By HRH Appolus Chu
On Friday, April 24, 2020 news filtered to me that one of the most illustrious sons of Eleme kingdom His Grace, Most Rev. Moses Olaka Kattey had passed on to eternity. At first, I refused to believe the news. So I made a few calls to his immediate family and other members of the Church and they confirmed that truly this beacon of hope of Eleme land, founder, General Overseer, Archbishop of the most notable Christian denomination in Eleme (Commonwealth Covenant Church International) and one of the fathers of the Pentecostal movement in Rivers State, had indeed answered the call to glory.
It was the late American Civil Rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr., who said, “Each one of us must do his work so well that when he dies it can be said of him ‘here lies a man who did his work as if God Himself called him to it’.” Archbishop M.O Kattey was such a man. Not only did he pursue his earthly assignment with commitment and passion, but he was indeed called by God to his work. Archbishop Kattey was a great influence to so many people. I can attest to the fact that among his followers and Church members are some of the most distinguished persons in Eleme today, including the present chairman of Eleme Local Government Area. That is because Archbishop was a man who gave himself to people. He always spent time counselling and praying for his flock, like a good shepherd ought to. He succeeded in building and instilling a strong sense of brotherhood into the members of his Church such that anything that affects one person, affects all of us.
Archbishop Kattey might have answered the call to glory, but his spirit will remain in Eleme land forever. That is because of his selfless commitment to the progress and welfare of Eleme and her people. He was a man who prayed always and fervently for the land. He was a philanthropist, mentor and teacher with a heart of gold for humanity and God. For instance, after the people of Ekporo Eleme were sacked from their ancestral home following communal clashes with their Ogu neighbours, Archbishop Moses Kattey led a team of pastors to the land (at personal cost and risk) to pray for peace in the land and the return of the people of Ekporo to their homes. This was at a time when even the chiefs and people of Ekporo wouldn’t dare venture to their land for fear of attacks from their neighbours. He did not stop at prayers, but made several representations to government calling for government intervention in the Ekporo crisis. He organized press conferences and made the plight of the people of Ekporo known to the whole world. Was he from Ekporo community? No! But he realized that as a son of Eleme it’s his responsibility to speak up for and protect his people.
There is no part of Eleme where he did not go to hold prayer meetings and conduct deliverance services for the advancement and peace of the land. He’s a man that had genuine and selfless love for his people. As a well-known man of God whose Church has branches in different parts of Nigeria and who was affiliated with men of God from all over the world (he was the Country Chairman of the Trans-Atlantic and Pacific Alliance of Churches, TAPAC, which is an international network of Churches); he could have situated the headquarters of his Church in any major city in Nigeria or anywhere else in the world. But he chose to cite the headquarters of his Church in Eleme, and remained with us. That is because he recognized and accepted his calling as a shepherd and apostle to the people of Eleme. In the days of our forefathers and before modernization, Eleme had deities and shrines like Onura, Ejilee, Bajor, Ntakor, Ogbe Nwata, Ndorwa, among others where her people ran to for deliverance and help; but over the last 20 years, if not since the founding of his Church in 1971, Archbishop Moses Kattey can be described as the shrine and voice of God to the Eleme nation. Who among us has had a problem and didn’t run to him for counsel and prayers? He was our spiritual protection and prophet from God.
One Important Lesson from the Life of Archbishop Kattey
If there is one thing the life of Archbishop Moses Kattey should teach us; it is the kind of leaders we should desire and look for in Eleme. Our focus should be on those who will make selfless sacrifices for Eleme, rather than sacrificing us for their own pleasure and gain. We should look out for those who are genuinely interested in serving the people and promoting their wellbeing, rather than taking from us. We should look out for those who truly love Eleme and so devote themselves to working for us and crying out to God for us and the cleansing of our land, rather than those who promote evil and import atrocities into the land.
