By Wanama Dandyson
Today, Monday 2nd November 2020, the Bayelsa State Government will roll out the drums to celebrate this year’s Thanksgiving Day.
This year’s celebration will be the 9th edition of the event in accordance with the Bayelsa State Thanksgiving Law, enacted in 2012.
It is a day set aside by the government and people of the state to appreciate God for His faithfulness. The day is also a day set aside for those in service to re-dedicate themselves to the principles of governance, which is service to God and humanity.
The day was first observed on November 2nd 2012, the first year of former Governor, His Excellency, Seriake Dickson’s first tenure as Governor of the state.
The 2012 Thanksgiving Day celebration was significant as it followed the heavy devastation of the state by that year’s flood which ravaged the entire state, submerging houses and other critical infrastructure across the state.
This came even as the new government was just beginning to settle down for the business of governance, haven constituted its new cabinet.
It was a week-long event which was crowned with a night of praise, featuring gospel artists from within and outside the country. Renown American gospel singer, Juanita Bynum was one of the guest artists at the event.
Anointed ministers of God like reverend Uma Ukpai were also on ground to decree the blessings of God upon the land and people of the state.
Since 2012 therefore, November 2nd each year has been observed as a public holiday in the state to enable public servants participate effectively in the programmes and activities lined up for the day.
Although some observers may simply wave the event away as a wastage of the lean resources of the state, the spiritual implication of thanksgiving and the benefits that accrue from it cannot be over emphasized. Psalm 67 verse 5-7 is apt: “Let the people praise thee o Lord, let all the people praise thee, then shall the earth yield her increase and God, even our God will bless us. God shall bless us and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him”.
A wise man once said that thanksgiving as the art of appreciating God for his goodness and blessings is an application for more. In other words, we are not qualified for more blessings from God until we have given Him thanks for the blessings we have received already from Him. A thankful heart, it is said, is a grateful heart.
Bayelsans as a people, cannot afford to be ungrateful to God. God takes exception to ungratefulness. He frowns at and abhors ingratitude, it is a sin before God. In Malachi chapter 2 verse 1-2 the word of GodS says “And now, o ye priests, this commandment is for you. If ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of host, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already because ye do not lay it to heart” So thanksgiving is a commandment of God and a debt that we owe God as a people for delivering us from total destruction.
The state has passed through thick and thin. There were times of tensed atmosphere, especially during the governorship and presidential elections, when complete breakdown of law and order seemed inevitable.
There were days of militancy, incessant kidnapping, destruction of lives and properties in the state by men of the underworld and cultists. But the mercy and grace of God saw the state through all of these without a situation of anarchy or enormous destruction of lives and properties.
This year’s thanksgiving is also significant. The year 2020 is a year to be much remembered. A friend of mine had humorously posted on his facebook wall that he had postponed his birthday to 2021, the reason was that he did not use year 2020.
According to him Corona virus used the year for him.
Statistics from the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC indicates that Bayelsa State ranked among states with the lowest Covid-19 confirmed cases and deaths in the federation. As at the last count the state ranked 24th out of the 36 states and the FCT with 403 confirmed cases and 21 deaths. This is as compared to states like Lagos with 20,935 confirmed cases and 208 deaths.
Then came the EndSars protests across the nation. The looting that followed the protests is unprecedented as hoodlums also hijacked the protests to cause enormous destruction of lives and properties in most states of the federation. Again, God miraculously exempted the state from any destruction of lives or properties. This I believe is unusual and should be attributed to the good hand of God upon the land.
Also, the inhabitants of Bayelsa State have yet been delivered from another ravaging effect of flood. These and many more reasons have prompted the need for the living in Bayelsa to thank God.
But we do not only thank God for what He has done for us. Thanksgiving is a mystery and a powerful weapon to provoke the miraculous. With the turn of events and the precarious economic fortunes of the country, Bayelsans may need the weapon of thanksgiving to sustain the much-needed development in the state.
The scripture reveals that most outstanding miracles in the New Testament were provoked by thanksgiving. For instance, Lazarus came back to life after four days in the grave by the mystery of thanksgiving. Also, Jesus fed over five thousand persons with five loaves of bread and two fishes by the mystery of thanksgiving.
As the government and people of Bayelsa State roll out the drums to celebrate this year’s annual Thanksgiving Day, under the leadership of a “Miracle Governor” Senator Douye Diri, it is our prayer that the state will continue to witness peace and political stability, an unprecedented spate of development and more miraculous times.
Wanama Dandyson, is of the State Ministry of Information, Orientation and Strategy.