…Urges Nigerian leaders to have the fear of God
By Cyriacus Nnaji
The prayer of every man is to live long, however in this time of economic, political and security challenges in the world life has become brutish, nasty and short, life expectancy has shrunk being pegged at a meager 53 years in Nigeria while the bible says otherwise, with 70 as its benchmark, any addition is grace.
However in the case of the late Elder Okon Bassey Udoh, everything was double. He lived a ripe age of 106 before he went to meet with the Lord. No wonder the family in conjunction with Mount Zion Pentecostal Victory Mission, a church pastored by his first son, Bishop (Dr) Edet Bassey Okon, organized a Service of songs in his honour, on November 27, 2020, venue was 17/19, Nwachukwu Drive, Okota, Lagos.
In his Exhortation, Reverend (Dr) Emmanuel Jack said referred to the book of Matthew, Chapter 25: 1 to the end, where he told a story about a rich businessman who on embarking on a journey gave his three servants 5 talents, 2 talents and 1 talent in that order, for them to invest with and make profit. On return he called them for accountability. He said the talents represented the number of years that man live on earth. He said the number of years you lived on earth does not matter, that what matters is the positive impact you make with it. He disclosed that the late Elder Bassey Udoh lived a fulfilled life by having children and training them in the way of the Lord and today, they are all a success.
Bishop (Dr) Edet Bassey Okon, the eldest son of the diseased, while speaking to the media said he is happy burying his father and not the other way round. “I am happy I am the one giving my father the final farewell and not my father burying me and God has been very faithful for making me a son to a man who lived 106 years in this hard time.”
Giving a brief biography of the late Elder Udoh he said “My father belonged to a royal family in Ikot Egbum, in Idiorigbum Local Government Area of Akwa -Ibom State. He left the village at very young age, about 30-31 years for Calabar, where he stayed briefly about a year, where he came in contact with a Yoruba sailor by name Olunloyo whose brother eventually became a one-time governor of Oyo State, that man brought my father to Lagos, that was how from village to Calabar and down to Lagos, until he got married and started having us.
“I lost my mummy 11 years ago. And coincidentally my Mum was buried on the 5th of December 2009 and my Dad will be buried on the 5th of December 2020, how that came about I don’t know; 5th December 11 years ago and 5th December 11 years after.”
He said the family would definitely miss their father so much “Without mincing words I believe among all the children I feel him the most, because he was living with me. He lived with me the last four years of his life. He died in my home. He died in the hand of my wife and one of my younger sisters; he just finished his meal that fateful night about after 10. They then went to the parlor to listen to Channels news at 10pm only to be called back to the room, within 1-2minutes of getting back to his room, he was gone.”
Speaking on how healthy his father was before his death, the Bishop said. “At age 106 it takes special grace for those organs to still be effective at that age. My father still had good sight, he was able to read papers without eye glasses, but his memory had failed him to an extent. He didn’t know all his grand children any longer. And any of his children that was not close by for a long time, he lost their faces.”
On being entrusted with leadership of the family he said, “It is actually a heavy burden but I believe God for the grace to succeed. As you understand a tree cannot make a forest, it is not all about me; it is about every one of us. Even before he passed on, for so many years, he had relinquished that position of leadership, I was virtually running the family notwithstanding he was still around. Also my siblings actually support me, without their support this wouldn’t be possible.”
While thanking his co-tenants, and his Landlord, Eze (Dr) Christian Uchechukwu Nwachukwu, Eze Ndigbo of Lagos, he has a word of advice for people who still don’t believe that it is possible to live a longer life. “The bible says that it is not the swift that wins the race, it is whom the lord showeth mercy. Presently I believe by now he must have been interred, that is the chairman of PFN in Lagos State, Bishop Shola Ore. He died at age a little above 60, if we talk about righteousness, a man of God of that stature, we can give it to him for righteousness, but here he is, he died. It is not all about human effort, it is just the grace, because we are aware that people with so much wealth, too powerful, medical doctors, they also die at younger ages, I believe it runs in the family, some families have that grace for longevity, some may not have it.
“In my father’s case I believe it is the grace, because he was diabetic and he was hypertensive for so many years, although we made sure we took care of him medically, but I refuse to ascribe that to medical care, or diet, or whatever, I still believe it is the grace of God,” Bishop Okon maintained.
Bishop Okon used the opportunity to advise the Nigerian leaders on what leadership means, he said “My advice is that anybody that assumes any position of leadership, should not forget that he is in that position for service, not for self-aggrandisement, not for wealth, not for power. You get there to serve the people. The bible says when the righteous rules, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rules the people suffer. With the look of things in the country today, it appears the wicked are in power, because everybody today in this country has one complain or the other about the leadership. And I advise our leaders to have the fear of God, and have compassion, love for the people, everybody cannot become senators, governors, president, but when you get there, do your best with honesty and sincerity, then leave the rest for God. Nobody can solve every problem, but do your best.”
Describing the late Udoh, Pastor Mrs Okon said “Papa was my father in-law, a very lovely father, and God made it possible to make him to come and stay with me. He was in my hand before he died. When I was feeding him, and he gave up the ghost, before that he was looking at me, but I didn’t understand, but I still thank God he died in my hand.”
Mrs Okon said the family took good care of their late father “We took very good care of Papa. He was a loving father; there is no one who would not take care of such a loving father.”
Speaking on death she said death is inevitable, “It is God that knows everything, it is said that a man born of a woman is of few days, soon after he would go. Death is what God has ordained. It is just the departure of life from the flesh.”