Being a successful businessman and billionaire with footprints across Nigeria’s energy sector, is an impressive achievement. Building an empire that brings in that amount of money is no easy feat and takes an incredible amount of determination, motivation and skill. What is even more impressive, though, is that he is also a born-again Christian. Being away from public glare for over a year, occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Chairman, Nepal Oil and Gas, Elder Ekeoma Eme Ekeoma has been separated from the pulpit and his congregants, giving room for introspection and personal acquisition of spiritual knowledge. He speaks to Adedayo Adejobi on what could put to test his walk with God, his undying passion for eternity, why the church must remain the pinnacle of justice and equity, and why he lives each day as if it’s his last on earth….
Eternity, forever. It is the totality of Ekeoma Eme Ekeoma’s walk with God. Where will your forever, be? This is one subject Ekeoma, an Elder with the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, is most passionate about. It is the body of his teaching most times, but all that abruptly ended in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic a year ago.
The pandemic separated the shepherd from his sheep. The world as we used to know changed completely. This was the period the consummate businessman and man of God drew nearer to his God through introspection and learning more at the feet of the master.
As a Christian, he navel-gazes at eternity in two-dimensions viz: our walk with God, and what comes next, after damnation.
According to the Preacher, ‘‘in our walk with God, we have goals and aspirations. We must keep our focus sharp. Being vigilant is the only key to avoid the latter of these two dimensions. Forgetting this would bring our quest for walking with God in eternity to futility. We live each day to die; we die each day to live. While one is the way every human must go, the other is a choice every human may choose or live without.’’
The world is transient, and so striking a balance in our daily lives is vital. Taking a cue from 1Peter4vs7, he says “the end of all things is near, therefore be alert and be of sober mind so that you may pray.” We must constantly strive for that consciousness in our minds. We only do this by walking with the Lord, he intones.
“Fear God and walk in his commandment”, as Ecclesiastes says. Therefore, being careful how we live our lives is very expedient, for it would be the yardstick upon which our judgement would be, Ekeoma echoes.
If ever there was a thing he cherishes, it would be the grace of speech, well that would be asides making heaven.
Quoting Matthew12 verse 36, he pointed out how a human would recount whatever proceeds from their mouth. Therefore, he beseeched us to ask God to grant us the grace of speech.
“I want to ask a very pertinent question. How prepared are we for eternity? Are we really prepared?” The man of God doubled-back on the importance of our preparation for eternity.
“We must not lose focus of God’s sacrifice on the cross”. Looking at the state of the world today, must Christ die again for our sanity to be restored? What would be the state of the harvest when Christ comes? – these questions and more he posed.
Sounding a note of caution, he speaks about the enemy within, one man faces daily, in these words ‘‘The greatest enemy of humanity is flesh, i.e., our flesh and desires. Conquering the flesh must be on our watch list at all times. This can be achieved genuinely by impregnating our lives and thoughts with the holy scriptures, then our lifestyles and other sacrifices can come to the fore.’’
In the Bible, Christians are told over and over again about how the money is the root of all evil. It can bring about greed, wrath, and gluttony. Even small amounts of money can cause people to fall into the hole of sin. There are countless stories in the media about businessmen or celebrities that are prideful and stuck-up due to their power and wealth. This completely goes against what the bible preaches and it makes this Christian billionaires much more inspiring.
This is inevitably absent in the Church today, not with the outrageous and outlandish way they display their power and perhaps ill-gotten wealth, which has bred a lot of hatred, even among the so-called brethren. But such things should be far from the church. ‘‘We know that our citizenship is in Heaven and we must eagerly await our saviour from there.’’, Ekeoma said.
Ekeoma is not the richest Nigerian on earth, but he is incredibly generous to good causes with the money he earns. With his deep Presbyterian faith, he makes efforts to reach out to various religious communities, prisons and less-priviledged communities in the hinterlands of some South-eastern Nigerian states.
One thing the reporter however finds instructive is his insistence on the fact that he’s not the true owner of his money or business chain, but rather God is. “If you have anything or if I have anything, it’s because it’s been given to us by our Creator,” says Ekeoma. “So I have learned to say, ‘Look, this is yours, God. It’s all yours. I’m going to give it to you.'”
Elder as he is fondly called in the business circle, gives back so much of his fortune, that he is one of the largest individual donors to evangelical causes in Nigeria. When asked how he keeps his work and business separate, he said he doesn’t: “You can’t have a belief system on Sunday and not live it the other six days.”
Speaking on the importance of what he says matter the most, he harped on these questions, saying, ‘‘It’s important we ask ourselves these questions. How committed are we to the things of God? How are we building up our faith? What is our relationship with God? Do we spend quality time to discover spiritual expectations? How spiritually studious are we? How much time do we spend with God? Like I said earlier, we need to live our lives as though it’s our last on earth and that a day of judgement would come. If the day of judgement comes, how prepared are we?’’
Lending his voice on our duty to lessen the burden on the world and the state of the nation, he enjoined all on the rebuilding mission saying, ‘‘Today, our country is falling apart. I can tell you that God is depending on us; you and I to restore Nigeria. There is quite a lot of hardship in our land, but we must depend on God. We must not lose focus on God’s expectations. He is a righteous God. But when we pray, we should back our prayers up by faith. To lessen the burden in the world, we have a role-play and it’s the duty of obedience. When the trumpet sounds, we’ll be raptured with God. I live under that consciousness. If we don’t think of eternity, then our reason for being called a Christian would have been questionable.’’
Just like Jim Reeves said, “this world is not our home. So I implore us, you and I to be vigilant and prepare for his coming again.