How did it all start?
It is difficult to recall how it all began, but I remember clearly that by the grace of God, I got born again in December 1971. And after I gave my life to Christ, I started preaching from village to village and from the market place to market place.
Where was this?
This was in Agulu, in Anocha Local Government Area of Anambra State. In 1972, I ran into Dr. Edozie Mba and Paul Nwachukwu (Bishop Paul Nwachukwu now) and Archbishop Augustine Nwodika and many others. I joined them in the fellowship they were trying to start at that time which was not a church yet. Most of us there were attending Scripture Union. Then from that small meeting we were having then, it eventually became a church and we called it “Riches of Christ Gospel with Deliverance Mission.”
On March 4th, 1974 I came out on full time. First of all, I held a crusade with these leaders especially Dr. Mba. We went to my hometown and held a crusade to strengthen the work of the church I had already started when I got born again. And when we went back to Onitsha, I was posted to Mba’s hometown, Enugu Abor, in Ufuma. It was while I was there that I started developing a strong passion to bring the gospel to the north. I had been in the North earlier, between 1972 to 1973. I have gone to Zaki Biam. At that time I was selling shoes. I had a shop there and a home there and I had started a small fellowship. So having mixed with the Northerners, I was aware of the need for the gospel.
When I was in Enugu Abor, Ufuma, between 1972 – 73, the burden to go back to the North to establish a work (a ministry) grew very strong. I had to go to Onitsha to meet our leaders and spoke to them about the burden I have. I explained that my desire is not to start a new work (ministry) but actually to take a branch of our ministry to the North. They told me plainly that God didn’t call them to the North; that their calling is for the South and the South East particularly. That they have no vision for the North at that time. That frustrated me. I had no choice; I just stayed back and kept praying. At a point, I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I told them I have to go. So they prayed for me and released me without any support (no money, nothing).
It was Ephraim Nweke, my first convert in Enugu Abor, whose brother was in money then, that provided the money we used to transport ourselves to the North. He, Nweke’s brother, was an unbeliever. He’s late now. That was how we got transport money to move over. We are not here talking about other things. We just took the risk. That was how we came to the North. But before I left, I sent Ephraim ahead of me with one Wilson Ezeofor. Wilson Ezeofor met me in Enugu at the home of on Elder Samuel Agbiri during one of T. L. Osborn crusades. He came to see me because as a young minister, just graduated from the New Anointing Bible School, in Awka, he was not comfortable with what people around him were doing then. He claimed that their passion for ministry was not encouraging. He felt then that God was calling him to do more. And having heard about me, he decided to come to me for counseling. He shared his concerns with me, even though I was being careful not to share my vision with a lot of people because I was already being accused. One of my close friends who knew about my vision (of wanting to go to the North)went ahead to inform our leaders even before I got to them and told them I was trying to take a number of ministers away from the mission with me to the North. It was terrible. A meeting was called immediately and I was summoned to headquarters.
I told them plainly there was nothing like that. I had no such plans, no plans to take anyone with me. After explaining, they believed me and prayed for me. This was how the matter died down. But I did not leave immediately because I had to stay back to properly hand over and disciple somebody who will take over from me. I did not want the work that I had done to just waste. So, I stayed back and sent Ephraim Nweke and Wilson Ezeofor ahead of me to Gboko, in Benue State, to start preparing for a crusade, while I disengaged. When I finished (handing over) I went and joined them. The crusade eventually held on the 16th to the 23rd of August 1975 at a place then called the central field.