One of the most beautiful characteristics of the Christian religion is its prophetic nature (ability to ‘see’ tomorrow through the written WORD). For this and many other reasons, it is also known as the religion of confession or profession. Confession is from the Greek word, Homologia which means saying the same thing with God in consent.
In the time past, especially before the coming of Christ to the world in human flesh, the opinion of Prophets were sought in order to understand the mind of God concerning any issue. God also expected His prophets like Ezekiel to use prophecy to solve critical problems. When he found himself in the valley of dry bones, God asked him to prophecy to the bones for them to come alive again. He did. And the bones indeed came back to life.
However, with the coming of Jesus Christ, His Ascension into heaven and the arrival of ‘another comforter’ (which in Greek is translated “Allos Parracletos” – one of the same kind)’, the Holy Spirit, God manifested Himself into TRINITY- God the father, God the son and God the Holy Spirit. While Christ is presently sitting at the right hand side of God in Heaven, the Holy Spirit dwells in the heart of every believer and thereby helps to guide their thoughts, spoken words and actions.
Though, prophecy generally means the vocalization of the thoughts of God concerning someone either by himself or by another person, especially of a higher Spiritual calling, it can also come by man’s confession concerning a matter. When man holds on to such confession for some time, it becomes so potent that it just has to come to past. And confession does not have to be positive or negative for it to manifest so long as it proceeds from the mouth of a Holy-Spirit filled believer.
In 1952, perhaps through the prompting of the Holy Ghost, one of such confessional prophecies was pronounced on Owa-Alero. It proceeded from the mouth of God’s servant, Bishop C. J Paterson. He was the Anglican Bishop of Niger Diocese Onitsha. Paterson was then the head of the Church in the province of Niger, including what is today known as Ika land. It was on the occasion of the commissioning of the newly built St. Michael’s Anglican Church in the town which had a population of less than one thousand two hundred persons. In the course of the commissioning, the man of God refered to the village as ‘Alero London’.
Also around this period, some people began to refer to the village as ‘Alero Obodo-uku’ (Alero, the great community) for some undisclosed reasons till this day. From thence, both indigenes and non indigenes alike began confessing these as the slogan of Owa-Alero as occasion warranted.
On the nineteenth day of November, 2018, what appeared as a fulfillment of the two prophecies concerning Alero took place. The former president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo visited the now modernized town. He came like C.J Paterson. But this time with a mission to commission one of the Landmark projects executed by Governor Okowa of Delta State – the dual carriage way Owa-Ekei/Owa-Alero road (now known as Senator Ifeanyi Okowa Road.
The present Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Bishop Nicholas Okoh started his Christian expedition from St. Michael’s Anglican Church Owa-Alero where Paterson made his pronouncement on Alero. He is an indigene of the town too.
Despite the beauty of the Anglican Church at Owa-Alero, serving God in those days remained a practice only for those who were really convinced and determined to do so. In the early 1960’s, men like F. O. Ulakpa (a DSIET commissioner in Delta state), C. A. Omilo (a Lagos-based business mogul), Nicholas Okoh (the Primate of Church of Nigeria, Anglican communion), Justice D. R. O. Nwatukele (Rtd) and many others had to travel from the village to Ute-okpu on foot for baptismal and confirmation purposes.
In a chat with a few friends during the recent road commissioning at Alero, an indigene of the place who became a professor of economics at 39, Professor Eric Eboh joyfully remarked, “ I remember during our days as a student at Ika grammar school in the late 70’s, those of us who were of Alero extraction were largely seen as bush boys”. Many people prayed for Senator Okowa to be re-elected for a second term in office so that God can further use him to transform the entire Ika nation.
With the spate of transformation that Alero has witnessed since the last two decades of the 20th century, the warriors from there who participated in the bloody ‘Iredi’ war 1906 against the British oppressors of the 19th century are not likely to locate the town if given opportunities to visit from their graves
Meanwhile, the Owa-Alero experience has brought to the fore the fact that the power of life and death are in the tongue as recorded in the scriptures. This is why a recent music released by a group of Ika sons and daughters must remain in the heart and lips of all Ikas. According to the song, “ali Ika wu ali oma” (Ika land is blessed).
Indeed, one cannot but agree that ali Ika wu ali oma, given the array of great achievers she parades. These include a former deputy Inspector-General of police, Donald Ugbaja (late), a former commander of Nigerian Army’s operation Lafia Dole, General Irabor, the founder and Executive Chairman of Zenith bank plc, Mr. Jim Ovia, the Primate of Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Bishop Nick Okoh, the President of Newspapers Proprietors of Nigeria and Publisher of ThisDay Newspapers, Prince Nduka Obaigbena, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, an Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Igbodo and of course the present governor of Delta State, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa among several others.