Anambra 2022: Is Bishop Ephraim Okechukwu Ikeakor an option? By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu PhD

Emeka-Odogwu

Anambra people are already in electioneering mood, even, when Anambra State Governorship election is still over two years away. There is agitation that it shall go South of Anambra this time around, whereas some are saying it is now open for every zone in the state to contest.


Against all arguments, time shall tell why there is opposition to the zoning formula in the state. Is it really true that it has gone round and now, it is free for all zones to slug it out; whichever zone that wins should start the next rotation of zoning?


Some argued that Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Dr Chinwoke Mbadnuju, Senator Andy Uba, Dame Virgy Etiaba have taken turns for the South; while Senator Chris Ngige and Chief Peter Obi have taken turns for Anambra Central and Governor Willie Obiano has taken the shot for Anambra North. These periods no matter how one looks at it, they argued equals to two terms each or so.


The Rt. Revd. Ephraim Okechukwu Ikeakor (JP) last week muted the idea of being given the chance to govern a state in Nigeria to showcase what true leadership is all about but warned that the wicked and saboteurs of the government will cry as so many people doing things with impunity will go to jail. He said state Governors have no need going cap in hands begging for Federal Allocation when God imbued each state with resources to be self-sufficient. He said if only wastages could be minimized by elected officials, things would be much better in Nigeria with workers’ salaries paid as at when due, rather than the outrageous arrears. He wept on the outrageous debt owed by states.

Bishop Ikeakor and Governor    Obiano
Bishop Ikeakor and Governor Obiano


He was speaking ahead of this week’s Amichi Anglican diocesan 2nd session of the 4th synod starting from Wednesday 5th June through Sunday 9th of June 2019 at the Cathedral Church of St Andrews, Amichi, Nnewi South, Anambra state.


Theme of this year’s synod is ‘’Rediscovering and harnessing the ministry of the laity for holistic and effective Church growth’’, to be handled by a Professor of Engineering, former Vice Chancellor of UNN and former Minister for Power, Prof Chinedu Ositadimma Nebo and a Professor of Accountancy cum Evangelist par Excellence and a member of Governing Council of Unizik, Prof Emma Okoye. 


Bishop Ikeakor had stressed the need for better synergy between the Clergy and Laity of the Church, lamenting situations clergymen see members of the laity as threats in the vineyard, even as he condemned the suppression of the lay ministry in the Church. According to Ikeakor Lay ministry should be given all the support and encouragement to do exploits for Jesus Christ in His vineyard.


After listening to his erudition on how to make Nigeria work again, the Principal of Holy Child Convent, Amichi, Ijeoma Ndoeche took the Bishop unawares when she requested to know if it is not possible for the Bishop to take up the mantle of leadership by contesting election as a Governor of Anambra state since 2022 is at the corner, and the Archdeacon in charge of the Cathedral, who doubles as the Diocesan Communicator, Ven Chukwuemeka Chukwuebuka wanted to know if there are laws inhibiting him as a Bishop from taking on the prodding from Ijeoma.

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But, Bishop Ikeakor, however pointed out that, the ordinance laws governing his ordination as a priest and consecration as a Bishop is an inhibition, as he cannot serve two masters at a time unless he first resigns as a Bishop. They nearly asked him to resign to contest the 2022 election. They forgot Anambra is highly polarized in religious issues particularly between Anglicans and Roman Catholics. 


Bishop Ikeakor insisted that with the prayers of Mama Amichi and President of Amichi Diocesan Mothers Union, his wife, Mrs Nkem Ikeakor that he can do exploits. And truly, Amichi is a community but has been transformed by Bishop Ikeakor’s foresight and prudent usage of resources with the support of his wife’s prayers, the clergy and laity.


Bishop Ikeakor was born on 4th of May, 1966 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. His Primary and Post-Primary education were at Primary School, Umuchu; and Boys’ Secondary School, Umuchu (now Umuchu High School), his home town. He studied Political Science and Library Science at then Anambra State University of Technology (ASUTECH), now Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka. He went for Master’s Degree in Education Administration at the same University among others.


He also attended Trinity Theological College, Umuahia graduating with Distinction in Theology and Religious Studies. He was ordained a Priest in 1997 by Bishop the then Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Right Reverend Gideon Otubelu, OFR.


He had a rapid growth as he was preferred Canon in 1998; and an Archdeacon in 2000 by The Rt. Revd. Benson C. B. Onyeibor, the Bishop of Abakaliki Diocese. He was elected the Bishop of Anglican Diocese of Amichi on 12th November, 2008; and consecrated on 11th of January, 2009.


