Gifts differ. Some believers have uncommon gifting. Canon Echi Nwogu, MA, MBA, Dip [Th], etc, of Anglican Communion, is in this class.
We told our children the need of visiting their grandma, 88 years, living in FESTAC Town, Lagos, and not to wait when she dies, they will buy ‘airplanes’ for her monumental burial. Two month ago, the ones in Nigeria, visited her. Imagine her joy, receiving nine great grandchildren! Engr. Echi Nwogu told me on Nov. 6, at 4.27pm, that he was at Otampa on his way to late Emma Ota’s place. He asked for the name and told him. I called later but it did not go. Did he reach safely? Who would he see as Emma’s children and siblings had left?
The next day, he sent me a text detailing how he paid his respect and took some photographs at his grave side. “Where did you sleep? Food?” I asked. Modesty compelled him not to reply. That was an uncommon display of love. It touched my heart. Echi is a rare man, who leaves his personal needs to meet other people’s own. I have written on some brethren listed below, who have slept and could not read it. I repent of it. Our Echi, who is alive, will read this glimpse of his deeds.
Dimgba Igwe: “Pastor, we – Mike, Eric and I – are now applicants. We have left the Weekend Concord,” Dimgba told me in our Church premises. “Meaning what?” I asked. He and his colleagues were laughing merrily. “Pray for us,” he said. I did. Two years later, he said, “Tell Sister Ify to come to the Sun on Tuesday for employment interview. I would have said on Monday, but it’s our fasting day in our Church”. One day, he told me, “You will be a Columnist in the Saturday Sun, send your article”. During his message, he asked, “If a man earns N100,000 and does not pay tithe and someone on N10,000 pays, if there is N500,000 vacancy, who will God give the job?” In 2007, he told my wife, “Give this cheque to Pastor, it’s for Chiemeka’s wedding”. A gift of N200,000 in February for a July wedding! One Saturday, in tears, Steve Nwosu informed me that Pastor Dimgba Igwe, who gave my wife N100,000 on Monday, had passed on!
Goddy Irebisi: In the bus, I would preach in English and he interpreted in Yoruba. “Does a boy visit a girl at noon, when nobody is around?” He asked. On Easter Monday, he paid us a condolence visit when my wife lost her dad and on Thursday, after leading the morning devotion, he passed on.
Austin Onwudimegwu: If he spent N200 for a product, he would be selling it N150. Everything was evangelism for him. “Bro. Austin, you will go with us, this night, to Okota,” I would tell him. “We will go with my car,” he would say. “No, your car is in your garage, mine is outside. We will go with mine,” I would protest. Austin! Not Austin, he would not agree. One day, he passed on. It was unbelievable!
Emma Ota: “Is there forgiveness, where someone refuses to accept the wrong thing he has done and repents from it?”
Theo Okoro: “Unbelievers should be paying us taxes for enjoying our God’s given oil,” he said. At SU Conference in Makurdi, my family had a great session with him, where he taught us: “Mgbe m chetara, anya miri Ya n’obe, a maghim ihe m’geji we kwua Ya ugwo olu Ya” [When I recall His tears on the cross for me, I do not know how to repay Him]
Chebem Eleazu: My youth member, who left us in pain for CPM and rose to be their Church Secretary. His wedding changed Assemblies of God’s position of not attending the wedding of any sister married outside their Church. When he wedded in CPM, even the wife of his wife’s Pastor, attended. In LUTH, we met him gasping for breath. He did not make it.
Francis Onofeghara: “Oyibo,” his usual expression in SU Council, after blowing ‘hard’ grammar! Though not Igbo, but much of his songs were in Igbo. “Which is better, to pray or to rush to a pharmacy during sickness?” he asked. Ify and I returned home one evening and could not open our toilet door. Someone was pushing it from inside. “Who is there?” We shouted. No response. We pushed until the door was slightly opened. The person hugged us, laughing. Lo! It was my brother, who, in July 1977, became a Professor and Dean of Biological Sciences, University of Port Harcourt, and later their DVC, Prof. Francis Onofeghara, now resting in Heaven.
Priscilla Emeh: “Daddy, you are my godfather,” visiting our Church, she said. “How? Pastor Banjo gave you a car, I didn’t?” I said. She smiled. “Please, you are”. One day, she told me that she would travel to Gambia. “How long?” I asked. She said a month, “You haven’t seen your spouse for two years, make it at least, two,” I said. “What of my ministry?” She asked. “Someone will do it,” I overruled. After two months, she called, “I’m returning soon”. She never returned. After anointing her spouse and his Church members, she stood up to read Colossians 3, and the curtain was drawn! Rumour mill was strong that her spouse had killed her! To God’s glory, after my message at her funeral, her brother was forced to testify, “Nobody killed my sister”. Her mum was the first person to run out to receive Jesus.
Gifts differ. Some believers have uncommon gifting. Canon Echi Nwogu, MA, MBA, Dip [Th], etc, of Anglican Communion, is in this class. During CU joint Fellowship, I always noticed a youth, all the time, busy taping messages. You hardly heard his voice! Enquiring who he was, they said, “Civil Engineering student”. In 1975, he became CU President and the National President of NIFES in 1976.
At the UNN, from 2004 – 2009, he was the Senior Special Adviser to our brother, Prof. Nebo, the Vice Chancellor. He has been coordinating the 1970-80 CU members of UNN all over the world, reporting issues about us. He solicits financial help at requisite for us and extends sympathy to perplexed families. We are more than 80 under his watch. When Emma Ota died, he was briefing me, even when he was in the US.
A humble man, he came to Lagos as the General Manager of Rims Merchant Bank Group, when I was the SU Area Chairman. He and Olive, his wife, worked in the shadow with me. During Camp Retreats, they would join Ify and me, working late at night, preparing things for the next day. He knew the houses of all Nsukka CU members, living in Lagos.
A great writer and minister of God’s Word, Sir Nwogu’s message during our Beloved Olive Akoma’s burial, remains a masterpiece. WIGATA – With God, all things are possible. Guess what it is! Echi, a lover of God, that is his Engineering Company’s name! Born of silver spoon in Mbaise, humility forced him to be his dad’s only child, who studied in Nigeria.
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