By Izunna Okafor, Awka
In the heart of Nimo, Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State, unfolds a remarkable tale of resilience and determination, as Onyiuke Christian Emmanuel, a 50-year-old blind author, publisher, and servant of God, shares his journey through a life filled with challenges that tested not only his strength but also his faith.
In the extraordinary tale marked by triumphs and trials, Apostle Onyiuke, a once successful educator, also remarkably recounts his journey towards establishing of the King of Kings International Secondary School. Unfortunately, his dream took an unexpected turn after a glaucoma surgery in 2006 left him sightless, unraveling the fabric of his life.
Onyiuke’s story began in 1990 when he entered the University of Port Harcourt, embarking on a journey that would shape his destiny. Graduating in 1995 (due to a the popular industrial action that crumbled Nigerian universities for one year), he embraced the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in 1996 before venturing into the realm of education. And, in 2001, he established the ‘King of Kings International Secondary School’ in Nimo, employing twenty-one dedicated staff members and fostering an environment for over 200 students.
His vision received accreditation from the relevant authorities, and was on the brink of further accreditation when tragedy struck during a glaucoma eye surgery in Lagos.
Devastatingly, the surgery rendered him blind, forcing him to relinquish control of his cherished school. This unexpected turn of events marked the demise of his flourishing school, leaving him with not only physical but also emotional scars. The school, once a beacon of education, had to be closed down as financial constraints and the betrayal of the manager left him devastated, and leaving the students and staff in disarray.
His personal life took another hit when his wife, unable to cope with the challenges, left him in 2010, four years after the onset of his blindness. His resilience was put to the ultimate test, grappling with the loss of both his sight, his family, and the school he invested all his savings to establish.
These notwithstanding, Onyiuke, however, refused to be defeated and deterred, turning to his unwavering faith for strength, and drawing parallels with the biblical story of David. In 2006 and 2007, he sought solace in God and guidance from the higher power, who revealed a new path to him. Inspired by a divine calling, he embarked on a journey of self-discovery and resilience. He discovered that he had authored books on Computer Science for primary and secondary schools. Despite the lack of governmental curriculum, he developed one himself, and persevered, marketing his books from 2006 to 2009, showcasing his determination to continue contributing to education.
Despite encountering challenges on all fronts, Onyiuke’s indomitable spirit remained unbroken. He continued to write, pouring his knowledge into books on Computer Science, Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning, English, and Mathematics. With limited resources, he pressed on, authoring and publishing a total of 16 novels and 5 subjects books so far and still counting.
His unwavering commitment to education persisted, leading him to establish his own publishing company, ‘King of Kings Printing Press’ in 2007. Despite the financial hardships and inflation in Nigeria, he persisted, selling the books he managed to publish when times were more favourable. Facing these financial challenges, he sold what he could but held onto his manuscripts, a testament to his dedication to the written word. Unarguably, his dream of making knowledge accessible persisted, even as the cost of materials skyrocketed, hindering his ability to produce more books.
Regrettably, as it stands now, even that once-flourishing publishing business still faces financial challenges, hindering the production of much-needed educational materials, to the extent that he had to sell his only land to sustain this dream. But still, the challenges persist.
However, he still clings to hope and prays for a sponsor or individual assistance to breathe life back into his literary endeavours. His story underscores the impact of inflation on small businesses and the struggle to maintain entrepreneurial dreams amid economic hardships. He has never ceased to grateful for the customers who continue to support his cause.
Parallel to his entrepreneurial journey, Onyiuke entered into ministry in 1998. Despite losing his sight in 2006, in 2020, he received a divine directive to resume his pastoral work, and he rekindled his connection with God, establishing the Soul Desire Prayer Ministry (a.k.a. Irrevocable Prayer Outreach)
Asked why he went into ministry full-time, Apostle Onyiuke explained that his journey into ministry was not a choice but a calling he received from birth. Howbeit, his devotion to serving God took a profound turn after the glaucoma surgery rendered him blind in 2006. Despite the hardships, he fully answered the call in as early as 1998, dedicating himself to God’s work until 2006 when blindness forced a pause. Miraculously, in 2020, God spoke again, urging him to resume his ministry, and which he did.
