Bishop Nuel Ikeakanam, returned this past week, to his home in the United States, just in time to celebrate Father’s Day, 2015. This makes me wonder ‘what kind’ of ‘Father’s Day’ Nuel Ikeakanam celebrated this year, June 21, 2015 – five weeks after knowingly celebrating and jubilating his 65th birthday on the same day of the death and burial of his firstborn and first son Chiedu Efe Ikeakanam.
I wonder, have the events of and his conduct during the past five weeks caused him to pause and reflect on what it truly means to be a father? Or has he persisted in the hardheartedness of over three decades and continues to be impervious to the ‘callings’ of a ‘father.’
I wonder just how the children of his second marriage celebrated Father’s Day, 2015 with him even while they are all glaringly aware of the conduct of their father towards their first set of siblings – and it all makes me shudder!!! I feel a chill in my bones that makes me shudder as I realize that by Nuel Ikeakanam’s continued atrocious behaviors towards his first set of children, he has just set up ‘all’ his children for failure.
Failure for the first set, because he failed to ‘be’ a father to them, and failure for the second set because he’s blatantly setting a ‘bad’ example before them.
Having a father means many things, but primarily, it means you belong to someone who participated in your creation and or someone who participates in your existence- someone who calls you ‘his’ own. And that makes a lot of difference.
In Luke 11, when Christ revealed God as ‘Father’ to the world, He did it in the most basic and easy to understand way of all. In Luke 11:5, He showed God, the Father, as a friend that supports you even when it’s not convenient for him. He supports you, not because it’s convenient for him, but because of your ‘need’ of him.
And so I wonder, how Bishop Nuel Ikeakanam showed himself a ‘father’ to his first three children. How did and has he reacted to their ‘need’ of him throughout their entire existence? Tony “Nuel” Ikeakanam left a hot blazing trail that’s the opposite of ‘friend.’ Even up to the death of his firstborn and first son, he’s constantly ignored the biblical revelation of what it means to be a father, to instead choose the ‘convenient’ way of serving his own purposes.
My heart bursts with pain at the memory of sitting across the (then) Rev./Pastor Tony Nuel’s desk and hearing him tell me in a stone-faced manner, he would not ‘help’ his young, distressed, then teenage son, Efe Chiedu, who just died. The pain and shock I felt at that encounter almost twenty years ago, is nothing compared to the pain and shock of witnessing his most recent, unrepentant, callous behavior in the face of the death of that same young man, who was his son and to whom he failed to be a ‘father.’
In Luke 11:9-11, Jesus, the Christ, our Savior and Friend and to whom Nuel claims he belongs, taught us that being a father means responding to the needs of one’s children; helping them discover who they are; and helping to open doors of opportunity for them.
However, Tony “Nuel” Ikeakanam, while claiming to be a representative of the Christ who taught and revealed what it means to be ‘father,’ did none of these for his first set of children, even unto the recent death of his firstborn and first son.
I cannot find the words to describe Nuel’s utter wickedness, but yet I must try to put into words the horrific ‘gift’ of fatherhood he gave and still continues to give his first set of children.
Abandoned by their father before any of them turned five years old – the most critical period in any human being’s development – Bishop Tony “Nuel” Ikeakanam, allowed his first three children grow up and continue to exist as people who don’t belong.
His first three children have not only being allowed to grow up without a sense of ‘identity’ or a distorted sense of whatever identity they have, but Nuel, by his lack of repentance continues to deny them the love and friendship Christ showed parents owe their children.
I use the word ‘owe’ for two reasons:
- Children NEVER ASKED to be brought into this world. Rather, they are HERE BECAUSE OF THE ACTION OF SOMEONE, either mother and father or in some rare cases mother OR father. In the case of Nuel Ikeakanam’s three children, they ARE HERE BECAUSE OF NUEL AND ESE’S DECISION TO GET MARRIED. So why has Tony “Nuel” Ikeakanam absolved himself of any and every responsibility towards those children, glossing over his atrocious behavior all their lives by claiming “they are now grown” as his ‘get out of jail free card?’
- In Luke 11:11-13, Jesus, the Christ, whom Nuel Ikeakanam claims to represent, taught that the responsibilities of fatherhood are obligatory. Under no circumstances should a father ever negate his responsibilities towards his children.
(Please go here to read the biblical text Luke 11:1-13)
Scripture is so emphatic and non-compromising on the responsibilities of fatherhood, that it teaches in 1 Timothy 5:8 that,
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. NIV.
Yet Tony “Nuel” Ikeakanam, as far as his first set of children are concerned, has abjectly rejected this teaching both while he was an unbeliever and now that he is supposedly a Christian AND a “bishop,” but he still wants people to believe that he is a representative of the Gospel and of the Christ!!!
Parenthood (fatherhood and motherhood) means children belong to somebody.
I want to dwell a little bit on the word ‘belong.’
In another text, Jesus taught us what it means to belong, by exposing the quality of care we should expect to receive from him/her to whom we belong. So in Matthew 6:25-33, Christ teaches about the responsibility of the ‘father’ providing what it takes for his children to succeed. Hear the beauty of what it means to belong to someone as their ‘child’ as exposed by Jesus, the Christ, in verses 31-32 and pay particular attention to verse 32b,
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” (emphasis, mine).
According to Jesus, the father both knows and supplies what the children need to thrive and succeed!
It is not the children’s job to scavenger for survival, but rather through being cared and provided for by their father, they grow into and ‘take hold of’ what it takes to be successful.
