A Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant in Akwa Ibom State has said he would bring “glory” and sustainable prosperity to the state if elected governor in 2023.
Mr Okpon, a pastor with Paul Adefarasin’s House on the Rock, said he was among the intercessors who prayed for the “restoration” of Lagos from a city filled with dirt and broken roads to one beautified with flowers, colours, orderliness, and prosperity.
He said he is in the Akwa Ibom governorship race, under God’s instruction, to bring hope and real development to the residents.
“In Ojuelegba, there were refuse up to the sky. All of the roads were broken. Ikorodu Road was nothing to go by. All of the roads in the whole of Isale Eko, and even Awolowo Road, were broken – there were potholes. Businesses of Nigerians were being swallowed up by businesses of foreigners,” he said.
“In those days, all the roundabouts in Lagos, especially Lagos city, madmen used to live. We prayed at Palmgrove, we prayed in Ojota, we prayed in Oshodi.
“And when God started answering those prayers, things started happening that we did not know was possible – that they would plant flowers in Oshodi and the flowers would stand till tomorrow morning.
“Spiritually, God changed the entire place. The first thing that started happening was that banks started taking over the maintenance and decoration of roundabouts. This is what we wanted, but we didn’t know how it would happen. We prayed and anointed those places, and we chased away the madmen.
“Before you knew it, somebody like (Governor Babatunde) Fashola came and transformed the whole of Lagos.”
Continuing, Mr Okpon said: “2006, God spoke to me and said you’ve kept other people’s vineyards. Now it’s time for you to go and keep your own.”
By that, he said, God wants him to provide political leadership in Akwa Ibom.
He said it is God, and not man, who would enthrone the next governor of Akwa Ibom.
He said people in Akwa Ibom have prayed over the years and the “spiritual foundation” in the state has been “excavated” for God to enthrone the “right” political leadership.
‘Why Africa is where it is’
A reporter told Mr Okpon that there are people who would likely see his comments as ridiculous.
“These things (the “spiritual battles”) in the land will disgrace your Harvard, Oxford, Yale degree. That thing does not respect degrees, it does not respect intellectual capacity,” he responded.
A reporter also asked him about China’s advancement and achievements despite not being a Christian state.
He responded by saying that the situation in every locality depends on the “call of God” for the people living in the locality.
“Africa is the only place that God has left to showcase His glory globally. Why? In other places, things are working. In America, the buses come on time, the telephone is one ring; they don’t need faith for anything.
“God kept Africa deliberately as the last place faith would be needed, where He would do things that everybody would know that He did it,” he said.
Mr Okpon intermittently quoted bible portions to back his comments.
On what has been his practical contribution to the people of Akwa Ibom, Mr Okpon said he once waved aside the mandatory registration of about N2 million at a petroleum depot for petroleum dealers in Akwa Ibom to register and lift petroleum products in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, when he was overseeing the facility.
He said he has also offered scholarships to several indigent Akwa Ibom students.
Mr Okpon was born in Kano. His father was in the Nigerian military, so he grew up in various army barracks across the country. He studied industrial design at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and later worked for a while in Italy before returning to Nigeria.
He joined politics in 2002 and contested the 2015 Akwa Ibom governorship election.
Akwa Ibom has a predominantly Christian population.
The Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel, said God revealed Umo Eno, a former commissioner in his cabinet, to him when he picked him as his preferred successor in the 2023 election.
Mr Okpon said if God revealed Mr Eno to Mr Emmanuel, he would surely “show up” for him (Eno).
Some prominent clerics, otherwise called “fathers of faith”, in the state have constituted themselves into a power bloc, and have endorsed the governor’s man, Mr Eno.
Mr Okpon was asked if he had the backing of the “fathers of faith” in the state.
“They are church people, I am an intercessor. We are different,” he responded.