2013 Akwa Ibom Govt. Xmas Carol Night is here

Roll out the red carpet, blow the trumpet, proclaim in nooks and crannies of Nigeria and Akwa Ibom about the favourite programme. Join thousands to herald the world-class event. Hook onto your television sets and internet service. Sing hallelujah to the Lord. Once again, this year’s Akwa Ibom Government Christmas Carol Night is here.

A roll-out banner put in front of Governor’s Office, Uyo explicitly tells the story “God’s own Party is here again.

Attend the 2013 AKSG Xmas Carol Night by 6pm

On December 21, 2013 at Uyo Township Stadium.

Gate: free

Come and sing with 9999, the largest Assembly of carol singers on the planet”.

The programme which was initially conceived as a state project has gained prominence as a global event. And so, the first curtain of the programme fell on December 26, 2008, with  a world-breaking record of 9,300 choristers. It broke the Guinness World Record of the largest assembly carol singers of 7,514 singers at the Bob Jones University in South Carolina, United States of America in 2004.

For this year, acceptance of Bishop David Oyedepo,  the General Overseer of Living Faith Church a.k.a Winners Chapel at Governor’s Lodge, Uyo to preach has given more fillip to the programme. At a breakfast meeting on November 5, this year with the Bishop, excited Akpabio used one stone to kill two birds. He  graciously invited Oyedepo thus “…I can tell you that you will not regret it. You will be spiritually fulfilled. You will be elevated and at the end you will turn to me and say ‘Governor, this is indeed another spiritual uncommon transformation”. Without hesitation, the flamboyant Bishop accepted the invitation as a Guest preacher on December 21. What a great day to be!

However, a cross section of prominent Akwa Ibom indigenes have lent their voices to the continued hosting of the glamorous event. Bishop Cletus Bassey, Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, Akwa Ibom Chapter opened up thus “9,999, I believe is a divine arrangement by God to showcase a people who have always known how to praise Him. But sometimes people don’t understand how much our people before today used to praise God. God has used 9,999 to showcase that attitude, a nature that we have imbibed in our culture and in our expression of love for God.

Dr. Sylvanus Ukafia, Chairman of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Akwa Ibom Chapter remarked “Whatever honours God should be allowed to  continue. Given the number of people who were exposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ last year, the number of people that made up decision to commit their lives to Christ, I think the programme is doing a lot more than we can measure, a lot more than we can rate in terms of policy and impact. It is beyond the imagination of the organisers”.

Can the programme continue after Akpabio administration? The man of God responded affirmatively “It should be continued. It is an avenue for us to preach the gospel. You see the Bible says, ‘What will you gain if you gain the whole world and lose your soul?’ Whatever brings spiritual enlightenment, whatever brings people from darkness into light, we need to pursue all along”.

He elaborated “Once you invite God into a matter, He has a way of taking over. I think that so much has changed. The Governor is being commended today; he is obviously not the most intelligent. You see when God’s blessing raises upon you – what made Solomon outstanding was not that he solved an economic problem, just a little problem between two women. When God’s blessing is upon what you do, the little you do becomes outstanding and I think God is behind the elevation of Akwa Ibom State”.

Dr. Anthonia M. Essien, Head of Department of Religious and Cultural Studies, University of Uyo said “I think it is wonderful having such a  large number to sing praises to God. The first time I watched, I was very thrilled and I thank God for Governor Akpabio for such a good vision of getting us to sing praises to God. I think it is a worthwhile venture. What else do we have than to sing praises to God. At a point, I was thinking why don’t we add one person to make it 10,000. I think we should sustain the programme to glorify God”.

Dr. Essien who is also Associate Professor of Sociology of Religion in the university advised “I think we have to congratulate Governor Akpabio on his foresightedness in bringing about this experience to us. And I ask everyone in Akwa Ibom State to emulate this good example. If you read in the scripture, praises to God is wonderful. It is that praise that can move mountains and barriers. So, I think we should continue to praise God in our whole life”.

A music expert, Dr. Johnson Akpakpan described the event as a welcome one, stating “From musical perspective, I know that gathering this number of people to sing and also play musical instruments is a great feat and a good initiative by the government of Akwa Ibom State”.

Dr. Akpakpan who is a lecturer with Department of Music, University of Uyo said “It is a great innovation and from music perspective, it is not quite different even though you have 100 people singing together. But when you take look at 9,999 people singing together in one singular performance, the result is that the intensity of sound will be quite different from having 200 or 500 people singing together. If well done, it is a feat because if I sing alone the intensity will be different. It is the aspect of the musical output; that is the ball of sound that will emit from such a gathering will be so amazing to listeners. It is an innovation and a good feat by the people of Akwa Ibom State to initiate that in the comity of States in Nigeria.

Director of Protocol to the Governor, Mr. Aniekpeno Mkpanang hinted that his team has raised a 200-man band Ibom Choral and Orchestra comprising a 100-man classical mass choir, a 50-man Orchestra choir, 35 singers, 10 instrumentalists and 10 lead singers as well as Akwa Ibom Voices to sing as ensemble comprising Aity Dennis Inyang, Pastor Goody Goody, Folake Umosen, Linda Etukudoh, Fadabasi, Freke Umoh and Nathaniel Bassey. Others are AKSG Choir and Unity Brass Band.

Also expected include national and international music stars such as Israel Houghton, a US internationally recognised worship leader, recording artiste, song writer, producer and a five-time Grammy Award winner and Lionel Peterson, a world renowned South African Gospel legend famous for mega gospel hits will sing at the event.

Others are Sinach, an international worship leader of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome’s Believers Love-World Incorporated, also known as Christ Embassy International, notable for over 200 songs; Frank Edwards, a Nigerian exceptional, versatile and multiple award-winning gospel rock artiste and one of the music ambassadors of Christ Embassy International Church as well as National Choir of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and Guest appearance from West Indies.

This year’s event promises to rekindle hope for the distressed, joy to the broken hearted, peace to the afflicted, liberty to the oppressed and above all bring down God’s glory to Akwa Ibom and Nigeria.


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