By Essien Ndueso
On Sunday, September 22, 2019, at the thanksgiving service to mark the 32nd anniversary of Akwa Ibom State’s creation at Ibom Hall Grounds, Uyo, Prelate Emeritus Sunday Mbang was invited as the most senior priest and one of the grandfathers of faith in the country, to offer the benedictory prayers. Among other prayers for the country’s peace, the blessings of God upon the president, Vice President and other governors, he made the following proclamations which have generated tantrums, abuses and insults from young people.
“Father we know you are here, that is why we are all happy. Father if we have done any wrong against you, have mercy upon us.
“With the powers you have given me, I pray, all those who have committed sins AGAINST Akwa Ibom people, AGAINST Akwa Ibom Children, AGAINST Akwa Ibom State, in their lives, in their character, Lord I am asking you today, please forgive them for they did not know what they were doing.
“But if they continue in their sins, let their sins kill them, in Jesus Mighty Name…”
I have been so surprise with the growing trend where young people take their crass ignorance, clad in political patronage to a pedestal never witnessed in a civilised society, such as ours. These are prayers that clergy men pray, in the church and outside the church. On that day, it was further intensified by the Governor of the state, His Excellency, Udom Emmanuel, when he echoed the supplication of King David in Psalms 7.9, “Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end…” A prayer point which has been thematic in the state, on the lips of all Christians for the last one year. I have doubts that even those taking offence in the prayer of Dr. Mbang, would not have rather their Pastors prayed for them, that unrepentant conspirators against them should perish in their conspiracy. Do they castigate their Pastors for such prayers?
Exodus 22:18 backs the renowned Christian General when it says, “suffer not the witch to live”, a witch there denoting ardent wicked people who derive pleasure in destroying the lives of others; and this is amplified when Jesus the Lord of life said to his disciple Peter, “he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword”(Matthew 26:52).
In Psalm 143:12 (NRS) David, a man after God’s heart sounds it loud and clear, “In your steadfast love cut off my enemies, and destroy all my adversaries, for I am your servant.”
A lot of people from the APC have made allusions to Dr. Mbang’s prayer. Some self acclaimed youth leaders and media analysts of the APC have gone haywire on the social media, that the revered man of God was unfair to the APC in his prayers.
In fact, a particular case is that of a certain Iniobong John who signs as APC Youth leader. He shared his response to virtually all government officials, including my humble self, saying, “the so called prayer was the height of hypocrisy and sycophancy”. He even asked “Who did he refer to as evil men that God should punish?” All these alluding to a notion that the APC members where the ones being referred in the said prayers.
The APC internet warrior also, sadly though, said, “Going by the evil prayer by Prelate Sunday Mbang at the Akwa Ibom state 32nd Anniversary Thanksgiving service yesterday at Ibom Hall, we doubt if he’s truly a man of God.” This is a comment of a boy asked by the APC to lead all the young people in their party?
Those of us at the Thanksgiving Service at Ibom Hall ground, never heard evil men from the lips of the Prelate Emeritus, neither did we hear reference to anyone present at the venue.
My question to them is, assuming without conceding, that Dr Mbang cursed evil men, when did ‘Evil Men’ become synonymous with the APC or members of the APC? Did the Clergyman mention particular names of APC members that the congregation and the peace loving people of the state are unaware of?
Furthermore, if by their own admission, the prayer was directly refering to APC leaders, then how come Iniobong and his sponsors ignored the part Prelate Mbang prayed that God should forgive them for they knew not what they did”?
For all who were there with a plain mind, the prayer for the peace and well being of Akwa Ibom resonated and was appreciated. “Father give peace to Akwa Ibom State. Any area that there is no peace, let your peace that passeth all understanding be there. Lord we are hearing that there are roadblocks here and there against our state. By the power and the anointing you have given me , I have cancelled all those things that have happened in Jesus name.”
Is there anything that the APC is not telling us about the peace of Akwa Ibom State? It is only guilty people that would think that a particular thing someone said is about them?
In the Bible days, several proponents of Baal were killed through the invocation of God’s wrath by Prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel. In 2 Kings Chapter 1, when Ahaziah sent men of his army after Elijah, the Prophet invoked fire and it consumed a hundred of them and heaven did not fall.
Even the politicians whose supporters have have twisted the innocent prayers of the Prelate Mbang, are very careful of the Bible portion that says “touch not my anointed and do my Prophet no harm”. Iniobong John and his cohorts should ask those paying them to make these unguarded and disdainful comments, if they would have allowed their children to be associated with such careless and punishable abuses on an octogenarian father of fathers in the faith.
To expose his ignorance even to an all time low, the busy body political errandboy vented further, “No true man of God would ask God to punish someone simply because the person is opposed to his preferred candidate. The mischievous prayer by Prelate Sunday Mbang should be an embarrassment to every true Christian.”
If Iniobong John and other itinerary APC Facebook ranters can remember their Sunday school lessons very well, they would have recalled how Prophet Elisha is remembered as cursing young children who mocked him, and immediately lions came out and ate up all of them. As a brother, I have been burdened to draw the attention of the publishers of these needless attacks against the man of God, to the bible warning, “My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent”(Proverbs 1.10). And this is because the misfortune of a sinner does not please God.
These politicians hiding at the background would not find the feet to stand before these men of God to utter such words, especially for a man like Mbang, who is at a stage in life when mundane things and personal aggrandisement do not matter to him. In other climes he would be worshipped as an living Oracle.
At the event, Governor Udom Emmanuel preached peace and stated categorically that wickedness shall come to no effect in the state. And the next thing is for idle minds to jump into the fray that the Governor refused to allow peace to reign. The question now is, who are the wicked people? Is there anywhere in the state that the APC are harbouring evil people in the State? If not, is there anyone or people who attended the event or not that bears the name “wicked man/woman”? If not, why then did they not take cognisance of the Governor’s comment earlier, that political parties are mere vehicles to seek political offices, and once elections are over, the party matters less and everyone unites for the progress of the state.
Akwa Ibom State has gone through thick and thin and the place of peace in the state is very sacrosanct. It is therefore important that our prayers collectively be channelled towards uprooting all stubborn traces of evil that attempt to plague our state.
Like Prelate Mbang prayed at the State Banquet held in honour of the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Saturday, September 21, 2019, “Father, you have given us peace in Akwa Ibom State for a long time now, may this peace continue in Jesus Name”.
As for those who are still worried by the tone of the prayer on that fateful day, I would rather borrow a simple response from a big brother, that IT WAS A FAIR, EVEN IF DANGEROUS PRAYER THAT ONLY THE GUILTY SHOULD FEAR OR GRUMBLE!