On Sunday, April 16, 2023, in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State in South-South Nigeria, the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development (IAPD) and the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) concluded their second edition of the Africa Spiritual Day celebration with men and women from various faiths from 133 different countries who took part in the Programme both physically and virtually via zoom.
The presiding Bishop, Dr Gospel Emmah Isong, addressed the audience at the ceremony, which was held in the auditorium of the Christian Central Chapel International Church (CCCIC), the global headquarters of the City of Testimonies, in Ikot Ene-obong, 8 Miles, Calabar. He urged attendees to use spirituality to forge connections rather than barriers that would divide Africa.
The clergyman who spoke on the subject of “Abasiakara”—which means “God rules”—said that spirituality is still the greatest resource that Africans have and that if it is properly utilised, it can make both the continent of Africa and the rest of the globe better places to coexist.
Rev. George Ogurie, the Africa Sub-regional Director of the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and the Regional Coordinator of IAPD stated earlier that the organisation has a chance to win the United Nations (UN) Inter-faith Harmony Award if it is consistent and performs its duties.
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According to Oguri, “We are sure of winning the United Nations Inter-faith Harmony award”.
In a previous speech on the commemoration of Spiritual Day, Rev. Imo Essien Nkanta, President of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU), Nigeria, emphasised the need for continental unity and said that togetherness is strength.
He insisted that the ceremony continues to be one of the most effective venues for leaders of various religious traditions to come together to share ideas, brainstorm about problems pertaining to world peace and unity, and find a path towards peaceful coexistence with one another in order to make Africa and the rest of the world a better place to live.
Continuing, “The Africa Spiritual Day celebration will help in the promotion of universally shared values as well as unite believers of different faith, traditions and make them understand that we are one ‘Human Family Under One Creator’, irrespective of the perceived differences”.
The event was rounded off with speeches by Imboni, Dr uZwi-Lezwe Radebe, IAPD-Africa Chairman and founder of The Revelation Spiritual Home; El Hadj Habib Kane, Director of Religious Affairs, Mali; Father Louison Emerick Bissila Mbila, Chaplain at AU from Ethiopia and Venerable Dr Ilukpitiye Panasekara, Chief Monk Buddhist, Tanzania both at the auditorium and via zoom.
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