By Saviour Ekpe
The Apostolic Church Nigeria, Ndot Area, Ikot Ekpene Field under Akwa Ibom State Territory is known as Major Centre comprising Abak, Ukanafun, Oruk Anam, Etim Ekpo and Ika LGAs. It is the first Apostolic Church to have been established in the entire former Abak Division (Abak 5). Subsequent Apostolic Church establishments within former Abak Division took their roots from Ndot Area. The Area has grown in leaps and bounds and today has brought unspeakable joy to members, residents and indeed, the entire Christians of the area. Their joy would be full on the 12th day of May, 2019 as the master piece building would formally be dedicated for use, which the people of God have risen in one mind to complete under the super watchful eyes of Apostle EtopAbasi Akpan, the Area Superintendent overseen by Apostle Dr. A. O. Udoiyak, the Field Superintendent.
Information gathered by Century Newsfront indicates that the Church was established in 1934 through the instrumentality of David Tom Umoh, an indigene of the area who appreciated the teachings of the church in Obot Idim Nsit, which he first attended and later, in company of other devotees that loved the teaching of the church, planned and executed a-3-day gospel crusade and subsequently established a Prayer House in a parcel of land donated to the church by the village council as a result of the impact created in the community. The prayer House, which metamorphosed into an assembly in 1936, district in 1940, group in 1968 and Area in 1983.
Thirty years ago, precisely 1989, architectural design was made free by late Elder Udom Essien Etok while foundation for the Area Temple building was laid through the instrumentality of Pastor U. N. Ebitu, the then Area Superintendent. The Area Temple building has over the decades, witnessed different building stages under the leadership of different pastors that built up to the roofing stage, decking, design of the frontage of the building and the building of the Area Manse (Pastor’s residence).
The building according to members of the church who spoke variously to Century Newsfront was abandoned for years, brought ridicule to the name of the Lord and became a laughing stock by passersby who variously nicknamed it as ‘pick up’, ‘asak abeke’. Moved by these challenges, the Field Superintendent, Apostle Dr. A. O. Udoiyak took over in 2016, the direct supervision of the building, promising the people that it will be completed in no distant time. Given the exigency of his duty, Apostle Dr. A. O. Udoiyak appointed Apostle EtopAbasi Akpan, the present Area Superintendent whom members of the church as loyal, faithful, vibrant, dedicated, transparent, honest, committed and always cheerful man of God. An Area Superintendent of the area who swung into action of rebuilding the Area Temple, “Apostle EtopAbasi Akpan, apart from the day to day supervision of the work done in the Area Temple, ensure that every kobo meant for the Area Temple building did not divert for any other purpose”.
Speaking to Century Newsfront on his motivation and inspiration for the completion of the Area Temple, which was abandoned as a result of paucity of funds, Apostle EtopAbasi Akpan, the Area Superintendent who was visibly filled with joy and gratitude to God maintained, “building of a befitting place of worship for God, apart from being a gift from God, our God is an awesome God, I see it as an honour to the Almighty and as a way of appreciating God of His benevolence and love for humanity by giving His only begotten son to die on our behalf, to me, it is the greatest gift that has to be reciprocated in any way we can. So I am inspired by the love of God to us. Aside this, I like something that is permanent I think it is what God has called me and made me for that is why any where I am posted to, I embark on permanent structures that will stand the test of time”.
On financing of the building, Apostle EtopAbasi Akpan noted that the completion of the building finance was locally sourced by members of the church, “in our church, we don’t go outside to source for money from politicians. What you see here is 100 per cent sourced from members of the church and if you see how the people willingly gave for the work, because they have seen where and how their money was injected into the project and the gave happily and cheerfully”.
Speaking on the dedication of the Area Temple building, Apostle EtopAbasi Akpan explained that it will be a threefold event namely, the dedication of the building proper; the dedication of the Area and the Area Convention, which according to him commences from Thursday May 9 to Sunday May 12, 2019. He attributed all glory to God who has given him the grace to complete the project that lasted for about two years.
Commenting, Pastor Emmanuel Eduongo, the Director of Media and Public Affairs Department in Uyo Field of the Apostolic Church once said, “when I visited Apostle E. O. Akpan’s station at Ndot, it was then that I understood why he is driving the kind of car he uses till today. He is a man of God indeed, selfless, dedicated and committed to the work of God.”
It is worthy of note that the Ndot Area despite it challenges has birthed five other areas namely: Ikot Akpaidem, Abak, Ikot Okoro, Ikot Oku Ikono (in Uyo), Ukpum Abak with about 30 Pastors and Superintendents who oversaw the work such as Pastors: Dickson Ufot, E. N. O. Ene, D. E. U. Ikon, B. O. Umoh, B. U. Inyang, Ikpe, O. A. Essien, S. P. Ekeruke, Owen, A. D. U. Eduak, and E. O. Ekpenyong. Others were Pastors Inwang, B. O. Ita, E. Akpan, M. A. Udo, E. A. Udofia, A. P. Williams, U. N. Ebitu, E. I. Eshiet, O. U. Afia, R. U. Ekanem, S. P. Umoh, T. M. U. Isawere, E. O. Ekpo, J. I. Udo, J. A. Otong, E. O. Solomon, E. U. Etang and Pastor E. O. Akpan.