The shocking news of the sudden death of a renowned Pastor in Akwa Ibom, Pastor Ezekiel Atang filtered into the state on Monday evening, with many doubting the authenticity of the report.
TheMail Newspaper reported on Tuesday that Pastor Ezekiel Atang died on Sunday 20th February, 2022, just three weeks before his fiftieth birthday celebrations.
Preparations were in top gear for his golden jubilee and invitations were promptly sent out to guests with the grand celebration billed to hold at Ibom Icon Hotels and Golf Resort, Uyo on March 14, 2022.
While many were still in the state of unbelief, confirmations of his death started coming in on Tuesday morning. By evening of same day, the governor of Akwa Ibom, Mr Udom Emmanuel and select members of his government paid a condolence visit on his wife, Dr. Dara Atang and other members of the bereaved family. His spiritual mentor, Pastor Paul Enenche and wife, Becky alongside one of his closest friends, Rev Ntia Ntia also paid a condolence visit to the family.
A final confirmation of his demise came from his church, God’s House of Refuge on Wednesday. The Resident Pastor of the church, Pastor Stanley Orji through a press release announced that their Lead Pastor’s demise “occurred while in active pastoral duties at Onitsha, Anambra.”
His corpse was brought back to Uyo on Monday and was deposited in the morgue. But before his death, there were signs and warnings to him. TheMail Newspaper presents the possible warnings he had before his sudden departure.
First, his health was showing him signs that all was not well. This happened while he was in Uyo, a day before he made the trip to Anambra.
“Several things stopped me from coming today. First was last night, I had a very severe chest pain such that I couldn’t lie down, so I sat down until morning”, he said while ministering on the first day of the preaching engagement he had in Onitsha.
Second was the issue with the first car he used for the journey. The car developed a fault in Umuahia, Abia State and his team decided to return to Uyo to pick another vehicle for the journey.
“…and then came the vehicle issues. So I asked the Lord, is this a sign that I shouldn’t come or is there somebody the devil is battling that should not be touched? So we said, one more sign and we will go back.
Third, the second car they picked from Uyo to continue with the journey also developed issues. Maybe these were equally warnings. He asked God for one more sign. Could it be that God gave him another sign but he ignored?
“The car they brought which I don’t like travelling with began to have overheat. But I didn’t remember that we said one more sign. So we put water (in the radiator) and began to come on our journey. And even when we met people on the road, they sped off. They didn’t know we were having troubles with the car. The car was not moving the way it should move”, he told the congregation where he went to minister.
Fourth, God may have given him an extra sign again through the AC of the car. The air conditioner of the car stopped working, they wound down the glasses of the car and continued on the journey.
“…then we lost our AC (air conditioner) on the road. I didn’t know this area was hot, almost like the north. Uyo is not as hot as this”, Atang added.
Meanwhile, the host pastor of Wordspring Gospel and Worship Centre, Onitsha said he told Ezekiel Atang to get some rest the day he arrived Onitsha.
Atang, the host of popular program for singles, ‘Singles Frank Talk’ was in Onitsha as guest minister for the “Connect Conference: Families and Relationship Insurance” hosted by Pastor Uzor Jonathan’s church.
“Honestly, I am shocked to my bones. I never knew. I had arranged that we just do it this evening and then tomorrow he joins us. Only to be told that he is around and would want to show his face. To have him here in this house this evening is sacrifice. They need to know what happened in the morning. He took off from Uyo. Just close to Umuahia, they had a little challenge and had to go back to Uyo. They picked another vehicle to continue coming. For those of us who have travelled this Owerri road, you know that it’s been a kind of a mess but he still made it to this event this evening. He will just come (to the mic) and say hello to you so that he could go back and get ready for tomorrow evening”, Pastor Uzor Jonathan said while welcoming Pastor Atang to the microphone.
When he got the microphone, Atang said: “I will just talk briefly because Pastor had actually said I should go and sleep and just rest. I said this man is very kind. But the people in the car (members of his team) said just go and show your face. Me I said okay, I don’t have any say”.
He went on to preach for about twenty five minutes.
Again, on the second day of the program, Saturday, 19th February, he was his usual boisterous self, preaching for two hours standing and moving around the pulpit.
But on Sunday, 20th February which was the grand finale of the program, when he came up the pulpit to preach, a sofa was kept for him to sit.
When he got the microphone, he said “preachers always stand, we should sit; sit and trust God for help”. His preaching on Sunday morning lasted for less than fifty minutes.
The trending photographs where he sat and rested his head backwards on the sofa was while the host pastor, Uzor Jonathan was praying immediately after the preaching by Pastor Atang.
He died later on Sunday after the church service. He is survived by a wife, Dr. Dara Atang, 3 kids and other relatives.