Akwa Ibom State governor, Udom Emmanuel, has said that while several people sympathised with him over the collapse of Reigners Bible Church building in Uyo, some had also questioned his rationale for going to the church.
Speaking during the Akwa Ibom Christmas Carol in Uyo on Saturday, the governor noted that he was happy to be in the church, explaining that God took him there to save lives.
He maintained that if he had not been there personally to supervise the rescue efforts and mobilise medical experts and rescue workers, the casualties would have been enormous.
According to Emmanuel, he was not elected governor to share only in his people joys, but also to share in their pains.
“Many have sympathised with me over the collapse of the church building. Many have questioned me for going to the church. But I am happy that I was there. The footsteps of the righteous are ordered by God and He took me there to save lives.
“I believe that if I was not there personally to supervise the rescue efforts and mobilise the best possible network of medical experts and rescue workers, the casualties would have been a lot more. I was not elected to share your joys only; I was elected to also share in your agonies.
“I am here to laugh with you and cry with you. We are all in the same boat. I share that grievous pain with everyone on that Black Saturday inside that church. My heart would bleed forever as I recollect the harrowing scene,” he said.
Emmanuel said the state had not fully recovered from the shock, adding that what collapsed was a church building (man’s handiwork), not God’s promise.
The governor, however, said the collapsed church building was due to human error.
The seven-man panel set up by the state government include Justice Umoekeyo Essang as chairman, with Mr. James Utiaruk, Mr. Essien Nkanga, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Abibo; Prophet John Linus, Mr. Asuquo Okon and Mr. James Amiang, as members. Mrs. Emem Daniel of the Ministry of Justice, Uyo, would serve as secretary.
The Reigners’ Bible Church located along Uyo Village Road collapsed during the ordination of Apostle Akan Weeks as bishop when Emmanuel was the special guest of honour, killing 26 worshippers while hundreds got injured.
He said, “Ever since God created the sun and put it there, we have never had a blackout. The sun has never run out of gas. The collapse of the building was man’s error and that is why we have set up a high-powered panel of inquiry to determine what went wrong.”