Consecrated to His Calling, Touching Lives – THISDAYLIVE (2024)

For those in need of solution to their respective life issues, Evangelist Chukwuebuka Anozie Obi, popularly known as Ebuka Obi, the Spiritual Director of Zion Prayer Movement Outreach, ZPMO, is the vessel through which the answers lie. As one of the most sought-after preachers globally, Bro Ebuka, as he is also referred to in some quarters, is a staunch Catholic, whose forte is repentance, family reconciliation, deliverance and miracles. But beyond this, the Ubulu Ihejiofor native in Oru West Local Government Area of Imo State, is also passionate about touching lives either through his The Seraphic Foundation or even during his ministrations where thousands throng in from all over the world seeking answers to their problems. Born 43 years ago to scholarly parents of Mr. Vincent and Mrs. Veronica Obi with six other siblings including his twin brother, Engr. C.C Obi, his brand of ministration has expectedly drawn admiration and criticisms alike. In this interview withChiemelie Ezeobiat his office in Hosanna Estate in Ago-Palace, Lagos, he bares it all- his childhood, journey to ministry, the three-fold consecration to his calling, the foundation, plans for expansion, mentorship and even word for his detractors

So Evangelist, what has been happening. Seeing the crowd, all struggling to see you, when do you create time for yourself?

It’s a lot. I don’t know the last time I closed my eyes to sleep like two hours- there is no night I sleep like 2 hours. Out of emotions and sympathy, I will be seeing people after the programme, holding meetings. As at 3am, 4am, I was still seeing a lot of foreigners from Gabon, America and United Kingdom. My heart will always melt once I hear the amount they pay in hotels. Even the time of Jesus, he did not do it like this because the Bible said sometimes he would disappear. But my own is too much. I used to be too emotional about people’s problem is one of my biggest problem. I am the kind of person that does not like to withstand someone’s tears.

What efforts are you making to reduce the workload. Are you mentoring people to ease that burden?

Yes we do. We are having sons of the prophet programme now. The work is too much for one person. I cannot be in 10 places at a time. It’s a big challenge. We need a lot of ministers who can help. So, we are training some people already.

In spite of the hours or days that people spend, waiting to see you, they remain undaunted, probably because they are getting results.

But they are getting results?

Why won’t they get results? When you keep yourself and you are honest to what you are doing, the power of God is available. Do you know the level of people that come here- the governor of Lagos was trying to come here for my birthday but he didn’t see road to enter, he turned back. People come from all over the world, and if they are not getting what they are coming for, you won’t be seeing them.

So as a person, how do you feel that people are thronging here to come and see you?

When they are coming, what comes to my mind is ‘you have to keep maintaining what you are doing that made people to me cominghere’. I don’t feel proud or arrogant about it. I just say ‘oh Lord, who am I? I give You all Glory. Give me grace to always be faithful and not to disappoint You. Because so many Men of God started very well with principle but at a time, they fell. I am always conscious of it that I don’t want to make mistakes of other prophets.

Other than God, what will you attributethe rapid rise of Zion Ministry to?

Idon’t think there’s anything else to attribute the growth of Zion Ministry to, other than God, because it’s more than human comprehension. Even me, I cannot believe it. I know that when I was small, I used to see a lot of crowd that I am talking to-thousands that I could not see their faces, but I didn’t know it would come this far. There’s no time you will come here and not see thousands of people from all over the world.

So, how did this journey start?

It’s unexplainable. When I was eight years old, I normally see things that were not even clear to me. I could wake up and tell my mom that this person would die tomorrow and the person would die. Somebody could be very sick and everybody would believe that this person would die but I would tell them that the person would live and the person would recover. It got to a point where pregnant women would come and ask the sex of their child, even at a point they have not gone to scan. At that pointscan was not as it is now. So, I became the scanning machine to so many pregnant mothers, not just my town but people coming from other villages. I would tell the whether it’s a boy or girl and it would be unmistakable.

