Daily Trust (Abuja)

24 February 2013

Nigeria: Only a Healthy Church Can Heal Nigeria, Say Clerics

Enugu — Controversial and self-acclaimed "Prophet of Prophets", Anthony Nwoko, Head of the Custodian Covenant Massagers, Enugu fought hard to stop the tears that dripped down his cheeks. Then he slowly dipped his left hand into the pocket of his white caftan, brought out a white handkerchief and began to dry his tears. He shook his head repeatedly like a man hit by sorrow as he then sipped water from the plastic container as if he would suffer serious dehydration.

Is the prophet weeping for the many iniquities said to be happening in Nigeria and the rest of the world? Or is he being passionate or emotional about the issues at stake? The drama was at a briefing Prophet Nwoko put together in Enugu during which he lampooned his fellow clerics in the country. He believes that the majority of Nigerian preachers have derailed because they preach prosperity while the people are perishing for lack of vision. He thinks that the present generation of Nigeria is wicked and the proliferation of churches is not bringing salvation to many even as the "religious leaders are evil".

Tagged "Spiritual message for the state of Igbo nation and why Nigeria is facing problems", Nwoko's speech was full of hot vibes targeted at religious leaders, politicians and the Igbo people of the south-east Nigeria.

Without calling names, he lashed out at the Christian leaders, "The religious leaders have gone into rituals, some have gone into cultism, some have been silenced by sin, some have gone into materialism and many have died of their wicked acts."

According to Nwoko, "The house of God is in disarray. The corruption in the church stinks to high heavens. A sick church cannot bring salvation to a dead nation like Nigeria."

The cleric stressed, "Easter is coming and the religious leaders will be celebrating the death of Jesus, while the son of man is in the world battling to wear his heavenly crown."

He said religious leaders have taken over the lord of the temple for themselves. "They fought a battle against the Holy Spirit in Nigeria. They were destroyed by the Holy Spirit. That is Nigeria's problems."

In the last 28 years, Nwoko claimed he has been "outstanding in seeking divine healing rather than manmade solutions to the catalogue of problems presently ravaging the country but Nigeria refused to follow the path of God."

He described Nigeria as antichrist nation, insisting that 95 percent of the so-called men of God in the country are false. "In short Nigeria is sick; she has stolen God's mandate," he remarked.

Embittered Nwoko said, "The nation is sick. Like sick animals she can never function normally, until she is cured of her ailments. Nigeria is spiritually knocked down, socially ruined. She has blindly cut herself out from her creator and the creature cannot see the light of the day without her creator."

Speaking specifically on the quest of the Igbo people to produce a president for Nigeria in 2015, Nwoko said it might be an illusion if the people refuse to, first and foremost, repent from their multiple sins and seek the face of their creator.

"Nigeria rebelled against God's anointed king from south-east...There're oppressors, plane crashes, armed robbery operations, kidnappings, corruption, marginalization, tribalism, assassinations, students' protests, hatred, labour strikes, religious crisis, Niger Delta militancy, bomb explosions, Boko Haram insurgency, floods, that characterised the President Goodluck Jonathan's administration, " itemised.

Because of the above problems, he called upon Jonathan' administration and the leaders of God in Igbo land to come together to seek the face of God and lift His Holy name high in the country.

According to Nwoko, Nigeria has disobeyed God recalling that God dealt with the Pharaoh of Egypt when he disobeyed him, just as he never spared the ancient Israeli when the people went contrary to God's ways in the wilderness. "God threw Jonah into the belly of a fish when he disobeyed him. In fact, God does not treat disobedience with kid gloves; therefore Nigeria's case of disobedience to him should not be a peculiar case," he warned.

Paying attention to the apex Igbo socio-cultural association, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nwoko said except they repented from their evil ways, there can no meaningful socio-political and economic progress in the zone.

Soon after the briefing, another cleric, a retired medical consultant, Dr. Vincent Uzodike also acknowledged that Nigeria is sick.

Uzodike, a former Medical Director of St. Vincent Hospital, Enugu who is also an apostle, and the founder of Revival and Reformation Ministries, Enugu however insisted that Nigeria can be healed of its illness.

The physician of 45 years experience closed his medical centre, the clinic he founded before he became converted to a ministry to heed God's call.

"I agree with Prophet Nwoko in the context that Nigeria is sick. My mission is to ensure that revival takes place starting in Igbo land and Nigeria, then the entire Africa. I agree that the nation is ill and that the solution is nothing but revival. What is revival? Revival means God touching his creation for spiritual renewal. We need the touch of God," Uzodike explained.

He said, "Nigeria is a nation in a hurry. What took Britain 100 years to achieve, Nigeria wants to achieve it in one year. Britain has had revival five times. America has had revival over 10 times. You don't have revival by a few people praying. Revival requires everyone praying. While I thank Prophet Nwoko for inviting me, I want to use this opportunity to tell the world that Nigeria is sick and can be cured."

Also contributing, Bishop Paulinus Chikaodinaka Eze attributed the woes of the nation, particularly those of the south-east zone to the failure of the priests to truly embrace God in truth and spirit.

"The major catastrophic condition of this generation, especially this region is the failure of the priests of the land to know God's will.

"For where there is no vision the people perish," Eze said, adding, "This is because the lives of these priests are ruled by covetousness.

"The law of truth must be in the mouth of a priest. And iniquity cannot be found in his lips. He lives spotless life and his mission is to turn people away from iniquity."

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