|Rev Fr Prof Philip Ogbonna: Man of the moment at Imo |
PORTRAIT OF AN ACHIEVER, ICON & MENTOR
SECTION A: FIGHT TO REDEEM CULTISTS
Profiling a man like Prof Fr Philip Ogbonna is a difficult task for anyone living.
Perhaps Shakespeare fore saw him before writing that,
“there is no art by which the heart can be read from the face”
So from a distance he appears to a stranger as tough, unsmiling, unfriendly, uncaring, intimidating and unapproachable. But nothing could be further from the truth. And I really don’t know were to begin, It’s like the blind men that touched different part of an elephant and each of them had a different tale when they were asked to describe an elephant. I would speak on the area I touched him.
One striking thing about him is that he is an achiever, icon mentor and great leader.
“An army of sheep led by a lion will always defeat an army of lion lead by a sheep “Dr Myles Munroe
Rev Fr Prof Philip Ogbonna as a mentor; we fought the war against cultisim together at IMSU. I enjoyed the great mentoring relationship between him as an experienced person.
As his protégé or mentee, I always sought advise and support from him. By the special grace of God, he lead an army of sheep (Christians) to defeat an army of lions (Cult boys). We fought and won the battle together.
When I look back, I can say he fought a good fight of faith.
Prof B.E.B classified mentoring into three different levels: traditional, transitional and transformational levels. It is interesting to know that the man Prof Fr Philip Ogbonna touched lived in all these 3 levels of mentoring. He would tell you “what” to do and show the “how” He is a coach, wise counselor and also a facilitator. Through his transformational mentoring, he brought about transformational changes in the lives of people who sought guidance and counsel from him.
HOW I MEET HIM
We came in contact with each other about 18 years ago; when we went to share visions and ideas with him SPECIFICALLY ON THE FIGHT AGAINST CULTIISM. Thereafter, following him closely has given me an insight into the life of one of the greatest achiever of our time. I am one of the few young men privileged to meet him and my life has been bettered by this singular encounter with him.
He has changed the life of several youths and anyone who came in contact with him must experience a significant turn-around, which I prefer to call “ TURNING POINT”
1. A point at which something changes direction
2. A point in time when a decisive change occurs
Our generation is indeed blessed with a great leader in him and in his presence cosmic existence. He leads by example and helps others to realize their potemtial in life.
|Ik Anyanwu, Prof BEB Nwoke, Rev Fr Prof Philip Ogbonna (with the microphone), Cookie & Prof Obasi -Ag VC Imsu|
While at IMSU, I looked up to two persons; Prof BEB NWoke our patron and Fr Philip Ogbonna. Because even when it was not a popular thing, they provided zealous young men like us the adequate platform to preach the gospel that helped in leading several people to Christ during our sojourn here. Fr Philip Ogbonna possessed spirit of boldness and courage that soon became infectious. Unlike most of my friends then, I was not a member of any cult group yet life offered me opportunity to be the leader of Thunderbolt and to accomplish the task before me, I needed a mentor -someone who would motivate and bring out the best in me when the mantle fell on me as the leader of Thunderbolt despite the fact that I had never ‘belonged’. Yet I was chosen to lead people who were very much ahead of me.
Back then, I had little or no experience and needed a strong backing. This is an organization made up of 95% repented ex-cult members. Thunderbolt was an organization made up of 95% repented cultisit. started by Dr. Elvis Enyioko way back then at Abia State Univerity, Uturu and later spread to other institutions of higher learning.
We went from ABSU to Imsu, University of Uyo, University of Calabar, Alvan, Fed Poly Nekede, Uniport, Univeristy of Science and Technology, UNN, Fed Poly Uwana, Umudike to mention but a few with the vision of reaching out to cult members with the gospel.
From the inception, I had made the decision of where to align myself and shared vision of reaching out to cult members with Rev Fr Philip Ogbonna. He bought into the vision whole heartedly and became one of our resource persons. He wholeheartedly endorsed the vision and became one of our resource persons. He oftern gave me opportunit to address the congregation at the Imsu auditorium.
