From Chukwudera Eze, Enugu
He is a man of honour and on Sunday, November 6th, 2016, the lecture theatre of Faculty of Education of University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), played host to hundreds of people who chose to use this day to honour him for his meritorious service for 46 years as a pastor to The Apostolic Church before being retired from pastoral service at the age of 70.
Pastor Benjamin Ogu could not have wished to have it another way as the lecture hall was filled to the brim by members, fellow pastors, family members, friends and well wishers who had come not only to celebrate this joyful occasion with him but to also bid him goodbye, though with mixed emotions. In other words, the occasion turned out one of double celebration, first to mark his 70th birthday anniversary and, secondly, to send him forth from the Apostolic Church, Nsukka District, where he served his flock/congregation for years.
The service that started at about 10am with a few people in attendance, soon saw large crowd filling up the hall and even spilling over into the surroundings of the lecture theatre. They all turned up in various colourful attires, from the English to African wears.
Seated at the centre of the colourfully decorated table, garnished with flowers and choice wine wrapped in fine cloths, were Pastor Ogu and his amiable wife, Deaconness Grace. They beamed with smiles as the event progressed. To make the occasion a groovy one, both The Apostolic Church Choir and Christian music band were invited to lift up the spirit of the guests with melodious Christian songs with subdued beats.
Speaker after speaker spoke glowingly about Pastor Ogu whose pastoral work has taken him to numerous places in Igbo land since 1970. In his remark, the chairman of the occasion, Elder Prosper Dike, described him as an icon and legend in the vineyard of God. “He is like a father, mentor, a man filled with the Holy Spirit,” he said of him. “He never believes in failure and has never failed. He is not retiring from the work of the Lord. I pray that he will do more exploits outside Apostolic Church.”
Earlier in his message titled “Father’s Blessing” with the text based on Genesis 27:25-29, Pastor James Uzoma noted the importance of Father’s blessing, adding that the blessing differentiates succeses from failures. The celebrant who could not hold back his joy, appreciated God for seeing him through his service years
Narrating his experiences, Pastor Ogu remembered the time he was posted to a certain place, and, after few days of staying there, he encountered scorpions, about 15 of them, in one of the rooms and killed them at a go.
“Also the time I was posted from Delta to Imo state, I stayed ten solid years in that district. Completing the church building was a big task for me, but as I looked unto God, I was able to finish the building and also equip the church before my transfer to another station. There was also an instance I was posted to Abia State. I wanted people to liaise with me to raise the church building, but they were against that. They wouldn’t want the resources that come into the church to be used for church development but for their own selfish end. But with God helping us, we were able to finish the building.
“In fact, in all the churches we have pastored, God has really used us to develop the places for His own glory irrespective of the challenges we encountered. God has always been our strength; he gave us victory in all ramifications.”