Thursday 28 June 2012

Rev. Chris Okotie’s long-standing friend writes on why the man of God’s marriage failed

Rev. Chris Okotie
Arc. Ezekiel Nyaetok, a long-standing friend of Rev. Chris Okotie has taken his Facebook page to write an expose on his friend. The article titled “Rev. Chris Okotie: You may never know” suggests that  Chris’ recently ousted wife, Stephanie might have been living in the shadows of the House of God Int’l Ministry’s first wife, Teena. It is a very revealing article.
Read after the cut the full write-up.

Arc. Ezekiel Nyaetok
There are very few people including family members that can claim to know the charismatic preacher more than I do. Our relationship spans over 30 years. I was probably one of the very few persons including family members that ever lived with him -probably two or three of us in all.
We met way back in the university. While some people will swear till tomorrow that I led him to the good Lord, truth remains that the good Lord leads to himself whom He will. Besides, in the Paul sows, Appolos waters, and God gives the increase analysis, no one can truly take the credit for anyone's conversion. For Chris Okotie (then), I guess he was directly arrested for a specific assignment by the good Lord HIMSELF.
Back to our relationship, I was then very born again while he was the hottest stuff on the pop scene in Nigeria. In a curious way that defies explanation -as in most issues and events in my life, our paths crossed and we were to become BFL (Brothers For Life). We moved virtually everywhere together including his then secular concerts where booze, smoke and the rest (don't ask), flowed freely and easily. Did I partake?, how will that benefit you? Well, God shielded me and I guess that it helped him in seeing Christians as honest people. Eventually, God got him and that was final. Within weeks, my Christianity was to be challenged in a manner never before. Chris was sincere, dedicated, and an epitome of commitment to one's faith. One thing stood out about him, he was himself with no pretences on anything about his faith. He did not rush to cut his curled hair, or throw away his girlfriend Teena. He prayed some of the most sincere prayers that I've ever heard, and probably will ever hear and a lot more things that I will probably leave for another day.
Eventually, Chris was to become the inevitable -Reverend Chris.
His marriage to Teena was another event that will remain a mystery. Including the officiating priest, the bride, the groom, and we humble guests, we must have been eleven or at most twelve in all. This was the wedding of probably the hottest bachelor and biggest celebrity in the country. Chris does what he wants to do how he wants to do, and when he wants to do it. To him, it is all about one thing, PERSONAL conviction.
It was probably then that I learnt and evolved my personal philosophy that I would rather be sincerely wrong than hypocritically right,
I have heard so many people talk so convincingly about this man on issues that they know next to nothing about.
One word that characterises his life is DIFFERENT. He is, and has been different right from time. Unless you know that, you are likely to either misinterpret him, or get into lots of troubles and misunderstandings with him. His music had to be different. That is what set him apart and put him on the top of the POP chart longer than any other, with a record stay on the top chat that is yet to be broken by any other artiste. When he became a pastor, he set new standards that have come to define the present church in Nigeria and beyond. One man revolutionised our way of worship, and church administration. Holy Police and Benevolence concepts were alien until Rev Okotie arrived. Probably the biggest contribution to my mind, is the administration of the Children's Church.
It is far from contestable that over 70% of the front-line pastors in Nigeria today, and the exports to other countries, are direct and indirect students of the HouseHold Of God pastored by Pastor or Rev Okotie.
On a personal note, I owe much and a very substantial part of my successes in my professional and family life to him. Did I say family life? Unequivocal YES. Does that hit a sore note? I understand. In 1988, I became the second person to be wed by him in the church at a 'tender' age of 25. Since then he has had two failed marriages so what is it that I have had to learn from him about family life? You may ask. This is where the crux of the matter is. I understand the mission of Rev Okotie, most people don't. If this man was to handover the ministry to another and retire to something else, he would probably have fulfilled his ministry. What was and has been his mission? Unless you understand that, you may never appreciate him fully as a person. One thing that his worst critic will not contest is that he "has the WORD" He has been a teacher like never before. His sermons became the secret teaching manual of most preachers. From him we started to hear the Greek and Hebrew meanings and contexts of biblical expositions. He has been the teacher of teachers. Understandably, we expect him to be the perfect living model of his preaching. More than anyone else, I wish it were so. Unfortunately, from the days of old, men of God have always had their weak points. These are far from being excusable, it only points us to the fact that they are mere mortals like you and I, and that the only perfect success has been our Lord Jesus Christ.
Very few people have the very intimate understanding of Rev Okotie that I have as I earlier stated. Besides being the oldest member of the church that he pastors before I left town, and him being the one that dedicated my three children, it was himself, his wife and I that lived in the same house before a particular family member later joined -if I may repeat myself for emphasis. This puts me in a position to have a deep insight to certain aspects of his personal life. Many people that hardly know him have said and written things about him that made my heart bleed especially as concerning relationships. They know very little about him, very little. He has told me things that give insight into his person and these are usually very few and far between. Once, we were driving from Ikeja to the Island and he said something's about his biological mother. As he started to talk, I looked away but he knew that I was listening. We have not said a word about that conversation over 25 years after. He trusts me and I deeply respect him.he is very responsible and careful with the opposite sex but not in a manner that we would have it be. My advice to people has always been to do less of speculating and just let him be. In heaven, many things will shock us and chances are that he will smell like a rose despite the seeming 'failure' in the marriage chapter of his life.
For decades, I have refused to say a thing or make public statements on or about him. This is definitely the first in over 30 years of knowing him.
The day that cruel minds cut the wife's mother into pieces in an armed robbery attack, I knew that my brother, friend, and pastor, was in for a long drawn trial of his soul. There were two things about him that got me scared. First, his love for Teena was almost inhuman. Second, his love for Nigeria was equally almost worrisome. The nexus? With the brutal murder of his mother in-law, all the family members -all daughters left town for good. This was expected, but the beginning of big trouble in little China for Rev Okotie. He couldn't live outside Nigeria nor could the wife be expected to return. It will be convenient for us to pass our judgments but that's our opinion.
Until Teena dies, hardly will there be a wife of his that will not live under the shadows of Teena -right or wrong. Call it weakness, fault, or whatever you will. At the risk of condoning, tolerating, accepting, or excusing, I believe that understanding this, will make us a little less critical and judgmental even to the point of questioning his calling or imputing certain motives that are less than charitable. Worse still, it will not distract us from the essence of his teachings. I will like us to pray for God to help him to leave the past and accept whoever may come later, for who the person is. A possible return of Teena? Please don't excite me!
Until then, my respect and admiration for what God has used him to do for Christendom remains at the "A" rate level, while praying for the quick resolution of the present impasse.
I remain his Brother For Life (BFL).

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