“the Lord spoke and great was the company that published it”
He was not the first person nor the only person God gave the vision to reach to cult boys but the speed with which he bought into the work and the level he took the work amazed me. Initially, many people were afraid of our (Thunderbolt) associating with him thinking he had an ulterior motive for associating with us but soon we discovered he was a like mind. He played his part in the work with great speed because the “kings work requires haste”
We “counted ourselves worthless to save the lost” and had a different approach/strategy on fighting campus cult. Making it clear that the fight against cultism was a spiritual one and can not be fought with a canal weapon. Our spiritual approach includes: prayers, evangelism, anti cult crusades were repented cult members openly shared their testimonies after which we held expository talks on cultism, drama etc
We took this expository gospel to initiation grounds and passionately pleaded to our fellow students to give their lives to Christ. What is the origin of campus cult? The good intentions which began as a pressure group to fight on ills on campus by Prof Wole Soyinka was hijacked by evil forces and soon the fight for dominance on campus lead to proliferation of various groups and clashes for dominance where lives were lost, maimed etc. Most people who were involved never knew that these groups had various gods they served and were initiated through blood covenant after taking of oaths at various shrines. Little did they known that “Odin” “Korofo” and “dunca brown” gods could not save only Jesus can save. That was our message.
We took this expository gospel to initiation grounds and passionately pleaded to our fellow student to give their lives to Christ. We had nothing to do with unfruitful works of darkness but rather exposed them, their secret signs, way of greeting, mode of dressing were openly exposed by Thunderbolt
Then President Olusegun Obasanjo declared war on Cultism and subventions were released to Schools to wage war on cultism because it had became “A SCROOGE OF OUR TIME” hence a lot of people became interested all of a sudden but I use this opportunity to say that none of them had the passion, compassion for the lost soul nor really understood how to take care of these one as Prof Fr Ogbonna. Some entered into it for personal aggrandizement and for the material things and soon abandoned the cause when the battle became fierce but Fr. Phillip was ever there with a different motive. Their existed between him and the repented cult members a mentor – mentee relationship.
This helped most of young men who came around him to maximize and fulfill their potentials.
It’s important to note that lots of people created in God’s image and likeness has sank below level of honour and dignity. Becoming far from what God has destined and programmed for their lives. The armed robbers, drug barons, prostitutes, 419 ners, cult boyz he often asked “were do they come from?” They actually had fathers, mothers, uncles, aunties and other relationships, yet no one to be accountable to.
Believe me, my coming in contact with him became a decisive point in my life, I was inspired by him not only to fight cultism but to establish a church on campus so that these one will be properly disciple afterwards.
It wasn’t an easy time combining my academics, anti cult organization group (thunderbolt) I was heading and starting Living Word Campus Church IMSU but Fr Philip was their to provide a sense of direction and guidance as a mentor. Thereby making all the above possible.
This is a profile on Fr Philip as he walked in obedience to what God has put in his heart and he did so without thinking of dangers, he risked his own life to be part of that revolution. What endeared him to me as a Transformational mentor are as follows;
He was always interested in and willing to help others in a practical way.
He had a positive formal and informal experiences and is always positive. He saw the raw talents , in most of these boys and spoke into their lives until their was a turn around.
He had time and mental energy to develop relationships
He has maintained current, up-t0-date technological knowledge
He demonstrated effective coaching, counseling, facilitating and networking skills
He is a good listener
Gave constructive feedback
Promoted protégé creativity and skill development
Helped all his protégés to develop goals, access resources and built professional network.
Another, striking thing about him is that you really had to stay close to tap from him. With a man like him, our youths can actually have someone to look up to in order to be properly groomed.
It is important to note here that my mentor has restored moral values and integrity.
He supported us in the fight against cult from inception in 1998 till when we left the institution in 2002 and continued.
On behalf of my wife, Mrs. Carol Odinakachi Anyanwu, our children and entire Anyanwu’s family of Umuokeh Obowu, I send my warmest greetings to Rev Fr Phili Ogbonna on the occasion of his 6OTH BIRTHDAY .