Akwa Ibom State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno, has spoken of the late Prelate Emeritus of Methodist Church Nigeria, Dr Sunday Mbang as an embodiment of Christian virtues, Icon of national unity, love, morality and tolerance.
Governor Eno stated this in a funeral oration he presented at the obsequies of the late Prelate Emeritus, held at His Eminence Mbang Methodist Cathedral, Eket, Akwa Ibom State.
The Governor who led dignitaries across the country to bid farewell to the late Prelate said of the deceased as a man of deep faith, who saw the ennobling ideals in other faiths, lived the aspiration of Nigeria and showed himself a great patriot who considered character and principles of those who came in contact with him, over the limiting impulses of geography.
The Governor therefore expressed the deep condolences of the government and people of the State to the family and entire Methodist community, reminiscing the life and times of the departed Prelate Emeritus with glowing tributes.
“We are gathered here to bid farewell to a shepherd who stayed close to his flock even at a point of personal harm, a quintessential son and an ecclesiastical Ambassador of our dear State, the late Prelate Emeritus of the Methodist Church, Nigeria, the first Chairman of the World Methodists Council of African ancestry, an advocate of religious or inter-faith collaborations and tolerance, a proponent of good governance, who was not afraid to speak truth to power, the late Prelate Emeritus of the Methodist Church Nigeria, Dr. Sunday Mbang, CON.
“Today, Nigeria is a better place because he collaborated and worked with other religious leaders so the rainbow of colours on our national religious firmament would illuminate and beautify our diversity”, Governor Eno remarked.
The Governor who acknowledged the tremendous support of late Prelate Mbang towards his emergence as governor, said he was a voice of morality and reason, who was the moral force behind the formation of “Fathers in Faith”, a dedicated Association for supporting the peace and development in the State, through which he midwifed the enthronement of good governance with Godly values.
He observed that death by its nature is meant to deprive humans of joy and happiness, create a vacuum and inflict on them such pain and anguish that may be difficult to bear emphasising that Mbang’s contribution to humanity will remain a consolation that he led a worthy life.
He said, “Death cannot kill or erase his huge contributions to the Body of Christ. Death cannot kill his love for this nation and especially our State, and our capacity to ARISE and be all that God had intended for us. Death cannot kill his deep spirit of altruism. Our Prelate will continue to live in our hearts because he was a generational gift and what he represented will forever live in our memories for generations”.
The former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, affirming the series of tributes in honour of the late Prelate Emeritus, recalled his days as President and how close he got to be with Mbang then as head of the Methodist Church and Chairman of National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, despite the cleric’s frankness in speaking his mind to power.
He credited the ecumenical centre built during his tenure at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to the then Methodist Prelate and CAN President, whose purposefulness and consistency compelled him to lead a fund raising to build national Christian Worship Centre and the only cathedral with a revolving altar.
Delivering a homily culled from Ecclesiastes 44:1-15, the General Secretary, World Methodist Council, Bishop Ivan Abraham, said the legacies and adorable exit of the Prelate Emeritus should place on the mind of the living the question of what they would be remembered for upon their exit from earth and what awaits them in eternity, stressing that death is not the end for those that trust in the Lord, but a transition to be with the creator.
The Paramount Ruler of Eket Local Government Area, Edidem E. C. D. Abia, described late Sunday Mbang as a great example in faith, courage and integrity, as well as a worthy ambassador of the Ekid nation that will be greatly missed, not just by Eket people, but Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria and the world body of Christians.
In his tribute, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Frank Archibong, Chairman Akwa Ibom Internal Revenue Service, Mr. Okon Okon and former Commissioner of Agriculture, Dr. Glory Edet, reminisced the life and times of Prelate Mbang, saying he was a father to all having exhibited exemplary grace in upholding successive governments of the state in prayers with consistency.
Sympathizers at the funeral included Immediate past Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Emmanuel and Wife Dr (Mrs) Martha Udom Emmanuel, Labour Party Presidential Candidate in the 2023 elections, Mr Peter Obi, Former State Governor, Arc. Obong Victor Attah, Speaker, State House Of Assembly, Rt Hon Udeme Otong, former Deputy Governor Mr Moses Ekpo, Senator Helen Esuene, Chairman, State Traditional Rulers Council, Ntenyin Solomon Etuk, Paramount Ruler of Eket, Edidem E. C. D. Abia, among others.