Bishop Ikeakor is angry on the poor governance by Governors and other leaders at all levels, who are blind to the tenets of true democracy. He lamenting that Dubai that came to borrow money from Nigeria is now world’s destination point. He referenced Governor Peter Obi as a good leader for raising the bar in leadership with Anambra state and rather than borrow, he left N75B in the coffers of the state. He prays for genuine leaders to emerge and show the difference in the 20 years of Nigeria’s democracy.


As Nigeria celebrates 20 years of uninterrupted democracy what Bishop Ikeakor said during last year’s Synod remains relevant in what is happening in Nigeria of today. Bishop Ikeakor had said that Nigerian politicians are the greatest deceivers in the whole world, adding that since 1999, ‘’I am worried that if nothing is done and done urgently, this country will go into pre-medieval period again because we are completely consumer nation since 1999 till date.

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‘’….I think we are practicing ‘Democrazy’. If we want to face reality, we must sit down. How can we run functional government without genuine democrats? Forget about party affiliation, God has blessed this country with intellectuals, forget who they are loyal to. Get these intellectuals together to work for the progress of the nation.


‘’The best brains in universities that are lecturing the world over are Nigerians. Go and check Nigeria professors in UK, Harvard, America, Russia, but here, the environment is too bad that they cannot operate here. ….Technologically, educationally, economically, socially, we are moving backward’’.


‘’A young lady said that she went to Ghana and that the boy that was brought to teach her computer programming was a 9 year old boy. It was a 3 year old Chinese boy that taught her programming and you must call them boss. But here in Nigeria, 30 years old people are sagging and frying their hairs, politicians are hiring young girls to come and dance naked when they come for political function. Where are we heading to? We are in trouble and we must wake up. Are we not thieves and armed robbers in positions of authority?


‘’Airports where people use their hand to open and search in the name of security search. What are they searching? …..In abroad, no one touches your bag, the computer does that, unlike here in Nigeria. We are in trouble, this democracy day we are celebrating makes me angry, that is why I say you can agree or disagree with me.


Bishop Ikeakor is not hiding his disappointment with politicians as he said: ‘’Today, when synod is organized, politicians are given awards, but we know that they are killers. They rig elections and they are not Christ like in character. So, what award are you giving to them? Rather than preach the gospel, we massage the ego of politicians to enable them donate handsomely.


He emphatically stated that the fight against corruption in Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari is laughable, quoting Romans Chapter 12 vs 1-2 which reads thus: “I beseech you brethren by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as living sacrifice, holy and acceptable which is your reasonable service and do not be conformed to this world but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, it is only then that you can prove that you’’.


‘’What this implies is that no man that has not been renewed in mind by God that can meaningfully and feasibly fight corruption. The computer people will say, garbage in garbage out. Until God touches a heart of someone, there will be no peace. Which corruption in Nigeria is greater than marginalization and ethnic cleansing we are experiencing today in this country? What is corruption? What is stealing?

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‘’I came back from Bayelsa last two weeks and wept for that part of the country. What greater corruption is this that this people are producing this oil but they are living like 9th century human beings? Living in huts and shattered places, no network, no good food, no good schools and we are still talking about fighting corruption. We can’t fight corruption without justice and equity, it is not possible. Until we have renewed minds and allow God to renew over our lives, fighting corruption can only be a political slogan and malign in Nigeria and if you look at what is happening today, if you want to be free from corruption, join the ruling party and your corruption case will close. Join the ruling party and you become a saint, but if you fail, you become corrupt. We are not going anywhere until we face reality.

‘’In 2011 when I was reading my presidential address, I said something which a lot of people did not agree with me. I said it point black that Muslims are having serious plans from what Babaginda promised Organization of the Islamic Council (OIC) during his tenure, to what the current Buhari promised. I want to tell you that it is the current agenda that is ongoing and this killing is not stopping tomorrow, if not, the Muslims know that the only man that has the heart to kill and support killing without blinking his eyes is the President.

Though Bishop Ikeakor referenced Hon Chris Azubuogu, Member Representing Nnewi North, Nnewi South and Ekwusigo in the Federal House of Representatives as the only true politician who returned to the National Assembly based on his good works, he was worried that good people don’t get the opportunities to serve. Is Bishop Ephraim Okechukwu Ikeakor an option in Anambra 2022? Not at all, because, all he wants is people with ideology and manifesto to turn things around for the citizenry. He is available for advisory roles. Where are these people? Anambra 2022 is close by and the drummers have already started moving to Umuchu ,Nnewi and Awka zone for PDP and APC candidates, whereas APGA drummers are at Isuofia, but considering Umuchukwu and Nnewi? Who is Anambra’s next Governor?

Cornucopia is a weekly column of Odogwu Emeka Odogwu.
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