So because of that, my father wasn’t comfortable with it because you would see a lot of people trooping into my family just to hear what I would say about them. Some people were asking if I was not possessed. Even in primary school, my teachers were coming to ask me questions and sometimes, I would open their hands and it would be unmistakable.

The whole thing was spreading that people from other local governments were coming to look for a boy of eight years to verify somethings from me. And whenever I will tell you it’s like this, it will come out like that. So my father was so careful with me amongst all my siblings. He was so careful and confused. He didn’t know how to follow me, even my teachers and fellow students, came to me. I said I will make a video about this priest (points to a life-sized portrait of Late Rev. Fr. Luke Odikaemerem).

When I was 12 years, he came to our parish, CKC Catholic Church in Ubulu. I was born in a Catholic family and was raised as one. He was the one who told my father ‘stop flogging him. He has the gift of the Holy Spirit. God will use him mightily’. He told my father to stop seeing me as a devil because that time, my father would always flog the hell out of me. It was not small flogging, that if I open my back now, you will still see the marks on my back. I could understand my father because he wanted us to be the best. You can imagine when both parents are teachers and everyday, you are praying, leaving the school to go to the chapel to pray for hours. It didn’t go down well with father. So, it was when this priest came to Ubulu that he told my father that ‘he will be great. He will be a prophet of God. He is not possessed or demonic but is manifesting the gift of God’. The priest brought down the tension.

How does your father feel about you now, especially with how big you have become?

He still wasn’t comfortable but the pressure wasn’t the same as when the priest had not come to our parish. Now, hehas no option than to be happy. You see this priest, I don’t know why he died early. I will make a video of the priest someday. He said if I was ready to work for God, I must not have sex before marriage; that God will use me mightily and that he saw me talking to millions of people, but let it not be a church. That time, I didn’t understand what is ministry and I did not plan to have one. He told me that he saw me talking to thousands all over the world but I must not leave Catholic where I was born, I should not have sex before marriage and I must not be money-minded. He made these three points and I’ve kept them till today and that is why I have not married.

So, how have you overcome the temptation?

It’s not easy but with determination leads to success and the grace of God. Saint Paul said three times I prayed to God to take away the torn of my flesh but instead of God taking it away, He said ‘my grace is sufficient’. So, the consciousness that these three vows are attached to my destiny, that if I break any of them, I might have problem, is always ringing in my subconscious. Some ladies are coming but I can’t joke with this grace. That is why I am still keeping to this grace. This is why in the church, I don’t baptise anybody, I have not wedded anybody. I don’t play the role of any priest. That’s why on Sundays, I try to go to Mass as a Catholic or I invite a priest so as not to cause distractions.

You don’t place adverts yet your ministry is still growing in leaps and bounds. What do you attribute this growth to?

It’s just the Grace of God that God wants to do this work through this person. We have no signboard. We are not even powerful in the media. Yet if you come here, you see thousands of people from across the globe every time. We have bought a lot of houses and demolished so we can expand, still, you can’t pass. We can’t do any big programme here. It’s the grace and anointing of God but you maintain it with sacrifice. I am a man of sacrifice. I fast a lot and I have a lot of things I do personally. Seeing the level of work God has given to me, I go to Him as a baby and tell him that I didn’t pray for this kind of ministry so He should not allow me to make a mistake. Also, the things I preach, I try to do them. I have never asked anybody in Zion ministry to pay money. I have never asked for tithe. I don’t do Bazaar or ask people to pay money to see me. Of course, with the way people gather to see me, if I put my consultation fee at N10 million people will pay. But I will never because, freely I receive, freely I will give. I believe that God still works, but some don’t keep the principles.

You just concluded the 2023 Odieshiprogramme, what did you achieveand why that name?

