme attracts as many as 30,000 worshippers, and Pastor Aromolaran asserted that the number might double this year. “That is why we have made adequate arrangements for security. The Nigeria police and other paramilitary and security agencies, the traffic management agencies and others are part of the arrangement. And since it has become obvious that the premises of the town hall cannot contain the crowd, because we are expecting up to 60, 000 people, we have also made arrangements to use the streets around the venue. There will be seats and many mega screens with quality audio facilities, so that those outside won’t miss out on anything. We have also raised a 2, 000- strong mass choir that will be glorifying the name of the lord from time to time.”
Staging such an annual programme would surely cost a fortune. You wondered how funds for the programme were usually raised. The pastor informed that the programme is usually funded by the church and its leaders.
“All of us are involved – all the church leaders. We don’t solicit money from outside. We don’t even ask the church members to contribute money towards the hosting of the programme. The leaders will come together and do whatever they can do, and the church will then do the rest.”
But he emphasised that the overall amount spent on organising the programme cannot be quantified. “How do we quantify, for instance, the amount that we spent in making the robes for the 2, 000- strong mass choir? Or how do we calculate the amount that each department will spend?”
The pastor admitted that the town hall is becoming too small for the programme. He recalled that the crowd was so much last year that many people could not even access the place. But he said the event could not just be moved out of Ikorodu Town Hall, as choosing the present venue was a direct instruction from God. He said God must direct the ministry to another venue before the programme could relocate from the town hall.
“But while we’re waiting on God, what we have resolved to do is to make the people much more comfortable than they had even been.”
Pastor Aromolaran urged Nigerians to move closer to God as the election year approaches. He expressed hope in the ability of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to move the country forward.
“I am impressed by the integrity and modesty of these two leaders. If many realise the havoc done to this country by the evil of corruption, they will give their total support to the president and his government. I believe that the nation is on the right track, even with the present challenges. I’m not unaware of the many security challenges in the country. But that is not a problem created by the present government. As a matter of fact, the challenges have been there and were also caused by some of the people vilifying the Buhari administration. I have faith in God that Nigeria shall be made better in my lifetime.”
He urged Nigerians to be calm and participate in the coming electoral process by electing the candidates they believe would move the nation and the states forward. He counselled Nigerians to eschew sin and embrace hope, and not to sell their votes to the highest bidders.
“Some people have expressed fear about 2019, but I can assure Nigerians that the year would be a year of peace. Nigeria will not disintegrate, as the promise of God shall be fulfilled upon the nation,” he said.