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Published On: Sun, Aug 26th, 2018

Eminent Nigerians knock fake pastors, prophecies

– Mimiko, Ebi, Abdullahi, others point to their economic basis and extol the virtue in hard work


In what was a gathering of who is who in Nigeria’s business, journalism and political elite at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) on Saturday August 18, 2018 on the occasion of the launch of the book “Saved for His Praise, A Personal Testimony,” authored by publisher of Business Hallmark Newspaper, Prince Emeka Obasi, various speakers took turns to assess the destruction caused by the rising tide of false prophecies and fake divination in the country.

Former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi; Ondo State former governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko(who wrote the forward of the book), wife of the Authour, Dr. Mrs Elizabeth Mankini Emeka-Obasi and the Chairman of the occasion, Ernest Ebi at the public presentation of Saved For His Praise, a book written by Prince Emeka Obasi in Victoria Island, Lagos. Photo credit: Guardian

The book which, according to its reviewer, Mr. Eniola Bello, managing director of ThisDay newspapers dwells on the author’s sad experience with fake prophets who convinced his siblings that he was responsible for their lack of progress in life. This innocuous seed, he said, triggered a chain of events that culminated into a debilitating ailment that nearly took his life.

The book launch was a celebration of life and offered an opportunity for speakers to share their own experiences on the subject and how it had wrecked homes of loved ones and friends and ultimately contributed to the country’s hydra-headed developmental challenges. In sum, they concluded that this pernicious trend has its base in the objective economic existence of Nigerians.

In his address, Chairman of the occasion,  Mr. Ernest Ebi (MFR), former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and an elder in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, decried what he called the “bombardment” of the country with false prophesies which , according to him, have destroyed families, broke marriages as well as relationships.

He regretted that Nigeria had come to a point where people prefer to depend on miracles and divination rather than work to achieve success, insisting that while it was important to have faith in God, such ‘faith without work is dead’.

“We have been bombarded in this country with a lot of fake ministries and false prophets; people who say when God has not said,” he lamented. “And they have destroyed families, they have destroyed communities.

“I know of friends that the so-called cash-and-carry prophets have destroyed their marriages. It’s becoming an epidemic in Nigeria and I hope people learn from this book.

“The Bible says that faith without work is dead. If you don’t work, don’t expect that prayer will take you anywhere. You have to pray and work. But here, we just believe in praying. That’s why we are not getting results in Nigeria. We have become a butt of jokes internationally that we pray unendingly, yet we are the poorest nation in the world. That has to change, ” he said.

Mr. Ebi described the book’s author, Obasi as a man on a journey, a very passionate and hard working person whom God had separated from his siblings to take to his place of destiny.

“We all know of Joseph who was hated by his brothers,” he said. “They dumped him in a pit, but because he was destined for greatness, God separated him from them to take him to his place of destiny.

“And that’s why we talk about him in the Bible today. Nobody talks about his brothers. We talk about Emeka Obasi today, nobody knows about his siblings.

“Truly, Emeka is a man on a journey. God has not finished with him yet. He is going somewhere; he is somebody I know very well. He is very passionate, he believes truly in everything that he does. I know God is taking him somewhere.”

In his own remarks, former Ondo State governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko who wrote the forward to the book, attributed the proliferation of fake prophets to the country’s growing poverty and economic challenges, pointing out that the upsurge in Pentecostalism which gave birth to it coincided with the Structural Adjustment Programme of the 80s.

“Let me tickle our imagination a bit and try to position the proliferation of fake prophets that is now part of the typical Nigerian psyche; what I call short-termism and instant gratification,” Mimiko said.

“I’m not a historian of Pentecostalism, but I know that there seemed to be an upsurge of Pentecostalism in Nigeria in the 80s. And that seemed to coincide with that era of structural adjustment, when we had our first shock as a nation. It dawned on us that we could not just continue to live our lives as we used to.

“That was also the time when the talk about the diversification of our economy became mainstream vocabulary in our discourse. And it was all about the fact that we had an economy shock. Around that era, there was an upsurge of the new Pentecostalism and its multiplication of fake prophets. Everybody was seeking a miracle. And like my chairman said, people were after more miracles than more work.

“And we know the result. We have become today, the poorest nation on earth in terms of the quantum of poor people. And you look at the typical church… again, I’m a Christian of the Redeemed Christian faith, I’m born again and spirit filled. So my critique is borne out of deep thoughts and every word that proceeds from my mouth concerning this, is something that has given me deep thoughts too.

“But let’s look at the content of our miracles. You will see that they are invariably related to the economic trajectory of the nation. I will give you an example. If you go to many Pentecostal churches and say, ‘Praise the Lord, you have a wonderful miracle today, you have just won American visa lottery’. In churches today, people celebrate that they have won visa lottery.