Several times, I have come to appreciate the fatherhood of the LORD more as I saw reflections of it in my own care for my own child.
I see and appreciate God’s fatherly care for me in the way I wake up everyday before my child is up and put everything in place and arrange our schedules in such a way that allows my child to succeed at what she’s responsible for doing that day. I see God’s fatherly love and care in the way that I put thought into every little detail of her day, from the meals, to her readiness for school and play, rest and bodily hygiene, emotional and spiritual well-being, and all the myriad components that make up her daily existence.
I think about God’s love for my daughter reflected in the way I pay attention to her likes and dislikes; her gifts and abilities; her preferences; her strengths and weaknesses, so I can better know how to assist her become the person God has created her to be.
Through my response to what God the Father teaches about parental care, my child is learning what it means (and does not mean) to belong to and have a parent.
And so I ask, what does Nuel Ikeakanam’s response to the responsibility of parenthood and fatherhood teach ‘all’ his children about what it means to be a child as well as a parent??
As a pastor, one of the areas I have observed people struggle most, is accepting God as Father, because of the behaviors and attitudes of their own earthly fathers. Many have responded to the Gospel, until they heard God referred to as ‘Father.’ Then they recoiled.
I once counseled a 44-year old, educated, brilliant, and loving woman, who could not completely give in to believe that God loved and cared for her as Father, because of the abuse she’d suffered from her earthly father. Even after all this time and despite being a success in her own right, her earthly father’s abuse prevented her from freely opening up and letting God love her as ‘Father.’ How could she trust any ‘father’ when her own biological father had failed her so?
And so I wonder, what kind of ‘Father’s Day’ Tony “Nuel” Ikeakanam celebrated this past Sunday, even as he sat with the realization that he has failed ‘all’ his children, by failing to demonstrate to ‘all’ what it means to be a father from a Christian perspective?
I wonder what kind of ‘Father’s Day’ Tony “Nuel” Ikeakanam had knowing that he has presented a distorted view of God’s Fatherhood to ‘all’ his children?
I wonder what kind of ‘Father’s Day’ Tony Nuel Ikeakanam had, knowing that if left to his own actions alone, his children would have difficulty accepting one of the greatest gifts of the Gospel, that of believing and accepting God as Father.
No, Tony “Nuel” Ikeakanam, you cannot and never have a ‘happy’ Father’s Day. Not as long as you continue in your sin of misrepresenting the Gospel and the Fatherhood of God.
Yet, I am thankful that God redeems the Gospel message from the hands of sinful humans as we are. Hear how the Father of all fathers and from whom all fathers take their job description, redeemed the distorted Gospel “Bishop” Tony Nuel Ikeakanam presented to his firstborn and first son, Chiedu Efe Ikeakanam, whom he abandoned all his life and refused to ‘claim’ as a son, even in death!!
As he lay on his deathbed, Chiedu Efe Ikeakanam, who’d up until then had lost the ability to speak, suddenly regained the power of speech and said to his mother who had been at his sickbed and then later deathbed, “Mommy, I have seen it. I am not going to make it.” Confronted with such a statement about her son’s imminent mortality, Ese Jessie Ikeakanam, did what every godly parent should do up until the very last – she paved the way for her son to have the very best and succeed in eternity.
So quickly, she said to him “Efe, if you know you’re not going to make it, then you have to make things right with the LORD.” Chiedu Efe, answered, “Mommy, I already have.” Not willing to take the chance of her son missing out on the best gift of all, she responded “You have to do it again’ and to which Efe responded “Okay.”
So in that last minute of his life, Ese Jessie Ikeakanam, gave their firstborn son the best gift of all – something which with all his claims to Christianity and ‘bishoprick,’ Bishop Tony “Nuel” Ikeakanam, did not see fit to extend to or share with his first set of children – she led their firstborn and first son afresh to the best Father of all, the LORD.
Ese Jessie Ikeakanam, in that last minute of Chiedu Efe Ikeakanam’s life, led their son, Chiedu Efe Ikeakanam, in the sinner’s prayer, and as soon as they finished the prayer, Chiedu Efe Ikeakanam, breathe his last!!!
This is how the Original and Eternal Father, redeemed the distorted view of the Gospel “Bishop” Tony Nuel Ikeakanam had been preaching to and living before his children – by not rejecting Chiedu Efe Ikeakanam, whom He gave to Tony “Nuel” and Ese Ikeakanam, thirty-four years ago, as his own.
When Chiedu Efe, led by his mother, Ese Jessie Ikeakanam, went into his Eternal Father’s hands, he was welcomed and well-received. Not only was the mother witness to the instant, dramatic peace that engulfed her son’s previous tortured body and expression, but according to her plea to her both Efe’s and her Eternal Father, Chiedu Efe Ikeakanam was permitted to visit his sister and confirm his well-being in eternity.
So, Bishop Tony “Nuel” Ikeakanam, as you think of and celebrate Father’s Day, I pray you pause to give good thought to what Christ and the Scriptures teach about fatherhood. And if indeed you are truly a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as you say you are, I hope you take these words seriously to heart and make amends.
With the LORD, it is never too late to come back and say “I’m sorry” and repent (i.e., change out of our wicked ways). Jesus taught us that as a Father, God is constantly waiting and anxiously looking for our repentance and return to truth (Luke 15:11-24).
“For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name” (Ephesians 3:14).