By Oby Ogbonnia
Just like the National Administrative Secretary of the Overcomers Christian Mission Worldwide, Rev. Jonathan Emerole notes in his piece title “Profiled of Archbishop Ezeugo Ekewuba”, it is not easy to give a detailed account of the life and times of this rare gem and great man of faith in his sojourn here on earth for these past 72 years he stayed.
It is not therefore surprising to me on the way he began the writ-up hence, he says: “Writing about Archbishop Alexander Ezeugo Ekewuba can be likened to solving a puzzle! A puzzle because, it is impossible to capture his life and work with the Lord within the context of a profile”.
From the same perspective, writing or talking about Archbishop Alexander, Ezeugo, Ijezie, Onukwugha, Onukwufor Ekewuba to me is like describing an elephant by the mythical blind men in the legendary poem who could only account of the particular place they touched, which was why some who touched its tusks said it was like a pillar, others touched its body and reported that it was like a wall others, his ears and said they were like fans, etc. I came to know him as far back as 1997, shortly after the much orchestrated Otokoto saga of September, 1996 in which he was roped in and accused of possessing some human skulls which he used to demonstrate God’s power of deliverance of people who were under satanic captivity. In that controversy, his place of worship situated behind the Dan Anyiam International Football Stadium, Owerri was torched, alongside other buildings identified with persons involved in the Otokoto saga.
I also attended a wedding ceremony in the said place of this colleague of mine, Rev. Jonathan Emerole who was a news editor then in the Nigeria Statesman Newspaper owned by the Imo State Government who is now the national administrative secretary of the church. Hearing this anointed man of God preach, one would notice at the first instance that he is loquacious, bold, blunt and very charismatic, among other qualities. Most of the members who are also blessed with various gifts are people he had mentored, done deliverance sessions of varying satanic problems and curses.
Owing to the encounter he had with the Imo state Government, the court, the media and the topical issue of otokoto which some segments of the Imo society used to point an accusing finger at him and ridiculed him thereby, he came to acquire a new understanding of this important segment of the society known as the media.
According to his confession to some of us who came close to him before and after that episode, he thought that being a reverend minister and going about the business of preaching of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, there was nothing else to care about until he came to discover how important and powerful the media could be.
Based on this new conviction and understanding, he began to be very friendly with the media, hence between 2002 and 2014, he instituted a yearly ritual in which he would invite members of the press either before the celebration of Christmas or after the New year whereby he would organize a party with activities such as preaching, praying and serving of meals, normally well garnished jollof rice and fried cow meat to the extent of purchasing a live cow for that purpose, at which end he distributed envelops packaged with notes of naira for each person.
At every gathering our numerical strength could be put to 50 or more. Those of us who had various spiritual life challenges used the opportunity to intimate him or consult him on various issues of life and questionable life challenges, and his exhortations, preachings, prayers, teachings and upbraiding paid off well, as he used those things to open up our spiritual understanding and put us back on the right track.
Therefore, Archbishop Ezeugo Ekewuba was a man that one can say that his calling as a servant of God impacted positively on many, hence one can understand why the owner of the 100.4 Fm My Radio Station, Owerri in the person of Mr. Uche Ogbuagu promised to run a live commentary on the burial of this great spiritual father of many.
Talking on his spiritual exploits, he was known to have fought many spiritual battles with deities like the Alaogbaga of Mbaise, Igwekala of Umunoha and that of Okija in Ihiala, Anambra State in addition to delivering people struck with madness and other demonic issues.
Still on his spiritual exploits, here is an excerpt from Rev. Jonathan Emerole, “Ezeugo was specially anointed to deal with satanic forces. He never wavered in the cause of executing this mandate but boldly confronted them. His passion for the work and love for God propelled him to action, and never expected material reward. Even at the risk of his health, Ezeugo still made himself ready and willing to preach for people, write and distribute tracts and charged people to repent and serve God. No wonder God used him mightily to save souls, heal the sick, deliver the bound, break curses and bless the barren. He was a rare man of God who trod where many preachers feared”.
