“You people need to know you don’t mess around with a child of God.”
I had been a Research Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs for over ten years when, out of the blue, the Director-General wrote me a letter stating that, as a result of some bogus reorganisation process, I had been prematurely retired at the age of forty-two.
I took the matter to God in prayer and presented the letter to him. I told him the Director-General could only have had the audacity to take such action out of confidence that I have no godfather in the Abacha administration. But I did not need to know any man. All I needed was to know God. So I asked God to answer the letter, so that my enemies in the Institute would know that I know him.
The Lord answered me with a scripture which I now regard as a covenant. Whenever you see it in the bible, don’t read it, because it now belongs exclusively to me. It says: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isa 41:10).
Guess what happened? The very next day Lateef Aminu, a colleague of mine, told me he had reported my case to someone in the Presidency. He put me on the phone to an official in Aso Rock who asked me to come to Abuja the next day. Suddenly, I discovered that knowing God was enough to get me invited to the office of the Head of State. So I bought a ticket and flew from Lagos to Abuja.
When I arrived there, I saw the aide-de-camp of one high-ranking naval officer who then took me to see his boss. After I gave him the details of my premature retirement, he said to me: “This is what we are going to do. By tomorrow, a circular will be sent from the Chief of General Staff to your Director-General, asking him to write you officially within twenty-four hours withdrawing your letter of retirement and reinstating you to your former position. Thereafter, we shall decide what to do with your boss.”
Let me make a confession here. I was not humble in victory. I went back to the Institute and reported the incident to every one who would listen. “You people need to know you don’t mess around with a child of God,” I boasted foolishly.
The letter from the Presidency came as promised and the Director-General wrote me immediately reinstating me. But I was not satisfied. I reminded the Lord that the naval officer who spoke on his behalf said: “Thereafter, we shall decide what to do with your boss.” I wanted to know exactly what would happen to the Director-General. Then the Lord told me he would be unceremoniously dismissed from office on Tuesday through an announcement on the nine o’clock news of the Nigerian Television Authority.
I became foolishly bullish again. I told everyone at work that the Director-General would be removed the next Tuesday. “This advance notice is not coming through Aso Rock (the Presidency),” I declared. “It is coming directly from the Lord God Almighty.” Then I decided to go a step further and confront the Director-General in person with the news that my God would remove him through a television announcement on Tuesday night.
My colleagues tried to dissuade me from doing this, but I refused to listen. Then some people I held in great respect came to see me. One of them was Yetunde Ogunseye, now Managing-Director, Associated Discount House, Lagos. She advised me that under no circumstances should I confront the Director-General with the prophecy since the Lord did not instruct me to do so. Therefore, I decided not to say anything but to wait for the announcement on Tuesday night.
That night, I watched the news from beginning to end. There was no announcement whatsoever about the Director-General. The next morning, a colleague of mine, Margaret Vogt, came to see me at home before going to the office. She said: “I have just come to pray with you.” I understood her. Something had gone disastrously wrong. I had gone out on a limb with a prophecy and been put to shame. I swallowed my pride and spoke no more about it.
Some four years later, Yetunde Ogunseye came to see me. I was no longer working at the Institute but was now a full-time preacher of the gospel. “Did you watch the nine o’clock network news on Tuesday night?” she asked. I did not and wondered why she asked. Then she said: “George Obiozor, the Director-General of your former office, was dismissed through a television announcement.”