The thanks-giving service was well attended and so was the entertainment that followed at the Dome in Enugu last Saturday. Anglican Arch Bishop Emmanuel Chukwuma was there.
Reverend Davidson Udodi delivered the sermon. It was touching. All Saints Church in Enugu was full. Professor Pat Utomi, Anambra deputy governor Nkem Okeke, Victor Umeh, the APGA chairman graced the occasion. Nigerian football legend, Emmanuel Okala and his wife attended. Davidson Owunmi was there. Friends Obienu said were closer than brothers were there.
Vanguard’s Saturday Editor, Onochie Anibeze also attended.
Nwabufo Richard Obienu was Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Football Association (NFA). He was thanking God for surviving two brain surgeries in what was certainly a miracle. Interestingly, Dr. Paul King, the American doctor who performed the surgeries in Atlanta, Georgia was there too. With the preaching, the prayers and the choir, it was moving in the church and entertaining at the Dome where Frank Edward performed and got everybody including Paul King on their feet. Obienu told his story in the brochure for the day:
“In September 2014, I started having problems with my vision and the reading glasses offered as treatment had no effect. The problems eventually climaxed on a beautiful evening, when driving with my personal assistant, Robert Opara, and I knocked down one of four brothers walking down the road without seeing them. When I realised what had happened, I stopped, prayed a popcorn prayer on how to handle the situation and the Holy Spirit advised me to be calm and admit my fault. Fortunately, the young was not injured; I quickly and politely apologised for what had happened and accepted full responsibilities. I explained that I had a visual problem and the oldest one, who saw my plight, appealed to the other three to calm down as I appeared to be a gentleman. At this point I offered them money to go and take themselves out which they refused and instead advised me to take care of myself.”
“I was really shaken but thankful to God that the potentially explosive situation was quietly handled. As the Lord had obviously planned my deliverance, on arriving at my office, my long-time friend, Dr Chijioke Onyekonwu, an ophthalmologist visited me, unaware of what had happened. On hearing the story, he advised that I come to his office the next day for a review.
“After thorough investigations, he held my folder and, close to tears, repeatedly said ‘I must tell him’. I was baffled and I asked ‘What must you tell me?’ He informed me that I had lost 60-65% of my vision and that the problem seemed to be a progressive one. He immediately booked an appointment for me in the first week of October 2014 for a consult at a well-known eye hospital in New York, strongly advising me to keep the appointment.”
Going to America; tumour diagnosed
“I therefore travelled in the first week of October to the USA. The Ebola virus disease outbreak in Nigeria with its ‘quarantine’ requirements prevented me from keeping that appointment as I was told that I needed to have been in the States for more than 21 days before I could be reviewed. A very close friend of mine, Barr. Oscar Onwudiwe (Dockington) was in America for eye surgery, and having completed twenty-one days at that time, took me to see his ophthalmologist, informing him that I had just come in from the UK and had some visual problems.
“Oscar passionately appealed to him to at least review me and following a quick examination, the doctor referred me to his colleague from Columbia University who had a practise in New York.
“Following series of tests that spanned October and most of November 2014, Dr Onyekonwu’s fears were confirmed – gradual loss of sight of unknown cause.
“I was subsequently referred to a big diagnostic centre for further investigations. At this time, I met with Dr Okonta, a Nigerian medical practitioner who was of immense help to me. A diagnosis of pituitary tumour was made after the Magnetic Resonance Imagery (MRI) test. Doctor Okonta referred me to Emory Clinic, Atlanta, USA. The estimated bill from Emory Clinic was staggering and after discussing with my wife, Olive, I realised that I needed to come back to Nigeria to source for funds.”
Back to Nigeria
“I arrived Nigeria about a week to Christmas 2014. In confidence, and after giving my wife the details, I embarked on a session of prayers at 2am for 30 days. My prayer points were simple: God, my Creator, You can do one of two things according to Your plan: Heal me miraculously by speaking the word or make a way for me by providing for and taking care of the process, if I need surgery. I knew that I could not afford surgery!
“I dutifully kept the times of prayer and the prayer points. After the prayers, I noted peace in my heart, and assurance from God that He would take care of me, and in my church, All Saints Church GRA, Enugu, I responded to every altar vs. altar call between January and February 2015.
