Wonders have become a part of our existence, little wonder those who are in the know constantly drum it into our ears that “wonders shall (indeed) never end”. There is a further reason in the ancient city of Calabar to drive home this wisdom ‘screw’ without looking too far. Take away the semantics and please ask the average Calabar resident if he has ever seen a white Toyota Camry with two mounted speakers on the roof of the car, doing “two miles an hour” with the bold inscription, “Evangelistic Rescue Mission: Jesus Is The Answer“, on the side of the car. If the answer you get is a NO, chances are that the person you asked often looks without taking in details. But ask calitown.com and our answer will not be pedestrain, it will be a firm YES.
Welcome to the world of Evangelist Ekerete Akpan. His name rings no bell? Now, the man is dark in complexion, well built, in his 50s, and has lush grey hair. Akpan is purpose driven, rare, often the object of many mouth gaping encounters, neck turning experiences and heaved sighs.
Okay, wait for this, our man is a Sergent in the Nigeria Police. Of the 22 years he has spent in the Police, 19 of those years have been dedicated to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to all manner of men and women, on the streets of Calabar.
Akpan pastors no church but diligently sets up his band along strategic areas of the city to minister through songs and the Word. He does it with a vigour steeped in a conviction that is visible in the bold streaks of sweat that cascade down his face. His grip on the microphone is firm, even forceful, just like his agile struts as he prances around preaching and pointing you to the fact that the Word is war. “God used a muslim to bless me with this car”, he tells calitown.com, pointing to the car before us. “The man saw how I was working for God and he now gave me the car to enhance my work”, he added.
Before he gets too comfortable in our presence, we ask him straight up, “have you ever received a bribe as a policeman?”. He blinks, takes less than three visible seconds and tells us, “yes, in my early days as a policeman, I took bribes but when God called me he opened my eyes to the fact that it is a wrong thing to do”. We go ahead and ask him if his superiors approve of what he does and his answer is in the affirmative. He volunteers more information by telling calitown.com that, “I had one superior officer some time ago who insisted that I stop the propagation of the gospel and God just responded by transfering him knowing that my action has challenged and changed most policemen”. It is a statement that is not difficult to ascertain because as Akpan spoke with calitown.com, another policeman was theatrically holding forte with the Word and drawing a large crowd of people who were captivated by what he was doing or awed by the fact that a Nigerian policeman was ‘digging in’ for God.
“Any reason for preaching on the streets of Calabar in uniform?”, we ask. He astounds us by saying, “most of my colleagues wear their uniforms and go and drink, why then can I not wear my uniform and win people for God?”. We give him a breather as he walks across the road to where his band has been playing, gives them money to get more fuel for the generator and then crosses the road, back to where we have been talking. He settles back in quickly and we immediately want to know how he is able to strike a healthy balance between performing his duties as a cop and ministering on the streets of Calabar. “I am not a policeman all the day just like I do not minister all day, did the Bible not say there’s time for everything?”. ”If you are ministering and a signal comes in requesting you go to the office, what will you do?”, we seek an answer. Hear what we got, “give to Ceasar what belongs to Ceasar and to God what belongs to God, I will go to work and my band will play until I get back”.
A large crowd had now gathered waiting for Evangelist Ekerete Akpan who in turn told us it was time he went about ministering. As he walked to where his turbo-charged band was playing, this Osuk-Ediene native in Ikono LGA of Akwa Ibom State and father of five, is for sure a rare breed in an institution that constantly receive knocks for putting her foot in the wrong places, sometimes knowingly. We enjoy a few songs from Akpan’s band before we leave him.
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