‘Nigerians must learn to endure pains’
BY CHRISTY ANYANWU
Ephraim Faloughi, Chairman, Sovereign Trust Insurance is rarely seen on the social scene these days. But the 73-year- old chief was seen at the Iye ball Gala and Awards Night organized by his church, Cherubim and Seraphim International. This is what he told Effects on the occasion.
You have just turned 73, how has life in retirement been?
We thank God. It’s not easy. When I say retire, I’m still active but I’m handing over the business to my children. But it’s not easy; you can’t just abandon what you have built over the years to the children overnight. I still work but sparingly. They are well trained and well brought up. My children are well educated. I didn’t bring them into the business early but gradually, they are taking over. They are trying. They are four girls. One of them is in Insurance; I made sure she studied Insurance.
Now that you are retired, how do you relax?
It doesn’t mean I don’t go to work, I only slowed down. I’m still teaching them.
We know you as a socialite, do you still party?
If I’m invited but I don’t go to everywhere I’m invited to. I have to look at it first, if it’s worth my presence.
You have seen it all, what has life taught you?
Life has taught me to be patient and be good to people as much as I can. Thank God for His mercies. Try to live a good life and be honest as much as possible and believe in this nation.
You are a successful man, what makes a good businessman?
Honesty. First of all, you got to dedicate yourself, believe in what you are doing and be honest.
Of all businesses, why did you choose Insurance?
We bought over a dead insurance company, and we took over and restructured it and then took it to where it is today.
You said your children run your businesses, when exactly did you retire?
April this year. I was 73 on November 17th. The spirit is willing but the body is weak.
What are your expectations for this country?
Give Buhari a chance. He is the only one who can sort out the problems of this country. All the corruption. Buhari is the only one who can handle this country, and we need to give him a chance. Nigerians have to learn to be patient. We are not patient at all. We are impatient, we don’t even have the guts, we can’t withstand pain and we have to learn how to withstand pain, believing that tomorrow will be brighter. There’s too much corruption in this country and the corrupt are fighting the man and it’s not fair. I will vote for him any day.
Could you talk more about Iye Ball?
It’s the dynamism of the leader of the branch and I’m the head of the branch. Zizi Cardow’s flair for doing things began the drive for membership of the church and to also portray the church that it’s not just about wearing white but that we worship God. Also, we want to inculcate into the younger generation that all roads leads to God from different angles hence the Iye Ball. For the award recipients, there is a selection process. They just don’t give it to you, because you are my friend. The first award night was basically for all church members, maybe from Port Harcourt, Abuja and Lagos. But tonight we have two awardees that are not our members.
Does it mean the event is also meant to re-brand Cherubim and Seraphim movement?
Yes, we are trying to re-brand the white garment church. Nobody believes I belong to the white garment church. Put it this way, I hope and I believe I’m successful and I’m a public figure and I’m a custodian of the OON. I have contributed immensely to the growth of this nation. For me, to be in the Cherubim and Seraphim movement, a white garment church, it’s my salvation and you don’t condemn any church because that road is very tiny, very tiny road that leads to Christ. So, whether you are worshipping God in white garment or in suit, it doesn’t make any difference. It’s what you do that matters. Christ never wore suit neither did He wear jacket. If you read the bible, you find out that our white garment; the waistband (amure) and cap originate from the bible. White garment is fine. In any church, you have the bad eggs definitely be it Pentecostal or orthodox. There is a generational change that is coming up. We pray to God that things should stabilize. We pray for the nation.
Did you give your life to Christ in white garment church?
I have always been in white garment church as a 13-year-old boy. My mother died in 1958. When white garment church came first to Orlu in Imo State, I was 13 years old. My stepfather and my mother were in Orlu, I was with them. They used to trade. We used to laugh at them and sang Cherubim Ota Miri Akpu, Cherubim Ota Mmiri Akpu and when God called me, I saw it in a dream and I went into Cherubim and Seraphim movement. Whatever I am today, tomorrow, it’s God and the movement that made me. The essence of this event is to propagate the gospel and to invite the younger ones who are not members to know that in white garment church, we pray. We have no other means except prayers.
As a socialite, what’s your friends’ reaction when they saw you wearing white garment?
They laugh at me but I’m not ashamed. They laugh. Give Caesar what is Caesar’s and God what is God’s. Without God, we are nothing.