In every land there should be someone who stands in the gap between God and the people; someone whose tears, prayers and sacrifices to God cleanse the land and attract God’s mercy upon the people. Every community, state and country needs people like that. People like that are few in Nigeria today. I am talkingl about men like Pastor E.O. Adeboye, Pastor William Kumuyi, Pastor Gbile Akanni, Bishop David Oyedepo, among others. Archbishop M.O. Kattey was such a man. People who know the worth of such men of God do not joke with them; rather they cherish and celebrate them.
How Will You Die?
With the death of Archbishop Kattey, Eleme has indeed lost something valuable and irreplaceable. He is like a precious key that has fallen from our hands into the deep river. That is why when I hear that some persons are rejoicing at his death on social media, I shake my head in sorrow, because such persons are only celebrating their ignorance. The wise and discerning know that Eleme has lost a mighty pillar, one which we may never be able to replace. And he died an honourable death. At the time God wanted to take him home, God ensured that he didn’t suffer any unnecessary pains.
The question for us who are still alive is how will I die? Will I die in pains and sufferings after languishing on a wheelchair totally unable to do anything for myself, for years? Will I die at the hands of assassins, hired killers who slaughter and hack their victims to pieces like a butcher? Will I die as a captive in the hands of kidnappers and they carelessly dump my corpse in a shallow and unmarked grave somewhere in the forest? Will it be in a road accident or a plane crash with my body burnt beyond recognition or to ashes leaving nothing for my family to bury?
These are the thoughts to consider before you begin mocking or celebrating the death of someone else. Have you thought of how you will end?
Whether you are a king, political office holder, business executive, rich or poor; every one of us has a date with death and none of us knows the form in which death will come to us. So for those who may want to rejoice that Archbishop Kattey is no more, go ahead and rejoice. Your own end is waiting around the corner.
One reason why we do not rejoice at the death of a person, even if the person was our worse enemy, is the fact that none of us knows when and how we will die. That is why culturally, morally and socially, we frown upon people who celebrate the death of others. Death is a part of human existence. Only those who are ignorant of this fact celebrate or rejoice when others die. Yet, it is a sad reality that all through history the wicked and evil rejoice when good people die. Evil and selfish men rejoiced when Jesus Christ died, but their rejoicing was short-lived, because Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead. Today, the name and fame of Jesus Christ is known all over the world and in every realm of existence; while those who mocked and rejoiced at His death have long been dead and forgotten by time. If evil people could celebrate the death of Jesus Christ is it that of Archbishop Moses Kattey that they won’t? So, it’s nothing new to mock the dead; but it shows foolishness on the part of the mocker.
Anyone who mocks or rejoices at the death of another is merely acting out of his or her ignorance of nature and the role nature and nemesis play in the life of man. Nature frowns at us and makes mockery of us when we act in ways that suggest that we are masters over life and time or that we have the whole world in our hands; when in reality we have no control over life and time. To each of us there is a given lifespan and we cannot take one second more than the time allotted to us by nature.
If we are given the opportunity of a living a long life, a time comes when we no longer have the strength and vigour of youth. We become frail, weak and sickly; needing others to help and care for us. Nature frowns at us in our wicked behaviour. We lose strength and mental acuity that we took pride in. A person can still be alive yet loses everything he toiled and laboured for. There are people in Eleme today who were once wealthy, powerful and famous; yet everything they worked for amounted to nothing because they had children who could not manage their wealth. In the twinkle of an eye, everything such people spent their lives accumulating went down the drains. There are people among us who were well-to-do yesterday, but today their children are thieves and robbers. Others had more than enough to eat and throw away, but today they are begging food to eat. We have seen wonderful mansions that were hailed as ‘one-in-town’ suddenly razed down by fire and the owners are left looking for a place to sleep. That is how time and nature works.
For things to change in the life of an individual, community or government, it does not take a whole year, a whole month, a whole week, a day, one hour or even one minute. All it takes nature to effect change anywhere is only a split second. Therefore, anyone who rejoices at the death of another is totally ignorant of the workings of nature; because we are all on assignment here on earth and nature has given us different timelines to finish our tasks and return to our Maker – and it only takes a split second for nature to call us back.
