Apapa family - Riding the wings of change

All roads in Lagos led to the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) on Sunday June 7th.? ?Besides security men, ushers, and specialised services personnel, Daily Times features team arrived the venue 6.08 a.m. and found people had begun trooping into the square from the twilight of dawn.

It was the celebration of the 8th Annual Conference of Apapa Family, the largely unsung uncommon arm of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). This edition was designated a thanksgiving confab to celebrate and award some Apostles of Positive Change groomed and raised through the tutelage of RCCG on the one part.

The awardees include AF?s Pastor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, now the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Deacon Udom Emmanuel, among other recipients. The trio and several others have been divinely orchestrated to take centre stage in our nation to demonstrate exemplary leadership as instruments of change at such a time as this.

On the second part, the thanksgiving was to celebrate Apapa Family that has officially become Region 20 and to showcase projects and reveal data of the on-going Area project solely bankrolled by the Apapa Family to the saints.

By 7 a.m. the crowd was massive and was swelling minute. The anti-bomb vehicle stationed at the East Gate of the square was swallowed up by throngs of people. A mobile health clinic (the Arise Women health organ of the City of David), the famous ?A Can Can Make A Difference? (ACCMAD) of the AF and food vendors (outside the square) were all on ground to handle emergencies from health to hunger.

As the stage was lighting up for praise and worship, the heavens opened up and the rains did claim her right of place to worship the LORD.

The theme of this edition, Riding on the Wings of Change aptly captured the wind of change sweeping through the polity in the nation and especially, that members of the AF have been elected into position of leadership where they are expected to impact positively on the nation after the theme of this edition.

In his prelude to the arrival of the VP, Governors and the General Overseer of the RCCG, the head of AF, Pastor Idowu Iluyomade, fondly called Olori-Ebi, threw some light on the theme of this 8th edition.

?The theme of our conference today is not a coincidence at this time in our nation?s history. Significantly it reinforces our previous themes and suggests a prophetic leaning with four of the last five being Leading Change (2010); Change Catalyst (2012); Be the Change (2013) and Signs of Change (2014).

?This year?s theme Riding on the Wings of Change points to the myriad benefits and dividends of change as a catalyst in motivating and promoting an Army of Apostles of Change locally and globally.?

The State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode was the first to arrive with his wife, Deaconess Bolanle Ambode, both clad in the AF RCCG brand t-shirt. The Vice President and his wife came amidst tight security at 10.25 a.m. while Daddy G.O, as Pastor Adeboye is fondly called in the Christian world came in some 35 minutes later.

Addressing the mammoth crowd after receiving his award, Ambode commented on the RCCG.

?The last time I wore this t-shirt was when I was campaigning for the governorship seat,? he began so I feel comfortable wearing it today as the Governor of Lagos State.?

Applause rent the air when the Governor greeted his wife as Her Excellency, First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode.

Part of his speech: ?It is an honour to stand before this great assembly as the Governor of Lagos State. This would not have been possible but for the love, mercy and divine favour of our God, and I am eternally grateful to God for all He has done and is still doing in my life.

?It is now my responsibility to use this position to show forth His goodness by touching as many lives as I positively can. I thank you all for your prayers and support for our country Nigeria, particularly towards the peaceful and successful election we held recently.?

The Vice President opened his address after receiving his award with the song, To God be the Glory great things He has done. He acknowledged the G.O. and wife as father and mother of presidents, governors, vice presidents and senators not just Nigerian Presidents and Vice Presidents and Governors but all over the world.

Painting his vision of Nigeria riding on the wings of change in the new dispensation, the VP recounted an encounter he had with three typists back in 1983.

?To ride on the wings of change, there is a particular lesson the Lord will have us to learn,? he began.

?Back in 1983 or 84, I was then a Lecturer grade 2 at the University of Lagos, which was the lowest run of the lecturer?s cadre. At the department of public law, we had three typists: a senior typist, a chief typist and a young man who was … just a typist.

?The most senior of the typists was supposed to be the most experienced. In those days before we had computers, laptops, ipads, etc, everyone was busy just publishing, so we all just needed to have a typist. This chief typist who was not necessarily a Christian, closed every day at work at 4 o?clock, no matter what work there was left to do.

?The typist in between, we never even saw him anyway; but that last typist was just a school certificate holder and he was, of all three, the most hardworking. Many times I had to drop him at home at 1 a.m., sometimes at 2; he lived somewhere at Akoko, Yaba.? And of course there was nothing to give in those days, and he didn?t expect anything. We just tell him, thank you, but he worked extremely hard.

