By Vera Wisdom-Bassey
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo led many dignitaries who gathered at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, yesterday to bid farewell to Rev. Obiora Ezekiel, the late founder and General Overseer of Christian Pentecostal Mission, who died some months ago.
Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer, Redeemed Christian Church of God; Bishop David Oyedepo, General Overseer, Living Faith Worldwide, aka Winners Chapel; Bishop Wale Oke, President, Sword of the Lord Ministries, Ibadan, and Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN); Bishop Mike Okonkwo, General Overseer, The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM); Rev. Uma Ukpai, founder of Uma Ukpai Evangelical Association (UUEA); Rev. Felix Omobude, former PFN President and General Superintendent of Gospel Light International Ministries (New Covenant Gospel Church) and Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, wife of Lagos State Governor who represented her husband were also in attendance.
While Ukpai gave testimony of his friendship and worldwide evangelistic tours with Ezekiel, Okonkwo prayed for the family. Wale Oke prayed for the church he left behind. Adeboye delivered the funeral sermon, something he said he was doing for the third time since he became a pastor.
Adeboye who described late Ezekiel as “the bulldozer”, a terror to demons while he was alive recalled how the man visited him at Mushin where he lived in a one-room apartment to encourage him after he was made the G.O of RCCG. “This made us to be very close.”
Recounting Ezekiel’s last days on earth, he said that when he visited the late cleric, the deceased was only able to respond to his good morning greeting.
“When I asked him, how are you?, he did not respond to my question. What would you like me to pray for you? No answer. But then he held my hand as if he was saying: ‘are you seeing what I am seeing?’ After I prayed for him, he left my hand. Two days later, I was told he has died.”
Throwing a challenge to the audience, he urged them not to weep for Ezekiel but for themselves, saying the cleric had gone to be with the Lord,. Warning members and leaders of the church not to take undue advantage of the founder’s exit to foment trouble, he noted that “our work will be tried with fire.”
In her tribute to her late husband, Rev. Mercy Ezekiel remarked that she has not only lost a confidant but a friend, a neighbour and “everything I have.” When he was sick, she said, she prayed that he would not die. But he was not happy and rebuked her for holding him back from going. His remains were later laid to rest at the church headquarters, Lagos.