Late Bishop Jacob B. Udobang was a devout Christian, born into the humble Christian family of late Mr. and Mrs. Brown Udobang in the oil-rich community of Ikot Ekpang, Odoro Ikot Clan in Ikpa Ibom Ward 3, Mkpat Enin Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
From the records, he was predestined to be a prophet few years after growing up as a child, replete with outstanding and uncommon traits even at his early school days. He was always sickly particularly during Examination periods, yet always emerging the best among his contemporaries in academic activities. While narrating the life history of this Great man from the little despised village of Ikot Ekpang, one of his contemporaries and age mate Eld Okon Worrey said Jacob never really used to attend classes because of his sickly nature, but during exams, he always led the class. Bishop Udobang himself said, ‘the exam questions were usually shown to him in the dreams; and that was why he always led in class/ academic activities. This was partly due to his early engagement in his prophetic assignment on earth and divine guidance and direction. Bishop Udobang’s motto in life was ‘Christ is my POWER! One with God is a majority.’
He co-founded House of Prayer for all Nations with his beloved mother, whom he joined as a saint on 15th October, 2014. Many miracles were wrought in the hands of the duo! Story has it that, in one of his prophetic exploits, he went into the evil forest in the village called ‘akai’ for three days and nights dislodging and turning the whole forest upside down. He used to physically ‘catch’ witches and wizards, reason he was usually revered and feared in the entire community. In another of his spiritual exploits, he rescued a man whose spirit was held in strong captivity by the forces of darkness. The story of over five decades is still fresh and told in Ikot Ekpang till date.
‘World Pope’ as he was fondly called by his contemporaries had a vision where he was commanded to hand over his ministry to Bishop John Etefia, Late President and Founder of Mount Zion Light House Full Gospel Church Inc. In 1966, without hesitation and in total obedience to God’s voice like Abraham, he joined Mt Zion Church as Pastor and his first station was Mt Zion (L.F.G.) Church Ukpana Assembly in what is today Onna L.G.A, Akwa Ibom State. From Ukpana, he traversed the length and breadth of Nigeria, planting churches, winning souls for Christ and performing signs and wonders in fulfillment of Jesus Christ’s promise to the believers. During the civil war, from 1966 to 1969, he was posted to Kano State wherein he established Sabon Gari Assembly. He narrowly escaped death during the civil war on several occasion by simple obedience to the voice of God.
In recognition of his outstanding performance and popularity, he was elected trustee of the church in 1992 along side Late Bishop Hogan(who was an Elder in his Assembly), Bishop N.D Ayakndue, the current Vice President of Mount Zion Church Inc, and later in the same year, became a full Bishop. It took him 25 years to be made a bishop of the church (1966-1992) unlike what obtains today, where you can be made a bishop within 5 years depending on your capacity to lobby for it!.He was a man of trust. He was forth-right, outright, out spoken, fearless, but very respectful, radical and a reformer. This explains why he was mostly misunderstood, abused and cheated out when the occasion demanded.
In 1992, he challenged the introduction of strange doctrines in the church with Lets Return to Bethel Message which was principally about going back to the founding fathers’ doctrines of the church. This was considered an affront to constituted authority, and he was ex- communicated from the Church. He was very intelligent, brilliant, exposed and believed in justice and upholding the tenets of the church. He engaged the services of the living colossus and legal giant, Chief Afe Babalola SAN to challenge his so called ex-communication at the Federal High Court, Ibadan, Oyo State in 1993. He was the Superintendent of Ibadan Diocese between 1989 – 2009. He always won his battles both spiritual and terrestrial.
Unfortunately, Bishop Akpabio died in the course of the matter and the matter was finally resolved amicably under the presidency of Bishop Paul Augustine. He was re-instated as trustee and bishop of the church dating back to 1992 with his full entitlements and rights. However, instead of pursuing his financial entitlements, he rather gave his entitlements back to the church as he was always content with the little he had. While trying to settle down to assume his duties in the church, another blunder and constitutional breach was orchestrated by the authority of the church and this led to another court matter at the Federal High Court, Calabar.
He won the matter again, and after series of meetings, he was appointed Vice President of Mount Zion (LFG) church, the position he held until he took his final bow to join his Master and Creator which is the end of every man. Many years before he passed on, he consistently admonished and enjoined Zion to come back together as one and withdraw all the matters from court, from the Federal High Court to the matter at the Supreme Court where he and Bishop Ayakunde are represented by Chief Fagbemi SAN.
He single handedly brought the only modern market built by the European Union in Ikot Ekpang and in collaboration with others championed the NDDC road project. He regularly engaged in community services and assisted several sons and daughters of his community to be gainfully employed in the ministry, to mention a few. He has ‘given birth’ to many spiritual sons and daughters in the ministry. We will also miss his monthly publication and messages for Christians in particular and our nation Nigeria in general.
As we remember a man with the great God today, we can only sustain his good and godly virtues by emulating his character. He has indeed left behind a good name which shall always be in the chronicles of Mount Zion LFG Church in particular and Nigeria in general.
He will always be remembered by his immediate family members including his dear and loving wife Snr. Deac. Martha Jacob Udobang both home and abroad. He was the adopted spiritual son of late Bishop Etefia. He was loyal to Jesus Christ and Bishop John Etefia, God’s prophet till death. His case was like Elijah and Elisha in the holy Bible. In spite of all the challenges he faced by his immediate environment in the ministry, he refused to break-away from the church, he would always re-echo the vow he made to God to be loyal and faithful to Jesus Christ and spiritual father Bishop John Etefia. He was indeed faithful till death. Now that he has joined the other saints, martyrs and Bishop John Etefia; we can boldly say thank you for you came, you saw and conquered.
He received several awards to wit: Peace Maker, National Association of Akwa Ibom State Students (NAAKISS) University of Ibadan Chapter, Patron of NAAKISS, U.I., Patron Akwa Esop Akwa Ibom, Ibadan, Oyo State, Grand Patron, Christian Association of Nigeria, Ibadan, to mention a few.
Rest in peace until we meet to part no more:
Jacob Brown Udobang Esq. is a private legal practitioner, consultant, Peace Ambassador and Human Rights Activist based in Abuja.