By Sam Eyoboka
A JEHOVAH’S Witness became an instant winner of a brand new Bajaj Tricycle at the 2016 Eagle Flight Micro Finance Bank Limited and Poverty Alleviation Programme of Word of Life Bible Church at a ceremony to mark Boxing Day—a day after Christmas when post-men, errand-boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas-box which coincides with the 11th year anniversary of Eagle Flight Micro Finance Bank.
Adah Jiroghene Emmanuel, a 32-year old classroom teacher in Ugboroke area of Warri, was one of the 78 persons who heartily jumped, rolled on the concrete road, to demonstrate their joy, profusely thanking God for an instant end-of-year divine turn-around in their fortunes.
“Unbelievable!” the 32-year old graphic designer from Agbarha-Otor in Ughelli North Local Government of Delta State who worships at the Bazunu Kingdom Hall in Warri, exclaimed in ecstacy, narrating how the propriety of his school had encouraged all the teaching staff to participate in the Word of Life Bible Church empowerment programme.
“Grudgingly, I applied and at a point during the ceremony I got tired and made to go away but decided to persevere. I thank Pastor Ayo and his wife for this gift and pray they should continue with the gesture because the Bible said it’s more blessed to give than to receive,” he said repeatedly.
The occasion also provided joy unspeakable for Solomon Obuko-hwo Itse, Edah Orode Abigail and Bioku Linda Enajomo who went home with a brand new Hyundai car worth N3.5 million each to be used as commercial vehicles in the Warri area. Itse, a 46-year old unemployed Orogun man, who also filled the form for the empowerment out of boredom, is a member of Living Faith Church, Iza-kpa, said he was encouraged by his younger brother’s wife who won a tricycle three years earlier.
Edah Orode who will be 33 on January 13 is currently learning how to bake. When her name was mentioned as winner of one of the three cars she simply went hysterical, rolling on the bare concrete.
It took great effort before several women could calm her and bring her to the world of the living.
“I thank God to Papa and Mama Ayo Oritsejafor, my spiritual parents. They have tried over the years as they have been there for us and has massively encouraged us. God will bless them massively.”
The third car winner, Bioku Linda Enajomo, who also expressed similar sentiments is a teacher at Ugbolohwosu area and has promised to operate the Taxi cab by herself daily after her primary responsibilities to her school children.
Miss Ugbuhor Anna Jennifer, 26, also from Living Faith Church, Izakpa Airport Road, Warri, currently seeking admission to the University of Benin to read Business Administration, was the first to win a tricycle and her joy was simply phenomenal. Fifty one-year old Mrs. Roli Vivian Sifo, who won the second tricycle, is a member of the Ogunu assembly of Living Faith Church. A widow and mother of two, she expressed gratitude to God for the divine intervention which will now enable her to educate her two children.
Apart from the three cars, 10 tricycles, 50 other persons also went home with grinding machines while another 25 bagged contracts for training in different vocations: Tailoring (Men and Women), Fish farming, Women make over, Aluminium work. The trainees will be provided with starter packs at the end of their trainiing programme.
To mark the bank’s 11th anniversary, two staffers who had served the bank diligently for the past 10 years, Chikezie Cynthia and Aneh Samson were rewarded with one year full salary each just as faithful customers received various gifts for their steadfastness to the growth of the bank.
Chairman of the Eagle Flight Micro Finance Bank, Pastor (Mrs.) Helen Oritsejafor said the bank which has been granted state lincence is striving to go national and beyond, promising “we will continue to demonstrate our commitment to poverty reduction which we are set to achieve by the grace of God.
“Our joy is that we see the spiritual, physical and economical changes in the lives of persons who have on a yearly basis benefited from the poverty alleviation programme,” she stated, emphasising that to encourage entrepreneurial development and inculcate the culture of saving among the people, the bank had just lowered the amount for opening of accounts to N500.
Affirming that the raffle draw that produced the 78 winners was no fluke, Mrs. Oritsejafor said it was done with utmost transparency and without bias for religion or tribe, appealing to those who didn’t win “if it’s not today, it is tomorrow. God can decide to bless you in another way any way. What we must do is to remain hopeful, prayerful, looking on to God who is the author and the finisher of our faith.”
In an interview, the visioner and immediate past national president of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritse-jafor emphasised that the Church has no choice than to lend a helping hand to the under-privileged in the society.
“When Jesus said I was hungry and you fed me, I was naked and you clothed me…He didn’t say there was a recession and you took a break and then after the re-cession you came back and you clothed me. That’s not what He said.
“So the Church has no choice but to always reach out to the poor, to the under-privileged, the needy, those who are out there who need help. Jesus preached one day and when He finished preaching, He said to His disciples, give them food to eat. That immediately tells you that God is always concerned about the total man: the spirit, the mind and the body. It’s not just about preaching people to heaven, but while they are here on earth, what do they do, how do they live, how do they feed and survive?
“So what’s life all about? Why should they be here? They are not dead, they are alive. So we have a responsibility and we just can’t run away from it. We must continue to do all what God “instructed” the Church to do, and we do it with joy. Because when you obey God and you are happy about it, Heaven is happy with you. So we rejoice and we will continue to do it. We don’t even think of recession. We do our best and He knows that we will always do our best. Whatever we do now, next time hopefully it will be better than this. We just pray we can improve and continue to improve,” he said.
Asked if the gesture is in recognition that governments have failed in this part of the world, he said: “No, I don’t think so. In my own opinion, God spoke directly to the Church, so the Church has a responsibility to do exactly what we are doing now, whether there is government or not. In fact, the Church is government on its own and so has a direct responsibility to take care of the needy. So the Church, to be honest with you, should not hide behind government somewhere and say government ought to do this.
“That’s not to say government shouldn’t. Government has the responsibility to take care of people they govern. Now that is between them and God and the people. But I must tell you that the Church has a responsibility given to her directly from God to take care of the needy amongst them. We do it because we are instructed to do it,” he said.
Continuing, he told his interview-er: “It will shock you if you go to the UK to discover that the churches that are well recognized by government, by Her Royal Majesty and all important institutions are the ones that are doing exactly what we are doing now. That makes them stand out and they are recognized. In fact three years ago, Prince Charles went to a Nigerian church; on his birthday to worship. And when they asked him why, he said because I found out that this church is always meeting the needs of people and I just think it’s the right thing for a church to do, so I feel it’s a right place for me to come and worship.
“Again I repeat, that does not take away the fact that government has a responsibility to make sure that the people are first protected; secondly their needs are met one way or the other. They have that responsibility. But I can’t sit here and speak for government. They will have to speak for themselves. But I can speak for the Church. I know I have a responsibility as a leader in the Church to do what we are doing and we will continue to do it by the grace of God.
“The Church alone cannot do it. It is absolutely impossible, but the Church must do what she can do and that’s exactly what we’re doing. Government has a huge chunk of the responsibility but the Church has its place and corporate organizations have their place. I look forward to a day in this country when government, churches and corporate organizations would partner and work together to meet the needs of people.
“My feeling is that we may ‘almost’, not totally, eradicate poverty from our society, if these three groups will come together. That’s my heart desire. I don’t know how to go about it. If you know how to, you can tell us how and reach out to the government and corporate organizations. I’m here, I’m ready. If the three groups can partner, believe me, we will change this nation. We are ready and we believe that together we can make a difference in this nation to the glory of God,” Oritsejafor pledged.