According to the said profile, Ezeugo’s converts, sons, grandsons and daughters can be found in Pentecostal churches and fellowships all over the world, including Owerri. They include Bishop Innocent Erimujor of Healing the Nations Ministries, Bishop Ngozi Durueke of Living Waters Ministries, Bishop Titus Akanabu of Seed of Life Christian Evangelical Mission, Prime Bishop Chima Amadi of Holiness Evangelical Church and Rev. Princewill Odikanwa of Platform of Comfort Ministries, etc.
It is being speculated that the Overcomers Christian Mission is about the largest Pentecostal Movement founded by an Imo indigene with over 150 branches and 170 pastors spread across Nigeria and overseas. Before his exit on Tuesday, feb, 6, 2018, he succeeded in building a spiritual, healthy and strong church based on biblical holiness and righteousness.
From the outset of his calling, God arrested Ezeugo at the County Grammar School, Ikwerre-Etche, River State when he was just 20 years of age, though he wanted to be a medical doctor. He abandoned the idea, picked up his bible and obeyed God. His search for the true knowledge of God brought him to the Bible Missionary Church (BMC), Okomoko, Port-Harcourt where he passed through the tutelage of its founder, Rev. Alexander Alaibo who is also late.
At BMC, he opened up few branches of the church including the one in his Avu country home. During his days as a student at Emmanuel College, Owerri , he served as a chapel prefect and revived the scripture union in Owerri which used to meet at Uzii lay-out, from there, the pioneer members of Holiness Evangelistic Church were drawn.
In the face of stiff opposition by the orthodox churches, he persisted as an itinerant evangelist, combing all the nooks and crannies of Owerri and winning souls for Christ wherever he went.
In recognition of his stead fastness in the Lord’s work amidst persecution, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) under the leadership of Bishop Mike Okonkwo of the Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) consecrated Ezeugo a bishop in Feb, 1999 in Nov, 2010 the International Fellowship of Pentecostal Clerics of Pentecostal Cleric (IFPC) inaugurated him an archbishop. He later founded the Overcomers Christian Theological Education for pastors and subsequently, the Council of the Pentecostal Bishops and city Elders to check the excesses and widespread recklessness and unethical practices of new generation pastors in order to provide sound leadership.
Born on December 7, 1945 to Mr. Harold and Mrs. Bernice Ekewuba of blessed memory, in Umuehieta village in Avu Autonomous Community of Owerri West Local Government Area, Imo State, Ezeugo as he was fondly called could be described as having been born with a golden spoon in his mouth because his father was the manager of Kingsway Stores, Onitsha being an exotic and a high profile supermarket in those days.
Unfortunately at the age of five, Ezeugo lost his father in 1951, while his mother, the first nurse in the community, trained by the Anglican Missionaries also died few years after.
He lad his primary school education at Central School Avu, before proceeding to county Grammar School, Ikwere-Etche, River State for his secondary school education which was interrupted by the Nigeria-Biafra civil war in 1969.
At the end of the war, he concluded his secondary education in 1970 at Emmanuel College, Owerri. He later went to the Prestigious Calvary College of Theology (CCT) Igritta, Port-Harcourt and came out with distinction. He lectured at the Wesley Bible College, Orji in Owerri North LGA before resigning to embrace full preaching of the gospel.
Te scriptures say in Dan 11:32 that “they that do known their God shall be strong and exploits and, indeed, Ezeugo did that when one looks down memory lane at his efforts in spreading the Good News and winning souls for Christ.
God blessed him with an amiable wife, Bishop (Mrs.) Francisca Ezeugo Ekewuba and they are blessed with seven children and five grand children. Any wonder it is said that behind any successful man, there is a woman?
As his remains are being buried today, we bid God’s servant, charismatic preacher the Lord’s battle axe, exemplary leader and spiritual father to many a resounding farewell as he has joined the saints triumphant, having fought the good fight of faith and waiting to be crowned alongside others by the Lord Jesus Christ on that glorious day.
Adieu great man of faith and trail blazer. May you find eternal rest in the bosom of the Lord in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
By Oby Ogbonnia