He explained that his hearing about a lame who God uses to perform miracles in Australia further inspired his zeal to rekindle the divine calling and go into ministry fulltime. He said he had been in Ekwulobia with his church, where he engaged in miraculous healing, redemption of captives, and ministry work, before he eventually relocated to continue same at the current location in Uga, all in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State. His commitment to his faith and service to others shines through, inspiring those around him.
Onyiuke’s dedication extends beyond personal struggles. Above all, he has also become a beacon for the blind, both in Anambra State and beyond, especially through his emergence as the Welfare Emergency Fund Committee Chairman for blind people in Anambra State. According to him, through this advocacy, he aims to alleviate the suffering of those who, like him, face societal neglect and discrimination.
His plea for sponsorship and aid for the blind emphasizes the dire circumstances many face, from loss of birthright to difficulties in obtaining necessities. In a recent meeting with media representatives in Anambra State, he underscored the critical roles the media play and how they can help in the advocacy. He highlighted the need for assistance, whether in cash, foodstuffs, or toiletries. His phone number (08063625427) provided for communication, beckons potential sponsors and well-wishers.
Beyond the challenges in his condition and his book production, Apostle Onyiuke faces personal hurdles. His marriage ended in 2010, leaving him with four children—two boys and two girls. While the children live with him, the eldest among them has secured admissions, while three are employed with O’level qualifications. Since that 2010, he has remained without a spouse till date, as his wife divorced him shortly after he went blind.
Without a spouse to assist, Apostle Onyiuke seeks assistance in few critical areas of his life, his family, and his endeavours, including his ministry and book publishing.
To further break these down, he appeals for support in educating his children, acknowledging the financial strain and how it retarded their studies. Likewise, he seeks assistance in publishing his authored books. Out of over sixteen of his novels he has so far published, about ten are currently in high demand, but a lack of capital hinders the production and supply of these highly sought-after books.
As his ministry, the Soul Desire Prayer Ministry, Umueze Uga, behind Garden of Grace Nursery and Primary School recently celebrated its thanksgiving for the year in Uga, Apostle Onyiuke seeks assistance, especially in radio evangelism and tele-evangelism. Being blind, house-to-house evangelism poses challenges, making radio evangelism a potent avenue for spreading his messages and gospel of truth. Financial constraints halted his ABS radio sessions. Currently, he seeks sponsors for, at least, a 30-minute slot on air once a week.
Earlier in August this year, Apostle Onyiuke celebrated the first anniversary of his church in Uga, marking a year and three months of labour in the vineyard of God a General Overseer. As said earlier, his plea for sponsorship in ministry work echoes his desire to continue impacting lives through radio evangelism and outreach programs. His efforts have already resulted in tangible miracles, from curing madness to restoring hope for barrenness, among other miracles testified by the villagers.
Indeed, Onyiuke’s life is a testament to the power of faith, resilience, and the unwavering pursuit of a greater purpose. In the face of personal adversity, he continues to inspire hope through his dedication to his family, education, book publishing, and ministry. As he navigates the challenges of blindness, financial struggles, and the quest for sponsorship, Onyiuke remains steadfast in his belief that his work, both in education and ministry, is a calling from a higher power.
As his life navigates through this unfolding saga of perseverance, faith, and a relentless pursuit of a higher calling, his plea for assistance resonates with the essence of community support, recognizing that, together, we can uplift those facing insurmountable challenges. It is on this premise that he has voiced out his need for assistance in anyway anyone can.
Apostle Onyiuke can be communicated through: 08063625427
Izunna Okafor is an Anambra-based journalist and author.