“I gathered as much money as I could which was a far cry from what had been asked for at the Emory Clinic in Atlanta. On the last Sunday of February 2014, Manifestation Sunday in our church, the guest preacher, Rev. Miracle Williams, spoke to us about the ability of God to provide and even reverse status which may seem impossible.
“A remarkable thing about the service that day was that I was not supposed to be at that service with my wife, as we were billed to travel to Abuja for the onward journey to the USA that day. After praying on the preceding Friday night, I informed my wife of the cancellation of our trip on Sunday. I would have missed that beautiful sermon that touched every member of the church present. When it came to the call for the offering which came in phases, I was battling with myself, saying that the altar call was not for me as God knew that I had need of money for my health.
“As the offering was closing, I told God I would offer to You the best of the four cars and He said ‘write the cheque’. I was the last to respond to the call. This is because the man of God continually referred to a man still battling with his God and I came up, practically the last man to do so, standing behind my wife and daughter. “After prayers, I felt a relief and a release of having obeyed God as I heard Him say clearly to me after the prayers that I had challenged Him and that I would see what He would do for me. “Everybody was asked to bring in their pledges the next day. I wrote out my cheque post-dated by two weeks, which was acceptable to the Lord. I presented myself for anointing. The man of God and my Vicar anointed me, my wife and our daughter Chinekwu and prayed for us individually and collectively. My wife and daughter dropped their pledges and, in a whisper, I explained my encounter to Rev. Dr Williams. He said ‘No problem; our God is real’. He prayed for me and then demanded that God heal me of this tumour or take care of me, which was incidentally the same line of my 30 days of prayer. He asked me to immediately walk over to my Vicar and relay my story to him. My Vicar said: ‘Who am I to question God’s arrangement?’ He anointed me, prayed in line with my 30-day prayer and committed me to God’s care. The car was sold for exactly the amount of money that I had pledged!”
Raising funds; back to America
“God is a faithful God! Before our rescheduled trip I had received from three close friends forty five thousand dollars ($45,000) as their contribution to my medical trip. Throughout my treatment, I received a total of ninety thousand dollars ($90,000) from friends who of their own free will called and sent money to me for my medical treatment. My wife, son and I arrived by 8.45am at the Atlanta Medical Centre office of Dr Paul King, who was recommended by Dr Sam Erinne. After introductions, the MRI reports from New York were handed over and he reviewed them. He came back and asked if the films presented belonged to me as I wasn’t exhibiting the typical symptoms that he expected based on the size of the tumour seen.He mentioned a number of symptoms and the only one I had was blurred vision; he said that I was really a miracle.
“He took a liking to me immediately and asked me if I believed that he could help me. I answered bluntly that when he called me the night before, and I asked my wife to google him and we discovered that he was a top flight neurosurgeon, that was when I knew that he was qualified for the Almighty Supreme Being, the Creator of heaven and earth, to be used to solve my problem.
“And in amazement, looking at me as if I was out of mind, he asked me: ‘Who is this Supreme Being?’ At that point, I told him the much I knew about the Almighty God and how I believed that the Almighty God would use his fingers as the best of the bests, to help me.
“I had the operation on April 1, 2015 which lasted for more than seven hours. Before the operation, different members of the operating team spoke with me and assured me of their competence and experience.”
Encounter with “God”
“Just before I was wheeled into the operating theatre, a black woman with white hair and gap teeth walked past me several times, staring at me. I beckoned on her since I reasoned that she wanted my attention. She quietly approached me, saying she had a message for me. ‘From Who?’ I asked. ‘God’, she said. Then I said ‘Go ahead and give me the message; I’m a believer and a Christian, and I will not reject a message from my Creator.’ She told me that she could perceive fears through my eyes and that I needed to deal with it before the surgery, as I was going to encounter something that I would not be able to handle if I had fears in me. “In my usual nature, I told her I wasn’t afraid to go into the theatre as I had strong faith that God would handle my situation. She told me that God sent her to me because of the prevailing situation of fear in me. I told her I was cold and shivering, and she said that was the sign of fear. She dashed out like lightening and came back with four warm blankets and covered me with them.“Immediately after she had delivered the message, I embraced her and said ‘Thank you and May God bless you.’ A strange episode followed because the woman I thanked turned around suddenly, placed her hand on my forehand and pushed me back to the trolley and said ‘Do you know who you are blessing? I came here to deliver a message to you and you seem to find it hard to accept’, and she immediately commenced a short prayer.”