“And when you position that against the fact that many resisted to be transported to the plantations in America; many people even jumped into the sea rather than being taken away. But now, we voluntarily celebrate being taken away for menial jobs abroad,” he said.

The former governor noted that miracles are not inherently bad and that even the continued survival of Nigeria as a nation is a miracle, but insisted that one must not sit back and rely on miracles without doing the right things.

“We then have to understand that there is an economic undercurrent in most of our miracles. I am a believer in miracles, miracles are desirable. Nigeria itself is a miracle. The fact that we still exist as a nation is a miracle. The fact that, despite the entrenched perversions in the land, we still exist is divine. In spite of what we have done to ourselves we still exist as a nation.

“In 1994, the most intense genocide in history took place. In 100 days, about one million people were butchered in Rwanda. And most of the killings were not by guns, it was by machetes. If I take that side by side with the level of perversions, the level of self affliction in Nigeria and we have not gotten to that stage, you know that Nigeria is a miracle on its own.”

He regretted that the Nigerian society has failed to organise itself, noting that we now have a situation where everyone is poor and we depend on miracles for simple things we can do for ourselves.

“Let me just tell you empirical facts. In talking about health, you talk about longevity, you talk about life expectancy. But the interesting thing is that no matter how long you pray, Nigeria remains a country with very low life expectancy.

“By WHO figures, Japan has the highest life expectancy in the world. It is about 85 years. That is, if you are Japanese on the average whether you pray or you don’t pray; whether you are a target of miracle or not, you will spend 85 years on earth. If you are in Nigeria, whether you live in the church or mosque; whether you are a miracle worker or a miracle recipient or not, the average life expectancy of a Nigerian is under 55.

“It might interest you to know that even Sudan and Somalia have longer life expectancy than Nigeria, and it’s very embarrassing. So, there are also miracles related to the economic well-being of the nation.”

He emphasised that God had created human beings with brains to be able to come up with solutions to problems and therefore, should not be relied on to solve simple challenges He had equipped us to solve.

“I think the greatest miracle that God has performed is the creation of the human mind. He has given it to us to exercise it. But we live in a society where the extent to which you can exercise it is also a product of how that society is run.

“So, while we pray for the kind of miracle we want, we must also pray for the actualisation of the greatest miracle God has given to man, which is the human mind. And if we don’t organise ourselves well as a society, the miracle will not come. We will continue to be poor.

“I was once a governor and was having meeting with some chiefs and everyone was in their big ‘agbada.’ Everybody was a big man in the room. And I dared to say that ‘all of you are poor’. They said what do I mean? I said yes, you never really know that you are poor until you are sick and you have to come up with money that will save your life.

“Everybody can be a big boy, but if it’s a question of life or death, and you have to come up with money that will save your life, that’s when you know you are poor. And I said, supposing you are diagnosed with an emergency, and you need just about N5million. How many of you can bring out your cheque book and write N5million?

“I’m talking about poverty within the context of how we organize ourselves as a society. God forbid it, but if any of you are traveling today to Abuja and you have the best of exotic cars in your convoy and you have an accident between Lokoja and Abuja. To start with, you become a poor man immediately. Even if you can afford an ambulance to take you to Germany or U.S., but there and then, your wealth, your self-worth will depend on the extent to which the society has organized itself.

“People will now start looking for axes to drag you out. In the process of extrication, some suffer spinal cord injury which they never recover from. After that, they will start waving down vehicles to see if any of them will carry you. Eventually, you could be lucky to have a Hilux truck that would pack you at the back and before you get to the hospital, you may have died.

“But consider another clime when immediately there is an accident, in three minutes, you hear the sound of an ambulance. Isn’t that a miracle? It’s a miracle. That is the actualisation of God’s given miracle to man. There is a way our miracle is also related to the extent to which we organize ourselves in society. That’s why no matter how wealthy you are in terms of the size of your pocket, within Nigeria, you are deep in poverty.

Mimiko described Prince Obasi as “quintessential” gentlemen and a blessing to his generation, noting that God has a reason for saving his life because according to him, God does not waste his resources.

“You are a quintessential gentleman and you are a blessing to your generation. I have no doubt in my mind that the God that has spared your life has a very good reason for doing it. God doesn’t waste his resources, he is very efficient. The fact that you are still living means that God has something special in store for you!

He also praised his wife, Dr. (Mrs.) Betty Obasi for standing solidly behind her husband in her time of trials.

“Madam, thank you for taking care of Emeka; when you have a wife like that, 60 to 70 percent of your problems is solved. You are a miracle indeed, in your own right.”

Also speaking, the immediate past National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, while also decrying the preponderance of fake divination, noted that the author’s divine healing was testimony to the fact that miracle still happens.

