That evening, I sat down inert. My raison d’être was obvious. The pain was biting, being the wake-keep of Kanu, my cousin. Secondly, I had withdrawn my membership from my town’s union, which was handling it. Midway into the programme, the President, Emma Nnorom, in his usual, humble manner, came to me, and asked whether I would like to say something. Mistaking his intention to be that he wanted me to use the opportunity to explain why I had not been attending meetings, I said, ‘No,’ He left. Not long after, uncomfortable with my unusual posture, he came back. “Won’t you give us a message?’ he asked. ‘I will,’ I said merrily. I stood up and gave the Gospel message, even making an Altar call at the end.
‘Yes, Emma, no doubt,’ I whispered within, ‘is my professional colleague, but what has God’s message got to do with him?’ I wondered. A few months later, the truth manifested. I went to minister in the Headquarters of the Presbyterian Church, Yaba and I was surprised to see him, not knowing that it is his Church. There, I discovered that he is a vibrant child of God. I understood then why he prompted me to share God’s Word that evening. We met also in Ovim, our town, during our Christmas Fellowship. Each time I ministered in his Church, he was there in great zeal. I have attended all his birthdays, except one. One thing is common to them: Church service, though held on Saturdays. The wisdom is divine. Those, who came to eat and drink, will do as much as they want, but it is after eating and winning with the Lord Jesus. And so it was at his 60th birthday.
On April 7, 2018, his family members, his Church members, Ovim Community League members, especially, the women wing, friends, colleagues, et cetera, gathered in large number at the usual place – his Church – to celebrate him. It was his 60th birthday anniversary. The programme scheduled to start at 12 noon, started really twenty minutes before time. The Levites of his Church opened the floor with their beautiful renditions that brought God’s glory down. Most of us joined them in singing and then stood up to worship the Lord. The choir later led the procession to usher in the ministers and for the birthday service to start formally.
There are some Christians, who are scared of birthdays. Their resentment is borne by the tragedy that took place during Pharaoh’s birthday, in which his chief baker was hanged – Gen 40:20-22. It was during the birthday of Herod also that he beheaded John the Baptist – Mark 6:21-27. Nothing is wrong with birthday celebrations. What is important is its organization. Is it to appreciate God or to glorify self? Emma’s position answers the question. During his birthdays, not only would he organize a Church service, in which the Gospel message is given, he will still bring an evangelist to the reception to minister, so that those, who were not in the Church, for whatever reason, would still hear God’s Word. It is worthy to note that ENN, as he is fondly called, uses his birthdays, primarily, for evangelism.
At his 60th birthday programme, the Bible readings were handled by his first daughter and son, and they did it in such a way that gave them out as people familiar with the Holy Book. I recall with pathos, when, during a burial, the chief mourner, a key member of a Church, did not know how to find the passage in the Bible he was to read until help came to him. The help, unfortunately, could not help him to read it well!
In his message, ‘What is life’, the minister asked us what ‘Life’ means to us. ‘To some people’, he said, ‘it is a battle. All that they do in life is to fight battles. They fight with everything around them’. He was dead right. I have seen a man, fighting himself. In school, I read about a man, who was fighting a windmill! Imagine! Continuing, the minister said that some people think that life is a restaurant. Nothing matters to them than eating and drinking. William Shakespeare, in his book, ‘Twelfth Night or What You Will’, painted this picture in the life of Sir Toby Bech. It is a tragedy for a human being, God created in His image, to think that the purpose of his creation is just to eat and to drink. Such people, he said, do not consider the side effect of what they eat or drink, as long as their body desires it. Chai!
The minister, rather, considered life to be a journey. What distinguishes a journey from any other thing, he said, is that it has a beginning and an end. The individual making the journey does not know when he started it and also when it will end. ENN, he said, started the journey 60 years ago, and has been meeting different types of people on his way. He told us how he wept the day ENN was ministering and sharing his testimonies in the Church. In his conclusion, he said that whatever ENN, who he described as ‘humility personified’, is today, could only be so because of God. Yes, I also testify that Emma has been walking with the Lord Jesus in this long journey of life. The preacher said that he [ENN] was beaten by his father, when he gave his life to Jesus and joined the Scripture Union, our great Union!
He reminded us that there will be a Day of Judgment. This is true. The beauty of Christianity is that whether we believe what God says or not, it will still come to pass. Where an individual will go after death will depend on the choice he made while living. The minister told us that Uncle Paul was so sure of where he was going that he said, ‘For me to live is Christ and to die is gain’ – Phl 1:21. An Elder in the Presbyterian Church, ENN by word and deed, is saying the same. Paul also said, ‘There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness’. 2Tim. 4:8. This is the reward for those, who like ENN, have chosen Jesus in making this Life Journey.
A Chartered Accountant, I recall his versatility, popularity and deep knowledge of Accountancy, very much revealed when asking or answering questions and when making his contributions in the class during our lectures for ICAN examination in 1983. His performance was so exceptional that he won the ICAN prize and soon after, he and some other people started an ICAN training school. A former Director in UBA, he has held high management positions in industry and he is now, a Director of Transcorp Nigeria, Plc.
His enviable profile was carefully excluded in his birthday programme. There is nothing wrong for a man, who has intimidating profile to detail the major positions he has held and still holds, but Elder Emmanuel Nwabuikwu Nnorom, seemed to be contented absolutely, in his testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. We should appreciate his wife, Florence Ihuoma Nnorom, for her massive support and contribution to her husband’s success. The same appreciation goes to their four children. Happy Birthday, Brother ENN!
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