Bishop Ezennia Amobi Egbo has assumed office in Enugu as the new general overseer of United Church of Christ (UCC) International.
Egbo officially took over the church leadership in a handover ceremony, which took place at the UCC headquarters, Obioma Street, Enugu.
During the ceremony, Bishop Val Ijezie, the outgoing general overseer, handed over the church documents to Egbo.
The latest development brought to an end the prolonged crisis in UCC, which led to a protracted legal tussle over the church leadership.
Entertaining questions from journalists after receiving the church documents from his predecessor, Bishop Egbo pledged to take UCC to greater heights.
Egbo said he would take the church beyond the shores of Nigeria and to the entire world, as directed by the Holy Bible.
“By the grace of God, all things being equal, I will like to look back after seven years of my tenure and say, yes, we were somewhere up there. There are areas we are going to focus.
The area of welfare of the ministers, area of evangelism, which is the bedrock of the church and the projection of image of the church and then, building human beings and infrastructure.
“UCC is so large in Nigeria and beyond. We want to move beyond the shores of Nigeria because the Bible says, go into the whole world. So, there will be no limitations. We want to look and say, yes, we have moved into the world,” Egbo said.
On his new office, Egbo said he felt happy on one hand and on the other hand, a great burden, a great challenge, but above all, thanked God that His grace is sufficient to move ahead.
“I trust in his grace for the work ahead. He is going to do a great job. And I want to thank God for the outgoing Bishop and General Overseer Emeritus, Dr Val Ijezie, a great man and a father, and a man of peace that loves this church.
“I thank God that I have taken over from him. I will add block to where he has stopped, to move the church forward because the Bible says the church of God will march on and the gate of hell will not prevail against it,” Egbo said.
Reacting on the situation in Nigeria where church leaders appear to get involved in politics, Egbo said in his opinion, the church and society are not separate. Citing the Bible, he noted that the kings, the prophets, church leaders as well as the politicians were all working towards a common goal, and the good of all.
He said the clergy should do their own and the core politicians should do theirs, all to bring the best to people of Nigeria.
On the forthcoming general election, he said they were praying for a peaceful election and also peace after the election, in order to enjoy the goodness of God.
While he urged Nigerians to go out and vote, the cleric charged the electorates to ensure their votes count, warning that they should not vote based on religious sentiments, but the best candidate.
Commenting on the insecurity ravaging the country, Egbo noted that the issue of security is not only for the government, saying the citizens should also be involved in security.
“While we pray, we also have to be vigilant. We don’t need to provoke other people. We will allow the government security apparatus to do the needful. We trust in what this government can do. We trust that they can take care of the people’s security.
“So, it is not just praying. Everyone has to be watchful and do not provoke others. And then, government will also do their part in that way the society will be better for it,” Egbo said.
Earlier, Bishop (Dr) Val Ijezie prayed that God should bestow more anointing on his successor and give him wisdom to pilot affairs of the church and do more than what he had done to the glory of God.
Ijezie recalled that there were many achievements under his leadership, but because he had been in court, he could not achieve all he wanted to achieve, as litigation hinders performance.