Tribute to My Father-in-Law
(Pa Oliver Ntuen 1932-2018)
Many things can be said about you but your love for God will trump them all.
My first encounter with him was the year 2004, we went for introduction with my fiancée. I met this simple unassuming man in the ancient city of Yola, he was welcoming and calculative in his speech. True to it, I had nothing to offer them. I can’t remember buying any gift beyond the bottle of wine I presented (My fiancée funded it because I had no extra money after our transportation fare). I had my doubts about myself but never doubted God to make something out of me. My would-be in-laws received me gladly and treated me to sumptuous meals.
The only interview question they asked me was, “what do you hope to become in life.” To which I responded, “I will be a Pastor”. That seems satisfactory as one of their conditions for their daughter is for her to marry a man heading heavenward and willing to take her along.
Years would pass and we will be neighbours in Benin-city due to the several attacks of Boko Haram in the North East. I would soon become their pastor as we ran discipleship meetings in my house and they were glad to attend. We shared a lot of father-son moments together. He would tell me his heart and sometimes request that I pray for him. He would then proceed to kneel down, I will follow suit while praying. Pa Oliver dedicated our last born about seven (7) years ago.
When Dr Ayoola Arowolo found out that a group of fifty (50) young men under the Amnesty rehabilitation programme of the Federal Government were living in our neighbourhood, we began reaching out to them. Pa Oliver was with us. We got converts among them and got them baptized.
Eventually, I had to travel for an officer’s course at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria. Pa Oliver took over the daily fellowship meeting with these young people. He was in touch with them several years later after we relocated from Benin- city.
As he aged, sickness came into his body and he became frail. In spite of that, he was a strong man, physically agile with a very sharp memory. His love for God was not in doubt. He shared stories with me of God’s interventions in his life and the family prior to and after he gave his life to Christ. One day, he had travelled and couldn’t return as promised. He prayed that God would whisper to his wife that he wouldn’t return on the date promised. It was a time when telephone was not a common place.
On the said date, the wife dreamt and saw someone as she made to cross the road. “Your husband wouldn’t return on the date promised”, said the being. She woke up believing something must have affected his plans. True to it, he returned days after.
On the 29th October 2018 he drew the last breath at the National Hospital, Abuja. Death did not win but he gave up the ghost to go settle at home ahead of us.
I sincerely appreciate your labour of love over your family, one of whom is my wife, Uyime Maybel. May the family you left behind continue to radiate the glory of God.
As you cheer us on amidst the cloud of witnesses, we love you, Papa but God loves you most.