Born in Igbere, Abia State, he came to Lagos with his uncle while he was only 19. His life is a testament to industry, vision and dedication to God. Ekeoma Eme Ekeomaâ€™s life, like many others, was a chequered one. As he grew up, he learnt to turn stumbling blocks to stepping stones. With his astounding success as an entrepreneur, Ekeomaâ€™s life was to witness a giant leap. Many milestones, which constitute all the hurdles Elder Ekeoma had to cross, on his way up will serve as a motivational tonic to any hard-working young man or woman who encounters him. At 57, the Chairman of Nepal Oil and Gas Limitedâ€™s influence comes through his vision for eternity and evangelising. He speaks with Adedayo Adejobi on the birth of his ministry and hope for the future
Recently you got involved in full-time evangelical ministry, launching the Believers Ministry. What inspired that?
For a child of God, we are all full-time workers in the Lordâ€™s vineyard. I wouldnâ€™t say I am a full-time minister. But I have a commitment to share the Word of God on a continuous basis. In the last couple of years I have had the burden in me, but lately about three months ago, in my sleep I had a direct message from God. The message was â€˜My son put your total trust in me. I have in you deposits unutilised.â€™ I heard the voice clearly, and I knew it was God who spoke, and that kept me thinking. So that birthed the Believersâ€™ fellowship. I had the leading to create a platform within the Ikoyi axis, where people could fellowship with God. Itâ€™s a non-denominational organisation where the Word of God is propagated. The target is to sensitise people about the end time and the need to get closer to God at a time the world is falling apart. Itâ€™s a forum for Believers to express themselves in Godâ€™s presence. I have seen the best of both worlds, and I know the right place to be. I came to Lagos in 1979 and lived the life of an adolescent before the Lord drew me closer to propagate his word. If I could embrace things of God, I encourage everyone to embrace God because he is rounding off his agenda for the earth, and it would not be good we are found wanting.
How do you strike a balance between business and the ministry?
You cannot separate the two. They are intermingled. Having knowledge of the things of God, one becomes more successful in business. For everything that manifests physically, there is always a spiritual precedence. Itâ€™s important to know who ones maker is. My call in the ministry is a fulfilment of the injunction that every child of God is a priest. Every believer has a role to play in the work of God. Unfortunately, most people donâ€™t know what their gifts are. But until we begin to get closer to God, those gifts may not fully manifest. I have been doing the work of God since 1992. If after several years I am just getting involved, I donâ€™t think itâ€™s early. Thereâ€™s really no clash with my work with God and my business. My work with God enhances my business because he gives me â€˜revelationalâ€™ knowledge behind every decision I take in my daily work and marriage.
How did you find God in 1992?
The late Revered Ukegbu was holding a crusade in our church, The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria. And there was an altar call and there I submitted to the Masterâ€™s will. That became a turning point in my life.
Has there been any time your Christianity was questioned?
If you understand the things of the spirit, there are no minuses. 25 years down the line, there are no regrets. It does not also mean that there havenâ€™t been challenges, but there has been adequate grace to sustain me. Itâ€™s a good thing, and I encourage people to tow the same line, as youâ€™ll never regret working with God.
With your status and influence, do you engage in politics?
I donâ€™t engage in politics. I am not involved in any form, shape or colour in politics. I donâ€™t relate with politicians; that doesnâ€™t mean I condemn them. You cannot mix the present-day politics with business. I am also not saying godly people cannot get into politics. At the appointed time, If God wants to use me to restructure my state, to advise people in government or do anything, I will know. But there is no such inclination. It however does not mean I donâ€™t take interest in political affairs of my state. At least, I do the best I can, even at the community level. I get involved in the welfare of the community. I am not looking for any elective position in the country at the moment.
Whatâ€™s your retirement plan?
My retirement means working with less effort. It doesnâ€™t mean I would not get involved in the daily running of the organisation. I get more involved with things that edify the spirit because time is running out. I learn to depend more on God to guide my efforts in order to give me inner strength that guarantees safety, reassurance to taking my business to higher levels. Working with less effort is my brand of retirement.
What has kept your marriage going?
I have a very supportive wife. I may not be the best, but with God on my side, He brings out the perfection in the union. I am sure like any other marriage; weâ€™ve had our highs and lows. Itâ€™s taken maturity, patience to steer the ship. I have decided to give more time to my family and also begin to exercise a lot of tolerance, thus giving everybody their space and act in advisory capacity. I am spending more time in the secret chambers, talking to God on anything I feel is not right in my family. And God has been so helpful, and those things have been addressed. Spending time with God praying and seeking His face under any challenge Iâ€™ll say is the secret to the longevity of my marriage. My wife is a very good woman. Weâ€™ve done almost 29 years, and I am only trusting God for a better tomorrow in our relationship.
Donâ€™t you feel tempted to have dalliances with women, despite being happily being married for over two decades?
What would I do with them? I pity men who get involved in extra-marital affairs. I am fulfilled as a married man. I donâ€™t have any reason to look at any other woman outside. God gave me my wife and he didnâ€™t make a mistake giving me Ngozi as my wife. She is beautiful inside-out, and so what would I be looking for outside? She is beautiful at heart. Thereâ€™s really no temptation. I pity men who get involved in extra marital affairs, because when you sleep with a different woman, you have slept with a different spirit. And thatâ€™s an evil covenant. The dangers of extra-marital affairs are three-fold â€“ they expose one to sickness, spiritual attack and death. A man separated from God is dead. People should learn to be faithful to their spouses. Righteousness is a great factor in relationships.
You must have had issues at various times. How did you settle them?
You just have to depend on God. There is no home or marriage that is made in heaven. There are no two marriages that are the same. Relationships have to go through the process. People must also accept the challenges that come with it. A relationship may look rough at the beginning but at the end, itâ€™ll turn out good. For that joy in marriage, our total dependence is on God.
As a grandfather, how did you feel the day you had your first grandchild?
I felt very happy. It is an indication that I have come of age. It is also an added emotional responsibility as I know thereâ€™s someone looking up to me as a grandfather.
What inspires that?
What inspires me? Creation. I am not addicted to anything. I love the good things of life in moderation. There is nothing I cannot do without.Â I strike a balance.Â Whatever I do is in moderation.
What is your counsel to the young generation?
My ideal day begins with God. I set aside quality time in his presence, because I need same to survive this harsh environment. The country is passing through turbulence. Itâ€™s like a vicious cycle that does not do anyone any good. And what I am trying to do is to impact my generation, challenge those who are older and more experienced in life to know the need why they should hang on to their creator.Â I have a holistic approach to life. I know that there is the need to create good values for the family, business and society. Life is so short. We donâ€™t have all the time in the world. I donâ€™t need the whole money in the world to be happy, as I can only wear a pair of shoes and lie on a bed at a time, no matter how expensive.Â I encourage Nigerians to live an upright life. It pays.
You still look so young and good for your age,Â whatâ€™s the secret?
Contentment is my secret. Iâ€™ll be 57 on June 25. We must be satisfied and happy with whatever God has made available to us. Everybody must not be rich or wealthy. There are people that wealth has brought more destruction into their lives. God is the greatest democrat and we are left with choices in life. Another reason is that, I donâ€™t keep grudges. If I have issues with you, I sort it out by expressing such. I donâ€™t carry hurt overnight. I return hate with unconditional forgiveness. I free myself from unnecessary tension and pressure.