He praised the author as a good man who showed enormous amount of trust in him by appointing him as the pioneer editor of Hallmark newspaper; noting that although he left the publication after the 6th edition, he had no grudge but instead wished him well.

“I think just after the 6th edition, I got an offer of a job with African Leadership Forum and for almost two weeks, I didn’t know how to tell Emeka that I had to go to African Leadership Forum,” Bolaji said.

“I guess he already heard. When I eventually summoned courage and walked to him and said, ‘Publisher, I got another job at the African Leadership Forum and I will like to leave,’ I was shocked when he said, ‘But did you negotiate a good salary for yourself?’ I said, ‘well, it’s better than what you are paying me.’ He said I wish you all the best, you are a wonderful man.”

“I had no idea he went through this because he never betrayed it. It’s either he calls me to ask me how Dr. (Bukola) Saraki is faring or to tell me to tell him to stay strong. He never told me he was going through what he went through. And in retrospect, I now feel I was not sensitive enough. But I’m extremely happy he made it. Not many people live to tell this kind of story. I think it’s a testimony to the fact that miracle still happens,” he concluded.

The reviewer, Bello noted that the book is a “test of faith” while praising the author’s “fighting spirit.” He said the book tells of the author’s battle with a debilitating illness that defied medical science and some of its finest practitioners at home and abroad.

“Reading Saved for His Praise, the book being presented today, my perception of Emeka as a mentally tall person is further reinforced.” he noted. “For it takes an unquantifiable inner strength for a man who wrestled with death physically and spiritually to so visibly put down the account of events as it in this book.

“Saved for His Praise is an account of the author’s battle with a debilitating illness that almost took his life. It started sometime in 2014 and deteriorated to the point where he was unable to leave his room or take his bath or use the toilet or eat. A man who was not disabled, but was confined to a wheelchair as he was moved between hospitals to do this is a miracle.

“It’s the story of an illness which some of the best medical consultants in some of the best hospitals in London could not put a name to. In tests after tests, they could not lay their hands on what ailed the author, even as his health condition continually deteriorated before their very eyes.”

He noted that it was “after the physicians had practically given up on him that the author’s battle for his life moved from the medical fully into the spiritual – with a network of pastors in Nigeria and South Africa and UK and USA battling for his soul.”

“The book,” he narrated,  “is also the story of the author growing up as one among eleven children of the same parents in Umuaroko, a small community in Umuahia, Abia State. Becoming the first graduate in the family, and rising like a bright star in the family and consequently incurring the envy and anger of the other siblings.

“It is a story of brother against brother, sister against brother, culminating in disagreements among siblings and swelling up a complex relationships of uncles and aunties and other relations; it is a story of envy, of spiritual manipulation leading to unfounded allegations.

“The seed of mistrust was planted when the author’s elder sister accused him of being an occult member, an accusation coming as a result of a revelation from a prophetess. Most of the other siblings, especially the first son and the larger family, appeared to believe the said outlandish accusation and the evidence of this? The galaxy of eminent politicians and governors and business men that honored the author by attending their father’s burial and the display of money and cows that has become a national tradition at such events.

“The attempt by elders and other members of the family to intervene and arrest the situation, widened the gulf between the siblings, leading to further allegation that the author’s assumed wealth could only have been because he used spiritual powers to shave off his siblings heads.”

In his remarks, the author, Prince Obasi said he wrote the book to thank God for the salvation of his soul, and to make it known to everyone that it’s God who saved him.

“I wrote this book to thank God for the salvation of my soul,” he said. “When we give testimony in the Redeemed Christian Church, we begin by thanking God for the salvation of our souls. That’s the most important.

“That’s the reason I wrote the book, to glorify the name of God. Because people thought they would put me, my wife and my children to shame. The idea was to put us to shame; to provide an alibi for evil; to provide a justification for evil.

“I’m the 5th child in the family of 11, the 3rd boy and the first graduate.

The only reason I’m here, the only reason I can be here; the only reason Tony Chiejina will come to me and say hold on for your friend, Alhaji (Aliko Dangote), is that God chose me for favour. It’s not by might.

“The Bible says, the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. I didn’t make myself, the Lord chose me for favour. It is that favour that is the cause of my ‘wahala.’ But I thank God for it because he says, many are the afflictions of the righteous, the good Lord will deliver him from all of them. I thank God for his grace; I thank God for delivering me.

“I wrote this book to thank God, to declare publicly that’s God that saved me. The Bible says the name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runs into it and is saved. At critical times, I prayed it. The Bible says whoever believes in the name of the Lord shall not be put to shame. Those two, I held onto.”

Other speakers on the occasion included Mr. ABC Orjiako, Chairman of Seplat Petroleum who was chief launcher. Alhaji Abdulaziz Chibuzo Ude, Chief Martin Agbaso and others.




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