Senior Pastor of the Kingsway International Christian Centre, Matthew Ashimolowo, has declared that God would soon restore Nigeria and make it a shining light in the comity of nations.
He spoke on Friday at the 2024 edition of the annual The Sun Thanksgiving Service held at The Sun Corporate Headquarters, Kirikiri, Apapa, Lagos. The annual thanksgiving service and award ceremony is an event that has taken place consistently for 20 years.
As early as 9.30 am, the management and the staff of The Sun Publishing Ltd, had started converging on the company’s corporate headquarters in Lagos for the event.
To set the tone for the spiritual event, The Sun Christian Fellowship led the congregation to a praise and worship session that lifted the spirits of staff.
The event commenced at 10.38am, as the guest speaker and his team were led to the podium by The Publishing Limited Managing Director/ Editor-in-Chief, Mr Onuoha Ukeh. The company’s Senior Manager, Internal Audit, Pastor Johnson Ogwumike, coordinated the programme.
The editor, Daily Sun, Mr Iheanacho Nwosu, read the first Bible reading, taken from Amos 9:11- 15.
In his opening remarks, the Managing Director, Mr Onuoha Ukeh implored the gathering to observe a one-minute silence in memory of staff and other Nigerians who sadly passed away last year.
Mr Ukeh stated that it is a tradition in the company that every year, “we gather to thank God, to return the praises to Him for what He has done for us, as individuals, workers, and the company.”
Recollecting what the company passed through last year, he appreciated the staff for their steadfastness and not giving up, praying that 2024 would be a glorious year for the company.
“At a point, we thought it was all over, but God was only testing our faith and He saw us through. I want to thank God; it was not by our might but His grace. I want to thank you my colleagues for standing firm; I remember when everybody agreed that we were going to fast and pray to seek the face of God. Everybody prayed, which means that no matter the difficulty, we knew that God is the answer. We also applied ourselves to the task of staying steadfast and doing our jobs better.
“I thank you for the sacrifices that you made and God knows that it would not be in vain,” Ukeh said.
He implored the staff to be positive in their thinking and attitude, saying: “No matter what happens to us, we should remain positive. Positivity should be our virtue and it pays,” he said.
Welcoming Pastor Ashimolowo, the MD said it was a great privilege for the company to have the globally-renowned preacher and televangelist as the guest preacher, considering his myriad of commitments.
“It is not easy coming to our Kirikiri office, and here is the servant of God to bless us.”
He said: “Pastor Ashimolowo is President and Senior Pastor of Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC), the largest church in Western Europe. He converted from Islam to Christianity at the age of 20, after the death of his father.”
He described the pastor as a visionary, award winning and prolific author and one of the most exciting Christian voices, who is outspoken, frank and fearless. He noted that the pastor is also a philanthropist.
In his message, with the theme: “Restoration”, Pastor Ashimolowo took Bible reference from Joel 2: 25 – 27, stating the need for restoration in both the individuals and the nation, Nigeria.
According to him, restoration brings joy, expands influences, pushes back all opposing forces and removes shame. Restoration, he pointed out, also brings hope to the hopeless.
He shared some highlights on restoration – the search for restoration, secret of restoration, scope of restoration and the blessings of restoration.
According to him, the secret to getting restoration, both as an individual, corporate body and Nigeria, is to humble oneself, instead of being arrogant.
He stated: “When a nation is led by arrogant people, they will never come out of the wilderness. You need a people who bow their hearts and heads, not in empty prayer or sanctimonious talk of religion, but people who are truly humble. It is not the people who were caught stealing and they are still boasting.”
He recalled his growing-up days, saying, “At 72, I have seen Nigeria of the past when systems worked. Nigeria didn’t have this much money. The whole of the budget in 1964/65 was not more than 50 million a year. Now you are talking in trillions and yet you don’t know where you are going with the trillions.”
He emphasised the need for restoration in Nigeria, and said: “Anyone who thinks he will continue to manipulate, take advantage of people and see them as stupid, God will expose them and expel them as the Lord lives. We need to humble ourselves, pray and seek His face.”
Taking a passage from Job 14:14, he referred to Job in the Bible, who lost all he had, but God restored him. He declared: “There is going to be national restoration in Nigeria. When God turned the captivity of Zion, it was like a dream.”
He made a prophecy on Nigeria, noting that any one God needs to be removed will be removed for Nigeria to get to its rightful place.
He said: “Suffering must not continue. This nation will be a nation of dignity and favour. Anyone who wants to disenfranchise the nation on grounds of religion will be exposed by God.”
The pastor warned against the killing of Christians, stressing: “Stop the killing of Christians. If they don’t stop they will bury their own children. If you believe that your religion is good, let it defend itself. Don’t kill anyone because they rejected your religion. Stop killing people because they did not accept your God.”
In all, he proclaimed that there shall be a turnaround in Nigeria.
To The Sun Publishing Limited, he declared: “Surprise is coming. It shall be well with the company. Victory will be the portion of the company. All your lost glory is coming back. Testimony is coming for the workers and there is going to be a national restoration in Nigeria. The river will flow again.”
In recent years, renowned Christian leaders have ministered at The Sun annual Thanksgiving Service. They include the late Dr Wilson Badejo (Foursquare Gospel Church), Pastor Sam Adeyemi (Daystar), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor (Word of Life Bible Church and former CAN President), Pastor Osondu Anyalechi (Evangel Pentecostal Church) and Bishop Humphrey Erumaka (Word Base); Rev Mercy Ezekiel, International Coordinator of Christian Pentecostal Mission (CPM), Pastor J.T. Kalejaye, Regional Evangelist with The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Bishop Mike Okonkwo, the Presiding Bishop of TREM; Pastor Itua Ighodalo of Trinity House; Femi Faseru (KICC) ; Apostle Anselm Madubuko of Revival Assembly; and Pastor Lazarus Muoka of the Lord’s Chosen and Charismatic Revival Ministry.
The second part of the service was the awards to staff who have served conscientiously for 10 years.
In attendance at the event were many members of staff and members of senior management.
There were soul-stirring songs, just as there was plenty to eat and drink.