To us,Odieshiis divine protection. The Scriptures say in 1 John 4 v 4, “For greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.” That’sOdieshi. The Bible said in Psalm 91 v 1, “He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” That’sOdieshi. Romans 8 v 31, “If God be for us, who can be against us.” That’sOdieshi. Isaiah 54 v 17, “No weapon fashioned against us shall proper.” That’sOdieshi. It depends on how they understand it.Odieshimeans with Christ nothing will happen. There were lots of testimonies from the programme. A reverend sister came with wheelchair from Canada, walked. These are verifiable. A professor from Anambra State University came with a double walking stick-Prof Arinze. This is not something that was arranged somewhere. He stopped lecturing work because of sickness but that day, he dropped his walking stick here

So, how would you explain the miracles that are witnessed here regularly?

I don’t think there is anything I would attribute it to except God. Because it’s more than human comprehension. Even me, I can’t believe it. A lawyer from Canada brought a Tesla of over one hundred million. I was praying during Open Heavens and I prophesied that he was going to have a breakthrough. I mentioned his name, I didn’t know him before and it happened. So, I don’t know how God does His miracles, I just prophesy. Sometimes I hear the voice clearly and sometimes it’s like me watching television. If you come to me one-on-one, I can just ask you to open your hands and I will start telling you things about you. Ask some governors, past and present senators, etc, who have come to see me here, they will tell you. There’s another one, he brought a jeep of about thirty-something million. During Open Heavens, his name was mentioned and the prophecy came about a contract in Abuja which will be in billions, and it happened. He showed us where they were signing the contract in Abuja. I don’t ask them, I don’t even know them.

With all these miracles, which is the most memorable?

The lame working and the blind seeing happens almost all the time but it’s that of young boys surrendering their charms, giving their lives to Christ. Many youths come here and I usually tell them that you cannot be a Christian and have charms on your body. The Yahoo boys answer altar call, submitting the rings that they were using to charm people. Even many native doctors submitting their charms. To me, the salvation of souls, people coming back to Jesus Christ is what stands out for me.

What is the Seraphic Foundation about and how did you start it?

Seraphic Home Foundation started since 2009 but it was not called that name. I was praying in Awhum monastery in Enugu and the Lord said to me ‘I will bless you with everything and make you famous but you must take care of the poor’. So, I established a group called Welfare Ministry and they have been going to many prisons.

Right now, we are building a psychiatric hospital in Anambra State. We will also build it in five or six other states because charity begins at home. We are starting with Anambra State because I don’t want to see any mad Igbo person moving around the street. It’s a free psychiatric home. Once completed, we will hand it over to state governor and then move to Imo, my state, then Abia. We will have buses which will be moving about picking and delivering persons with mental challenges to the psychiatric home.

Under the foundation, there’s no school term I don’t pay about N40million on school fees for people I don’t know, in Lagos, Anambra, Imo, etc. The Seraphic Hospital is also there, but like a charitable home. The people who pay money there are those we know have money and can afford it. But it is free of charge for hundreds of people. The psychiatric home is also free.

You are planning to relocate your ministry from Lagos to the East, Owerri to be precise. What influenced that move?

I don’t think that we can do any big programme here anymore. There’s usually a crowd here on a daily basis. So, what we can manage here for now are weekly programmes. When we have a bigger programme, we go to a place that can contain us. Do you know that last time, people were fainting here; over hundred people fainted because of lack of space. The whole street was blocked. And getting a bigger land here in Lagos, I don’t think it’s possible. Going there also will help the people to develop that side. When I came here in 2012, this place was like a desert, but the presence of God brought development. So, I also want people who come from my area to benefit from the grace, though they also come here. But the main thing is to have a bigger space. We are looking at about 20,000 plots and that will soon be concluded.

What do you say to those who doubt the authenticity of your miracles, especially those who make negative comments on social media?

There’s no day you open social media that you don’t read Ebuka Obi did this or that. In fact, I left social media because of this. If you just type my name, you will see hundreds of fan pages; so many controversies, people coming out without evidence. Initially, it was not easy because you know I have siblings and parents who see these things. People are talking about one person, and you have not come close. Well, they can’t really understand what we are doing here because the Bible says that a carnal mind cannot understand the things of the Holy Spirit. You must be a spiritual person to understand Ebuka Obi. You cannot go to the club and from there make videos of people falling and you cannot understand why people fall on the ground.

