Evang. Michael Diden

On Sunday, 1st of May, 2022, I left Asaba very early with my crew to honour an appointment with the immediate past chairman, Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) Governing Board, Evang. Michael Diden, A.K.A Ejele; our rendezvous is the headquarters of Mega Praise Church of Christ, Sapele, Sapele Local Government Area, Delta state, where he (Evang. Michael Diden) is the General Overseer.

Our appointment was media related, and he asked that we meet at the church headquarters immediately after the close of service; but out of share curiosity I decided to go early enough so I can see the evangelist preaching as the General Overseer.

At exactly 10:05 Am., we (my crew and I) walked into the Mega Praise Church of Christ, Sapele, founded by the popular politician, Evang. Michael Diden; at our entry he was already at the pulpit preaching the sermon, with the text taken from the book of Mark 7: 29-34.
One thing that comes to mind as we were seated inside the church is “what can he offer in terms of preaching the gospel,” having at the back of one’s mind that Ejele is a man of many caps with a whole lot of relevance in Delta state politics, and unionism; he is feared in some quarters, and highly revered in other quarters.
I must at this point confess that I was marveled with his unconventional style of preaching. For me, it was so experimental and deepened; its impact is meant to last forever.

I called it unconventional because of the manner he walks round within the church auditorium, reaching out to every corner and to all congregants with the message; he was never at any point static; he was very energetic, applying the same energy he uses in politics. At some point, he sat in midst of the congregation in order to give a clear and vivid illustration of his point; and this I considered the Ejele style, very uncommon in the circle of Christian religion leaders in Nigeria.

One other unique and amazing style Evang. Michael Diden abducted in his preaching is the storytelling pattern; he uses his personal experiences and those encountered by others to illustrate to his congregation for a clearer understanding.

His style of preaching was in a personal point of view. He has a reader, who reads the Bible portion, and he would illustrate and expand it. Most of the preaching was done in Pidgin English, but the amazing thing is, “he was able to impact and convey his message, so one tends to understand who this man is.

From afar, people seem to misunderstand him, but on a close shot, his style of living, which is very humane and humble, translates to his style of preaching.
As a politician, by the time you listen to Ejele’s preaching, and praying, you will begin to wonder what kind of a man he is, that he does everything seamlessly.

After service, one would expect that, as the General Overseer, he would retire to his big office, but no, he sat outside by the fence, attending to people who gathered round him with different needs; a lot of people came, some needed money, or his connection to help see some processes through. Interestingly, the good thing is, “he gave them money, and attended to almost everybody according to their needs.”

At 12 noon, the church service was over, but Ejele was there attending to people’s needs till 2 pm.
From our calculation, over a million naira was disbursed to the needy who gathered seeking for his assistance. The most striking of his humane disposition is that all the time he spent in the midst of these people, there was no presence of the military, police or bodyguards to protect him or to harass the people that thronged him; he was free to himself, seating down there freely attending to the people.

Without mincing words, this is the kind of person we actually need around our political system to improve the wellbeing of the people. He is very rich, but down-to-earth. One of the things he said today is, “who are you? You think you are so big, you think you are bigger than life, eventually you will go six feet below one day,” and he said all these with a lot of comical and storytelling insertions, and references to the Holy Bible.

The man (Ejele) I saw today is a man you can walk up to anytime, and any day to have progressive discussions with, and you will be sure they would be attended to adequately.

Often times, we hear and see media reports from different regions of the country, how constituents suffer years of total neglect from their elected representatives after elections; and how this has resulted in violent attacks on some of them by their constituents.
It’s a known fact that some lawmakers don’t have liaison offices at their constituents; even some that bother to have don’t ever open them to meet with their constituents until it is time for another election and the need to canvas for votes arises.

Bitter expression as this, “he does not have any constituency office in this town, he was not accessible, and we couldn’t reach him for over three years; so, what does he want here? Election is coming now, so he wants to cajole us again, that will not be possible this time.” This was the response from one of the constituents as to why a lawmaker was barred from campaigning in a recent past election.

For the purpose of this article, I would want us to focus our attention more on the root cause of these attacks on some lawmakers. My opinion is, after proper analyses of the aforementioned cases, it will not be out of place to come to a conclusion that the attacks are the resultant effects of the frustration and depression these elected lawmakers, due to neglect and bad representation, have subjected the constituents to. Truth is, if this is allowed to continue, nobody can be sure of where it might lead.

The time spent at the Mega Praise Church of Christ, and the series of chat my crew and I had with church members and invited guests at the church have given a clearer picture of what would become of Delta South Senatorial District, in terms of human capital, and infrastructural development, if Hon. Michael Diden is elected the senator that would represent them come 2023.

As clergy man who has represented his constituency at the Delta state house of Assembly, Hon. Michael Diden has never been inaccessible to both his church members, and his constituents; his style has always remained informal and seamless, no bottleneck resulting from protocols to see him, no harassment by security men or bodyguards; people are always welcome wherever you find him.

Hon. Michael Diden is a detribalized man, his philanthropist gesture is open to men of all tribes; youths will suffer neither frustration nor depression resulting from neglect that may eventually escalate to violent. Michael Diden is open today, and I’m sure he will sustain gesture of openness to all if elected as a senator.

His uncommon hospitality obviously played out as he saw us leaving, he insisted we follow him to Koko for lunch, riding in one of the visitors’ car who had come to have a meeting with him.
As we drove to Koko, I kept wondering that how a man, stupendously rich, and a cord in the musical political chess of Delta state could be inviolably simple, accessible, and just being himself all through the pleasurable ride and in all situations.

The man, Ejele fears and knows God, and he is very realistic about life and humanity. The message cum sermon on this blessed Sunday was EPHPHATHA and I quote “He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh, said to the man, Ephphatha, which, in Aramaic, means: “be open and released.” And truly, on the 23rd of May, 2022, Ejele was released, and the way to contest for the senatorial seat of Delta South was opened for him.

Dr. Opa Williams, wrote from Lagos.


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