“I prayed silently and recited Bible verses as I was taken into a massive and well-lit theatre that had different cubicles that could handle several operations simultaneously. As I was reciting my Bible verses, anaesthesia was commenced, and I saw an ugly black figure that challenged me; and asked me to take a last look at my surroundings as this would be the last scene I would see on earth.
“I confronted him with the word of God, saying ‘the word of God says “My life is hidden with Christ God”, and as I am here I am covered by the Blood of Jesus and in the name of Jesus, I confront you and I declare that you have no power/control over my life and in this Name, I challenge you that my life is not under your control.’”
“After that I passed out and the operation commenced, which lasted for close to seven hours. Six days later, on April 6, 2015, I went through the mandatory MRI which was expected to confirm the complete success of the operation and maybe the possibility of discharge. “My surgeon discovered that I needed a second surgery. He employed the help of my wife to break the news to me. My wife allowed me to wake up and eat and then quietly broke the news to me. I told her that I was not going to undergo any operations after what I had gone through. In my confusion, I told her that she would undergo the operation on my behalf, promising to take good care of her. She quietly laughed and said that this confirmed that I truly had brain surgery and that I was confused. At this point, she called our friend Sam Erinne and my children to intervene and try and convince me to go for the operation. “Sam called and I said let me think about it; Chinekwu, my second daughter called and cried all through that I wanted to render her fatherless; Olisaemeka, my second son called and instead of sounding depressed and crying, he engaged me in a very simple and funny argument.
“The second operation was slated for April 10, 2015 and lasted for about seven hours. On recovery, my surgeon assured me that the entire massive tumour had been removed and assured me that I would have a good recovery.”
Second encounter with “God”
“The strange lady with the white hair had come back as I was being wheeled into the operating room for the second operation, and held my hand, saying ‘It has been settled and God asked me to tell you that if they take you into the theatre five times, you will come out alive every time. I am sure that you saw and confirmed the earlier information I gave you that there was something that would confront you and needed to be dealt with fearlessly that would otherwise have overwhelmed you. I am happy you handled the situation well. Take care of yourself.’ “I called her back, requesting that she pray for me again and she told me that a second prayer was not necessary as God granted the first one, she and quietly walked out. I kept wondering: ‘How did she know that I was slated for a second surgery at that time and date?’ That was a mystery and continues to be one to me. God is awesome.”
“Shortly after arriving at the clinic on my next appointment, I collapsed and there was panic in the clinic because my blood pressure (BP) had dropped to 70/50mmHg. My wife had gone to the pharmacy to fill out my prescription; she was called back to forcefully administer oral hydrocortisone on me. I was rushed to the Emergency Room (ER) for resuscitation and observation. Fortunately, my endocrinologist and neurosurgeon kept calling in, and advised the ER physician of the likely problem – lack of cortisol in my system. “I was revived after resuscitation which included the receipt of parenteral hydrocortisone. As I opened my eyes, I saw Ngozi Obijiofor whose uncle was on admission in the same facility and I was pleased that she was around to encourage and keep my wife company at the time. I was discharged from the ER about 11 pm. “I was discharged from hospital on April 22, 2015. My vision was greatly impaired as I could barely see. Thanks to my wife who patiently assisted me, I was able to move around until I was certified fit to travel home in May 2015.
“I returned to Nigeria by the end of August 2015 and was back in Atlanta to keep my scheduled review on the January 28, 2016. My vision which was impaired was much improved by Christmas of 2015. “I was declared fit after a final review on February 9, 2016 following MRIs and blood work. These results were favourable to the amazement of my medical team who asked what I did to have such a recovery; I said ‘It has been the Lord’s doing. We are thankful to Him.’
“Finally, I want to thank the Lord immensely for His mercy and grace in sparing my life and giving me a second chance because without Him it wouldn’t have been possible.”