The Curse of Uma Ukpai
We in the Akwa Ibom State are under a heavy yoke and have borne if for close to thirty years now. This yoke is a dead weight on us. We heave and sweat and groan beneath its merciless exactions. The yoke, we are told is due to ancestral curse.
This is the explanation given to us by the Reverend Dr. Uma Ukpai, an Igboman who has made good in Ibibio land. Immediately you have a mental reservation about the veracity of his diagnosis “Why should it be an Igboman to tell the ancestral reason for our problems? Is it because there are no false prophets in Ibibioland?” The second reservation is that his diagnoses is not empirical. It cannot be demonstrated or proven. Put these two reservations together – one mental the other empirical – and you see why you cannot believe Uma Ukpai. We cannot in this day and age continue to rely on mysticism to solve our problems. Especially health problems and here I should observe that Uma Ukpai has built a modern hospital in his native Igboland from the money he collects from his Church in Ibibioland.
To return to his curses, who cursed us and for what offence he hasn’t said. You do not have a job? Oh it is due to ancestral curse. Your ancestors committed a crime at the beginning of time, all you need to do to do to have a job is to come to me and I will give you rest. I will do something new in your life. Your years of joblessness will be a thing of the past. Behold I will do a new thing. I will lift you up from the bottomless pit in which there is no water. I will remove the yoke from off your neck by reason of anointing. All you have to do is to keep coming, to surrender totally to the anointing. It won’t be easy. I must warn you. The curse is in layers, it has to be peeled off one after another; it will take time and, my child, it will cost you money.
But with it, all things are possible. What the Reverend will not tell his hapless victim is that perhaps he has not got the requisite qualification for a job: rather he will tell him that if he is not qualified, it’s because the ancestral spirits do not allow him to bend down and read. More money therefore to exorcise those foul spirits. The result? Uma Ukpai who came to Akwa Ibom as a pauper is now living in opulence in Ewet Housing, with a fleet of vehicles and luxury four wheelers.
Actually the phenomenon in Akwa Ibom State is that the “men of God” here are fabulously wealthy and the wealth is all the more repugnant in the context of the general poverty of their flock and the more painful because these charlatans are nearly always non indigenes who came here as paupers. Before long these flamboyant religious DJs and their buxom wives amass wealth, go into real estate, and now own choice lands in this State. These people are business men who came here to make money.
By contrast, their exploited flock are poor and getting poorer by the day. If you see a wealthy member in their congregation, know that that member had been wealthy before he joined, or rather was lured into that Church to fund the extravagant life style of the “Men of God”. What you will never see is a poor member who became wealthy after he joined the church. I challenged a member friend of one such church that if he could show me one person who bought a bicycle after he joined their Church, I would show him 20 “anointed” men who had no bicycles when they started but who are now driving limousines and living in opulence.
Our revered Uma Ukpai has been breaking curses in Akwa Ibom for close to 30 years. And yet he is still breaking them.
Does it mean that these curses will never come to an end? Are his curses hydra-headed, so that when he breaks one, two more spring up in its place? Just this January there are his usual creaming banners proclaiming his mission to break curses for 2018*. That means Uma Ukpai will never leave Akwa Ibom State because his curses will never come to an end. But why are these soothsayers all descending on Akwa Ibom State? Does it mean that it is the most sinful State in the Federation? By no means is it just that it is the most gullible. If it comes to sin, it is in Uma Ukpai’s Igboland that they sin the most.
Here’s a place where every little dispute, especially family dispute, is settled in a juju shrine. It is here that curses lie thick and fast. Here nobody dies a natural death: every death has to be investigated traditionally. In his land, every shopkeeper performs traditional rites usually involving blood sacrifice before starting business. You will probably not believe the kind of sordid rituals the rich Igbo people perform because such rituals defy belief.
As for another curse breaker, the Reverend Abel Damina, there are as I’m writing, hundreds of thousands in his native land who have never been to Church. Who are still practicing traditional religion. Not that there is anything the matter with that after all, these “heathens” are morally superior to the so-called Christians – but that Damina and co should start their evangelism from their own lands. They will have their hands full over there. They should go cast their nets in their heathen seas instead of coming here to catch dry fish. They should stop drumming the fear of witchcraft into us but, should rather liberate their demon blighted lands from witchcraft and superstition.
I know why they find a fertile ground for charlatanism in Akwa Ibom State.
• Poor medical services. If we were not so poor, if medical services were not even poorer, a lot of these ills that Uma Ukpai attributes to “ancestral curses” would have since been overcome. And these poor and gullible people even spend more on these religious felons than they do on doctors. Find out how much “assignments” cost! Nobody knows how many people might have died because they believed Uma Ukpai instead of seeking medical help?
• Money. It is only available at the top. Godswill Akpabio acknowledged that his “Victory” at the April 2011 polls was due to the prayers of the Churches. These churchmen love to pray for rich clients like Akpabio who is always so liberal when it comes to doling out the state’s money to non indigenes but so parsimonious, so stingy, so very mean when it comes to his own people. You can be sure that Uma Ukpai and Damina were some of the prayer warriors for Akpabio. Do you notice that Uma Ukpai has never preached righteousness or honesty or all those virtues that St. Paul enumerates in Philippians 4vs8? Instead it is witchcraft, ancestral curses, miracles, money and instant prosperity.
These new, fangled “men of God” are self promoters, themselves and their full bosomed wives. You see their immodest pictures everywhere on loud, garish and environmentally unfriendly bill boards. See them on television and see impresarios, disc jockeys, and masters of ceremonies. But not Pastors, not men of God. Those of us who are old enough have seen true men of God who had toiled in God’s vineyard without any material benefits, without jeeps, without palatial mansions, without their pictures anywhere, not even in their Church premises (except when they are dead) and what did they get? Nothing materially. It’s to be hoped, as St. Paul says, that God, the righteous judge will give them a crown of righteousness.
The nefarious effect of Uma Ukpai’s ancestral curse is that it pitches children against parents, sows suspicion and discord within the family. To the extent that some children disown parents. The rich children are the prime targets of these soothsayers. They tell them that their parents practice witchcraft and are after their lives and prosperity, that unless they seek refuge in their Churches they would crash.
The children therefore run to them for refuge and what material assistance they should render their parents they give to the “pastors”. These “pastors” may do well to remember that the Lord Jesus Christ cursed the Church leaders of His time for making children give to them what they should give to their parents because the Jewish concept of Honour your Father and Mother extends to giving them material assistance when they are in need. Any preacher that makes children not to honour their parents within the meaning of the scripture attracts a curse from God.
I wish that the simple and gullible people of this State should start liberating themselves by first liberating their minds. I pray that true men of God should seek His face so that He may remove one heavy curse from Akwa Ibom State.
That curse is the Reverend Dr. Uma Ukpai.
BY Thomas Thomas