|Promise Uzoma Okoro|
The name PROMISE UZOMA OKORO, popularly known as PUO rings a bell. The Rivers State University graduate was a prominent voice as leadership crisis rocked the Assemblies of God Nigeria for over three years. He spoke to journalists in Enugu on a wide range of issues. Excerpts!
MAY WE KNOW YOU?
My name is Promise Uzoma Okoro; I’m from Amaokwe Elu in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State.
YOU PLAYED VERY PROMINENT ROLE IN THE CRISIS WHICH ROCKED THE ASSEMBLIES OF GOD; WHAT WAS REALLY YOUR LEVEL OF INVOLVEMENT?
I remember the story of David and Goliath in the Bible; that is exactly what I will use to describe my involvement while the crisis lasted. David you know never bordered about the size of Goliath but the size of his God.
Before I go further, may I observe that some people will always say that it is not good to talk about the crisis, but I don’t think that is right because the issues are already in the public domain.
It all started when the General Committee of the Assemblies of God suspended its then leader, Rev. Dr. Paul Emeka for suing the Church to court. In the Constitution of the Assemblies of God Church, it is clearly stated that no member should sue the Church to court, but Paul Emeka flouted it and dragged the Church to court in 2014. By then I was at Abuja; nobody in the national headquarters knows me. We were at that time reading a lot of things and unfortunately, I was reading what was coming out from Paul Emeka’s boys. I started writing and I was writing based on what his E-Rats were writting.
When I came down here, it happened that one of the pastors on Paul Emeka’s side, who was not comfortable with what I was writing, invited me and they gave me a big offer to work for Paul Emeka, but I never accepted such offer.
Later on, I received an invitation from one of the Pastors on the side of truth. The day I came to see him, fortunately, the Executive Committee of the Church was meeting. When I got there, I was fortunate enough to meet with some of these great fathers. I made them understand what was exactly happening in the Church, that I was not seeing media work that was being done by the Church Online; things were only being dished out by the other side; they were calling men of God names. You can quote me that Paul Emeka instructed them to do so; my investigation showed that that was the instruction given to them by then President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor- attack these people, destroy them through the media. But I thank God for Rev. Dr. Chidi Okoroafor, the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, who never succumbed to blackmail.
I started to serve the Church; I was able to remove from them that power of misinforming our members, that propaganda machinery was destroyed. God helped us so much, such that today, we are sharing testimonies.
You know failure is an orphan but success has many relations. As victory finally came our way, even some of those who were attacking us now started congratulating us; there was even a time some persons wrote petitions against me, but all these amounted to nothing. I never gave a damn because I knew I was fighting a just cause. God helped us with that victory at the Supreme Court on the 24th of February 2017.
HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO ACHIEVE THIS?
Well, it’s not really as if things were rosy for me from the beginning. I said this because I had a very humble beginning.
I started my primary education at Alayi Central Primary School; I also later had my secondary education at the same town but I couldn’t complete owing to some to the fact that My aunty later came to the village, that was in 2005, from Port-Harcourt and said she wanted me to come and stay with her, precisely at Ahoada in Rivers State, Nigeria. When I got there, I was enrolled at Western Ahoada County High School, where I started from JSS 3 to SS3. While I was there, I was appointed to serve as the library prefect of the school, a post no other none indigene has ever held, except me. It is a very popular school which has so far produced several prominent personalities in Nigeria.
It was also not rosy while I was in that school as I never attended school in market days, even as a library prefect. I was instead hawking pure water, garden egg, orange and a whole lot of other things. But in spite of these, I was undeterred in my academic work. I still featured prominently in academic exercises, like debates and other competitions.
When it was time for me to actually register for SSCE, my aunty said there was no money, that was in 2008/2009 session; she rather said I should wait for the next session. I was shattered; I returned to the village destabilized; my mum started crying. I consoled her and made her understand my optimism that God is indeed with me and that He will make a way for me. I told her I was not coming to the village to come and stay.
SO WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
Well, God continued to manifest himself; I left the village and went back to Ahoada; on getting there, God used one of my classmates. He took me to a boss of his, one Mr. Joseph Ntor-ue a local government staff and after narrating my story to him, the man was torched; he now gave me key to one of the rooms in the boys’ quarters. That was how my first miracle started. As God would have it, I was able to sit for WAEC in 2009; I was 18 years by then. However, I failed; I try again in 2010 but failed; I said I failed because I could not obtain 5 credits. In 2011, I tried for the 3rdtime and I cleared all the 9 subject. This experience led me into writing my first book, “A knock down is not a knock out”.
After writing that book, God used men in the Assemblies of God; I was able to open a mini-shop and carter for myself. So, in 2011/2012, I wrote JAMB, scored 220. Initially I put UNIBEN but it didn’t work. I had already purchased another form but the God of my past miracle came again. It happened then that the Rivers State University was deleted from JAMB site during the 2011 Registration but JAMB restored it after the exams; so they were now shopping for candidates. They got to me and I applied, wrote the exam and scored 23 over 50. After it was added to my JAMB score, I now had 55 percent, and with that, I was able to secure admission on merit to study Mass Communication.
So, it has been God all the way; I never knew my father; he died way back in 1993; even if I meet him and I won’t recognize him but God of my past miracle has always been there for me. I have always been an entrepreneur, even as a student. I remember I used to go to Emeka Offor Plaza; I used to help people set up their phone internet and made small money with which I was sustaining myself. With my experience, I advise youths who are passing through one problem or another never to give up.
WHAT INFORMED YOUR DECISION TO BECOME A BLOGGER?
Well, it is a thing of passion; it is actually something I started way back in secondary school; even in my church then, the Assemblies of God Ahoada in Ahaoda District, because I was born, dedicated and baptized in that Church, everything about me is Assemblies of God. So, in those days, when announcement is made in the Church, I will just immediately post it on my facebook. In fact, at one time, they summoned me over my post on facebook, which was read by a member outside the country.
Then also, I have never written application for employment to anybody; I also do not expect anybody to ask me about any certificate. If you at look this country, you will even find out that those with first class are at bottom level in the office while the third class holders are at the helm of affairs. You can see the irony of affairs. That’s why I keep praying to God that I don’t want to see any day I will start carrying applications around.
WHAT ARE YOUR BEST AND ODD MOMENTS SO FAR?
I don’t have best moments; I’m just 26; there are people that are 26 who have built mansions but I thank God for His grace; anything I may have lost, I will recover them in 10 fold; I don’t have any regret, all things are working together for my good. I may not have money but I can tell you that God has been so faithful.
YOU ARE STILL SINGLE?
Yes! But on the 1st of January this year, I prayed God that every spirit of bachelorhood shall be broken in my life in 2017. I believe God that it shall not pass this year.
HAVE YOU MET THE PERSON ALREADY?
Like I said, let’s leave it at that for now
ARE THERE PEOPLE YOU HAVE HURT DURING THAT CHURCH CRISIS?
There is nobody in life who doesn’t offend people; I may have offended a lot of people. I may have offended a whole lot of people, especially during the leadership struggle at the Assemblies of God; I want to tell them that they should forgive, just like I have forgiven those who offended me. Some of my friends on facebook even blocked me; some decided to unfriend me and all that.
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS?
God is the almighty planner; God is the event planner; I have a dream and I am working towards achieving that dream.
SOURCE: DAILY POST NIGERIA