The traditional ruler of Nkporo Ancient Kingdom, HRM Eze Dr. P. O. Ogbuagu recently returned from the United States of America where he attended the bi-annual convention and fundraising event of the US Chapter of the Nkporo Development Union. During the trip, the monarch and the Abia State Deputy Governor Ude Oko Chukwu, were treated to a warm reception by Nkporo sons and daughters in New Jersey and Boston, Massachusetts. In this interview, Eze Ogbuagu relives the highpoints of the trip, and talks about his ascendancy to the throne and the success of the USA Bi-annual Conference and other related issues.
You have just returned from a royal trip to United States of America, on the invitation of your people, the Nkporo Development Union, USA Chapter. What was the experience like?
I attended the Bi-annual Convention and Fundraising Dinner of my people who are resident in America. It was held in New York City. After that event, the Abia State Deputy Governor, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, his amiable wife, myself and the National President of Nkporo Development Union, (NDU USA, Apostle Okpe Arum were given a warm reception at New Jersey and Boston respectively by Nkporo people living there. My meeting with NDU, USA Chapter, offered me the opportunity to meet with Nkporo sons and daughters and appeal to them to come home and take more Nkporo problems to America and bring more America’s development to Nkporo. I believethat America is big enough to swallow the many problems of Nkporo. I am grateful to God for the level of progress my people are making over there. I encouraged them to keep it up and stay committed. I prayed for them and challenged them to stay focused in their various chosen businesses and professions.
I also thanked the leadership and members of NDU, USA Chapter for their great show of love and commitment in the development of Nkporo, their fatherland especially in the area of education and infrastructure.
You mentioned that there was a fundraising dinner. What would funds raised be used to do?
Nkporo Development Union, USA is currently building a multipurpose and ultra- modern hall in Nkporo Central. The fund raising dinner was held specifically for that purpose. So, I passionately encouraged them to love God, reverence Him and live godly lives. I also pleaded with them to maintain strong relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ especially, now they are in a foreign land. I told them that they become good ambassadors of Nkporo. I reminded them of the need to teach their children the way of the Lord, and called on all Nkporo parents in the US to regularly bring their children home, especially during festive periods such as Christmas and help to teach their children Igbo language, their mother tongue.
What other advice did you give them beyond telling them to love God?
Before the Convention was rounded off on Sunday, I prayed for their children, telling them not to forget their root, nor be carried away by the pleasures of life in America. I appealed to all Nkporo people in America to be good ambassadors, knowing that they are not only representing their families, Nkporo people or Abia State alone, but the Igbo Nation, Nigeria and indeed that they are ambassadors of God. I challenged them to move more Nkporo people to America and within the shortest time bring America back home to Nkporo.
What are you wishing your people to bring back to Nkporo land?
There are many great opportunities in America that need to be transported back to Nigeria via Nkporo, just as there are many avoidable challenges in America that are not needed in Nkporo or Nigeria. There are certain lifestyles we don’t need in Nigeria since we already have many of them. We cannot afford to take more. When I spoke our children, especially those born in America, I advised them on the need to remember their home land (Nkporo and Nigeria). That they should be proud of their fatherland and their mother tongue, where they should aspire to return to after their American pilgrimage. I also challenged those young and traditionally innocent children of Nkporo to be educationally sound and compliant, because we need America’s positively developed mentality for the development of modern Nkporo. So, I called on young children to love God, fear Him and above all obey Him as that is the fundamental requirement for finding favour with God and live a successful life in a foreign land. I told them that living and obeying God is not optional, and that until they begin to obey their parents at home and their teachers in school, obedience to God will be difficult.
You have been stressing on the issue of home being here since we started this interview. What is it about America that can make one forget home?
Yes, there are platforms that can make one forget home and get lost in America. So I reminded them that even the Biblical Joseph, while dying told his people to make sure that they take his bones home. In the next 10 years, I would like to see Nkporo villages united to become one indivisible Kingdom that will have a resemblance of the United States of America. There is much to be derived in unity and oneness as against division. There is a spirit I discovered in America, and that is the spirit of thinking and planning for the future of their people and for generations yet unborn. It is a spirit that is interested in the general wellbeing of others and not self-centered. I told my people that I am looking forward to seeing a modern Nkporo that is not selfish and self-centered, which is not clique nor class conscious. I need that spirit transported back home from America because it will be good for our people.
While growing up did you ever imagine that you would become the monarch of your people?