What Will You Be Remembered For?
We are all on assignment on earth; and death comes for every man the moment he finishes his assignment. That is why age or how long a person lives is irrelevant. The important thing is whether or not the person fulfilled his or her assignment. Even unborn children die as stillbirths. That is like a person sent on errand and while he is on his way, he is suddenly called back. So death can come for us at any time. It doesn’t matter whether we are rich or poor, small or great; death comes to us all. That is why death is the common denominator and great equalizer of life. Like the great English writer, William Shakespeare wrote: “death is a necessary end” for all mankind.
If we realize that we are on assignment on earth, there is really no sense for us to be sorrowful or mourn when we lose loved ones. It’s just that God has wired strong memories, feelings and emotions for our loved ones into us; such that when they die that feeling automatically pops up and we become sorrowful as we remember them for their works.
The question therefore is: What legacy are you going to leave behind when you die? As for Archbishop Moses Kattey, he has left a great legacy. We will always remember him for his good works, love and commitment to the Eleme people. When we see his wife and children, we will always remember the wonderful things he did for us – the prayers, counsel, admonition and encouragement. We will remember his forthrightness, faithfulness and how he stood for the truth and justice and shunned evil. Anywhere we see his footprints we will remember the great mark he left behind. We will remember how he lit a light in Eleme and made Eleme known in the comity of Christian leaders and Churches across the world.
What will you be remembered for? What legacy will you leave behind when death comes for you? Is it a legacy of love or mockery? Will you be remembered for good or will people look at your children and family only to mock, shame and ridicule them because of your own wrong doings, wickedness and negative behaviour?
History records that upon her deathbed, the powerful Queen Elizabeth I of England uttered these last words: “All my possessions for a moment of time.” That powerful woman was ready to give up everything she had for just one more moment. That is why our Lord Jesus asks in Mark 8:36, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, but lose his soul?”
We shouldn’t be overconfident in ourselves, our positions, accumulations or wealth, because whatever we have and whoever we are, everything is vanity before God. Our worry should be the condition we find ourselves when death comes for us. Are we going to die in serious pain and in such horrible health conditions that our wives, children and relatives abandon us? Will death meet us in places where our children and loved ones cannot find us to bury? What shall all our accumulations and undue agitation for position and title amount to in the face of death?
Archbishop Moses Kattey is dead and he died a fulfilled and happy man. Indeed, his death can be likened to that of the great Archbishop Benson Idahosa, Bishop Isaac O. Lale of Onne and other anointed servants of God whom God called home after the successful completion of their earthly assignments. That is perhaps why one of the last things he did a few hours before his death was to sit down, compose and post a message on Facebook. In that message he stated how he wanted to clear the air and any misunderstanding people might have about his position concerning certain happenings in Eleme. He probably sensed that he was going home to be with our Lord and Maker and he didn’t want anyone to misquote or misrepresent him on such a sensitive matter. He posted that message at exactly 7:34pm on the night of Thursday, April 23, 2020; and a few hours later he transited peacefully to glory. What a beautiful death! His death was so peaceful and glorious; and I believe it was also God’s reward to him for the kind of life he lived.
We remember the death of a great person when something happens, which such a person would have been able to handle and there is nobody to handle it. At such times every member of the family begins to cry and lament; wishing such a person were still alive. Families, communities, organizations, associations, even countries need people like that – great people who make positive difference and impact in the lives of their people. Archbishop Moses Olaka Kattey was such a man, and that is why well-meaning Eleme people and all those whose lives he impacted will never forget him. Our prayer, even as we weep and mourn his death, is that God will raise another person like him for us; because we need more of his kind in Eleme, Rivers State and Nigeria – indeed the world.
*HRH King Amb. (Dr.) Appolus Chu is the Egbere Emere Okori, Eleme. He is also a staunch member of Archibishop Moses Kattey’s Commonwealth Covenant Church International.