The 7th edition of The Experience held on Friday, Dec. 7, 2012 at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) Lagos. It is an annual Gospel music concert organised by the Pastor Paul Adefarasin-led House On The Rock (HOTR) church.
It featured spectacular musical performances by great international and local artists including Don Moen, Chevelle Franklyn, Deitrick Haddon, Israel Houghton, Fred Hammond, John Francis and Micah Stampley.
There were also performances by Sammie Okposo, Mike Aremu, Timi Dakolo, Wale Adenuga, South Africa’s Soweto Spiritual Singers, Chosen Treasure, the in-house choir of HOTR and Michelle Williams who sang the National Anthem elegantly before the president’s speech.
Michelle Williams doing the Anthem
President Goodluck Jonathan who addressed the congregation through a pre-recorded message beamed via the giant screens at the event urged Nigerians to put aside all religious differences and strive to build one great and united nation.
“There’s nothing we can’t accomplish as a nation as long as we can put aside our religious differences. The road ahead demands great sacrifices but there is no shortcut to greatness,” he said.
He noted that though 2012 has been a very challenging one for the country it is a testament to the indomitable spirit of the Nigerian that we still gather to thank God and an evidence that the Nigeria we all dream of can be achieved.
He further thanked all Nigerians for praying for the country and stated that as long as there are committed Nigerians praying for our leaders, there shall be success.
The event also featured great men of God who led the more than 500, 000-strong crowd in prayers for the country.
Among them were former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, who is also a pastor.
Gowon registered his joy at being able to participate in this year’s event after missing all previous six editions. He congratulated the convener, Adefarasin, on a very successful event.
He went on to say that he was very happy to be a Nigerian. “I am very happy for the opportunity given to me to reconcile the nation after the civil war,” he said.
“That was the only time in the history of the world that a country has survived division after such a fractious and terrible war,” he pointed out.
He lamented the present situation in the north. “What is happening in the North bleeds my heart. I thought after the bloodshed we’ve had over the years, we will not have any more but sadly we are still having it.
“Prayers are better than guns and weapons,” he said as he led the congregation in prayer.
Rev. Emmanuel Ziga who came from the North disclosed that about 70 churches have closed in Maiduguri alone while all the churches in Yobe State have either been shut down or destroyed.
He solicited the help of the West and Eastern Christians for the North while pointing out that the Arabs also help out their brother Moslems over there before going on to pray in Hausa language.
Rev. Felix Meduonye of the Foursquare Gospel Church prayed for infrastructure and electricity in Nigeria.
“Electricity is power and it takes power for anything to happen. If in our country we do not solve the problem of power, we will not go far,” he said before the prayer.
Pastor Sam Adeyemi of the Daystar Christian Centre also led the congregation in prayers for our leaders.
He said that the body always follows the direction of the head.
“I believe there’s a new Nigeria evolving and I’m part of it. Leaders must see people, places and things the way they should be and not just the way they are.
“Our leaders need vision because if a blind man is a leader then the led are going nowhere,” he said as he prayed.
A miracle was registered on the scene at about 10:15p.m as a young lady named Tosin threw away her crutches and the cast on her legs while Deitrick Haddon sang.
She was led on to the stage to give her testimony and she said: “I fell down two weeks ago and sprained my ankles badly. The doctor prescribed an operation after seeing my X-ray and also told me that I’ll be in crutches for eight weeks.
“I have been in it for a week now and last night I insisted on coming for the programme against the wish of my parents and friends. While Mr Haddon was singing, I felt something happen to my legs as I was dancing with my crutches.
“I felt the urge to throw them away and remove my casts. I did and found I could walk well again. Praise the Lord!” she shouted.
Comic relief was also provided by comedians MC Abbey, Yaw and Akpororo. They all kept their jokes clean in line with the solemn tone of programme.
The event was compered in sections by Pastor Adefarasin and Pastor Goodheart Ekwueme of the Northern churches of HOTR.
Among the worshippers in the congregation were the First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs Abimbola Fashola, Gov. Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State and his wife and Ayo Oritsejafor the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Other pastors who prayed were Victor Adeyemi, Amos Kuyat, Coleen Akinboboye, Anselm Madubuko, Bishop John Francis who preached the Gospel and Yinka Akinbami who delivered the benediction by some minutes to 6.a.m on Saturday morning as the event ended.