I never desired or aspired to become the traditional ruler of Nkporo Ancient Kingdom. While growing up I witnessed idolatrous activities that went on within and around my community in those old days. I desired always to live a good Christian life, serve God in Spirit and in truth, and convert whoever that came my way to the Lord Jesus Christ and so I did.
But events of later years brought me to the throne or rather brought the throne to me. And today, I am the Ezeaja of Nkporo Ancient Kingdom, residing in Elughu Nkporo the headquarters of Nkporo Ancient Kingdom. I am currently sitting atop the ancient throne of my ancestors, piloting the affairs of my people, not like my ancestors, but like the Biblical David ruling in the fear of God.
How easy was it to ascend this throne since you said that you never desired to become the traditional ruler of your people?
Before accepting to serve my people, I was a focused and committed Christian both in the things of God and in my secular job as a federal civil servant. As a young and zealous Christian that repented and gave his life to Jesus Christ in November 1979, my love for God pushed me into many bible schools to know more about God in other to serve Him better. For this reason, I attended the Harvesters Bible College, Faith Bible College, Faith Christian Theological Seminary, where I obtained a Diploma in Theology, Bachelor, Master’s and doctorate degrees in Theology. As a marriage counselor, I also obtained a Diploma in Christian Education and Chaplaincy and a Diploma in Christian Counseling. I graduated from Delta State University (Abaraka) with Bachelor of Science degree in Public Administration. As a civil servant, I worked with the Federal Fire Service, Lagos, 17 years, and later joined the services of the Central Bank of Nigeria. I served there for about 20 years before I retired in the year 2011. On retirement, I became the pastor-in-charge of administration of Glory Christian Ministries, Lagos. I was a foundation member of the church and have served in various capacities for over twenty years.
It was while I was in the service of the Lord as the Administrative Pastor of Glory Christian Ministries that the throne of the Nkporo Ancient Kingdom became vacant due to the demise of the then Eze, HRM (Elder) Ogbu Arunsi, who was my class teacher and elder in Presbyterian Church. It was during this time that my people called on me to come home and become the monarch of my community. I refused because I never desired to be a traditional ruler, though I am a direct descendant of Ezeaja Iwoo, the founding father of Nkporo Ancient Kingdom. For about one year, I sought the face of God. I also spoke with credible men of God, specifically Pastor Dr. I. S. James, the founding Pastor of Glory Christian Ministries, before the Lord gave me the go ahead to serve my people as their new Eze. That was how I became the Ezeaja of Nkporo Ancient Kingdom.
How has it been since you ascended the throne?
The journey has not been very smooth as it has never been easy to those who are called by God to any leadership position. Nevertheless, we know that God uses troubles and challenges to equip and prepare the people He calls to do the work of His Kingdom. So my case is not different. And we know that those who will live godly life in Christ Jesus must go through challenges. Although I have had many challenges I have not had any form of regret or the desire to retreat. Rather, I have a heart of gratitude to God for giving me the opportunity to serve Him and His people. I believe that the best thing that can happen to any man is to be found in a place where God wants him or her to be. One great testimony to the glory of God is that the people God sent me to serve are today better, brighter and happier than when and where I met them.
One of the evidences of God’s involvement in the work He has called me to do is that God has always proved Himself mighty, helpful and sufficient in every situation. For example, my coronation in 2016 attracted people from within and outside Nigeria, including those who came purposely to receive chieftaincy titles. Interestingly my Pastor, Dr. I. S. James, along with many prominent members of my church from Lagos were in attendance, and they played a very supportive role during the occasion with their devoted prayers, presence and presents to encourage me as one of them over the years, to the glory of God.
What was growing up like, particularly having come from a polygamous family?
As the first son of the family of late Chief and Madam Oyere Ogbonnaya Ogbuagu, in a polygamous home, I passed through tough times in the struggle for life. But I believe that such should be normal experience to anyone who actually desires to live a godly life and have a good success. I believe that suffering and sacrifice should not be alien to those who want to please God and live godly on earth.
It is therefore my choice and good pleasure to live godly life and serve my people in line with the way of the cross. The bible says in 2Samuel 23: 1-3: “For he who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.”
What are the major challenges confronting Nkporo people?
One major problem affecting Nkporo today is the absence of a good road. Nkporo is an agrarian community that produces food, but our harvests get wasted because there is no road to transport our produce to cities and other markets for sale to make money. In essence, not having a motorable all-season road is a major challenge in Nkporo. I want to appeal to the federal, state and local governments to come to our help. While waiting for the government, all Nkporo people in the Diaspora should come together to see what we can do to solve our major problem which has existed for decades. My God will bless all of them in Jesus name. Amen.