They did the same to our Lord Jesus Christ. People said He was using the power of Beelzebub to do miracles. People also criticised all the prophets of old. But it’s like my own is getting too much. There was a time when some members arrested some of them here in Lagos and when I got to know about it, I instructed that they be released. One thing that gives me joy though is that upon all the things they are saying about me, multitudes still come here and people who love what is happening here are more than those against me. We even have more people coming from outside the country. My response is, God bless them. One day, the Holy Spirit will open their eyes to know who I am and what I represent.

Are there things you ask God for and He says no?

Yes! But when I cry while interceding for people, the answers come easily. Personally, my parents have been disturbing me to marry. I don’t want to see the tears of my parents. It’s always, ‘so you don’t want us to see your son till we die’. Those things break my heart and I have prayed to God, asking what He is saying about the issue of marriage. Somebody like me, I don’t want to dabble into marriage without a direct message from God. Remember I made a vow of virginity until I marry. I have never dated before. Remember, I started doing this work when I was eight years old, so I grew up with so much fear of God. So, I’m so careful about it. But some day, surely, I will marry. I’m praying about it and the fact that God has not answered me today does not mean He won’t answer me tomorrow.

You are a Catholic but own a ministry. How do you balance both?

I try to do my obligations as a Catholic. I attend Mass, believe in the sacrament of reconciliation, attend confession and receive Holy Communion. I don’t joke with my Catholic faith. In fact, so many brethren who left Catholic are returning because of me. They believe that Catholics don’t see vision, do miracles. So, seeing what’s happening here, many of them are coming back.

Zion Ministry has placed premium on families and reconciling couples. Why is that so?

The Lord has revealed to me several times that the marriage institution is about to be destroyed completely. Just watch the rate at which people divorce now; it’s alarming. Some marry for just one year. In fact, in Africa here, it’s becoming our culture. Some ladies will say they just want to have children. Go to Abuja, you have baby mamas; so many ladies become single after marriage with two kids. They will say they want to be on their own. This is not our culture. It’s what you see in America or Europe. If you read the Bible, you will see places where the Lord condemned divorce. So, that is why I’m preaching that we should go back to read the Bible in Ephesians 5 v 20-22, and what it says about marriage. It says women should be submissive to their husbands and men should love their wives as Christ loves the Church. Today, civilisation and human rights are affecting the institution of marriage. That’s not the will of God for us. I don’t want children to be raised by single parents. The first time I preached about divorce, about 50 women from America contacted us and said they had withdrawn their divorce cases.

What would be your advice to any young man who wants to succeed in the ministry?

He must first be sure he has the calling; because so many people today are pastors without the call. They would have been better in business or other areas. So far you are not called to be a pastor or minister, you would not do well, no matter how you pray. Also, you have to have financial discipline. You must be disciplined with women also. Anointing is attractive. So far you have the grace, women will be coming even more. You know women like men with authority. If you are not disciplined with women, you will end up shamefully. But if you are careful with women and money, you will go far in ministry. Pride is another factor. These are the three things that destroy men of God; you will see married women who will ask you to have children for them and their husbands will not know. If you are careful with women, money and you take pride away, you will go far if you have the call.

How do you unwind after such hectic schedules?

My big problem now is that I can’t go out alone. I can’t walk the streets alone. I went to the UK embassy the other day and had to cover my face. They blocked me and they had to call the police to rescue me. There is nothing like enjoyment, except praying to God and people testifying about what God is doing for them through me. I don’t know when last I ate good food because I fast every day. There’s no enjoyment. If you come to my house, you will see the vehicles that people brought. Where do I go? What gives me joy is seeing the miracles that God is doing and people giving their lives to Christ.

Consecrated to His Calling, Touching Lives – THISDAYLIVE (2024)
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