?A few years after that, I worked with the chief attorney general as an adviser, and he went on to become a world court judge at The Hague.

?When he moved to The Hague, he called me one day and asked if I can recommend someone to him as a private secretary. Then I remembered the three typists:

?The one who had the top title, the other the middle title and the one who had no title at all and it was clear to me who would be the right person to choose from. And of course, I chose the young man, and he went up to The Hague to be a private secretary to a world court judge.

?Every judge in the world court wanted him to work for him. He was so good, so diligent at his work that everybody wanted to work with him. He went from there to America, took his family along with him. He finally got a degree, settled down there and had a very successful life.

?Now, that is the kind of people that can ride in the wings of change. Whether you are a typist, a receptionist, a security man, be faithful in the little things you are doing. It is that faithfulness towards the things you are doing and to people you are serving that will lift you up.?

Daddy G.O. fell back on mathematics to open his ministration with what he titled The Mathematics of Change in which he gave graphic analysis of the process of change in a human life, declaring that the God that changeth not is the Unchangeable Changer that promotes, renews and restores those who diligently work in his fear, love and humility.

The phenomenon called Apapa Family

In an address made available to Daily Times, head of Apapa Family, Pastor Idowu Iluyomade revealed that AF comprise ?of over 1,500 parishes in Africa, USA, Europe, Asia and Oceania and has been using the Excel Conference to model positive change in various spheres of influence.

?We actively collaborate with public and private sectors and institutions in nine spheres ? the Social, Healthcare, Education, Media, Business/Economy, Arts/Culture, Entertainment, Government/Politics and Sports.?

Drawing from Sir Isaac Newton?s 1st Law of Motion, Iluyomade unraveled the visible consuming passion and drive propelling AF to re-engineer the structure of social propriety, not only by preaching Change, but by raising a breed that will demonstrate Change through exemplary leadership.

?One of the priorities of this year?s conference is to emphasise the theme and momentum of change and build on our past social interventions,? the AF boss said. ?This will involve equipping libraries for public primary schools with 20,000 books/bookshelves in 100 schools spread across the 57 LGAs and LCDs in Lagos State.

?In addition, AF will provide specialised phonetics training for 50 teachers and provide related books for 25 schools under the Christ the Redeemer?s School Management.?

Daily Times also gathered that AF is engaging 125 schools in the first phase.

?By the end of 2015, AF would have equipped 500 primary schools libraries. We believe dividends of this initiative will be innumerable in transforming the children. Grenny says that, ?at the end of the day, what qualifies people to be called leaders is their capacity to influence others to change their behavior in order to archive important results.? This is what Apapa Family stands for,? Iluyomade ephasised.

Touching on the earnest desire of every Nigerian for an all-embracing change in the nation, the AF head said this is not the season to shirk responsibility or to hang weakly in the background without engagement. His words:

?Our courage to take on challenges has spurred us in the past with intervention projects such as the Healing Stripes Cancer Screening and Diagnostic Centre, Surulere, Lagos, established in 2011. The centre has screened over 100,370 people to date and members of the public have access to subsidised services at the Centre.

?AF has also set up the Healing Stripes Dialysis Centre and provided dialysis machines that have managed over 560 dialysis interventions, including over 100 free sessions.

?At Akala area of Mushin, AF has installed solar-powered street lights in five streets (noted for notorious activities when it is dark), and additional units of solar-powered street lights in other areas of Mushin.

?Then our own Arise Women acquired three intensive care mobile clinics at the cost of over N72 million to take health care to unreached communities in Lagos State.?

Limited space will not permit a more extended chronicle of AF projects, but three really outstanding humanitarian services ever to be bankrolled by a Church are the Well Spring and House of Joy rehabilitation Centres in Ojodu and Surulere respectively as well as feeding of some 50,000 people during Excel Sunday thanksgiving services under the platform of A Can Can Make A Difference (ACCMAD) programme among numerous other projects.

In his conclusion, Iluyomade gave all the credit and the glory to God, for without Him, man can achieve nothing.

?We thank God that all the positive changes and divine positioning we celebrate today have been prophesied by our Father in the Lord years ago. May God continue to raise through us many more Apostles of positive Change that will ride on the wings of change to bring unprecedented progress to our nation and beyond.?

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