Lovina Amangala Iburene was overwhelmed by the signs that manifested at 34 Ambrose street, Calabar where a mere mortal claimed the personality of God. Like many who were desperately searching for divine solution to their problems, she succumbed to the manipulations of another homo sapient and believed she had found her God. She was promised sun and she saw it, she was promised miracle and she waited patiently for 14years for it. People came in droves including eminent personalities by her own estimation and she was convinced that was where her salvation lies. She invited her family members including friends and became obssesed with Olumba Olumba Obu, the sole spiritual head of the church who she held as her God until she was numbed to the reality of her error.
Lovina who is now a Pastor and founder of the Truth ministry and co-founder of Christ world Charity Ministry, Lagos and her husband, Pastor Enoch Iburene narrated their story to Saturday Vanguard.
“I became a member of the Olumba as a teenager in 1987 and what do you expect a teenager to know. I was doing something with the army then and I was to be flown abroad for a training, but I left the job unceremoniously. Later, I ended up being duped. So, I entered the 'brotherhood' of Olumba believing that he is God. The former governor, Melford Okilo was a member then. We used to see him how he disappereared and re-appeared. So, people believed him and so many people were converted. He would suddenly appear in their homes and tell them to come to the 'brotherhood'. “
She explained that so many manipulations she saw decieved her believing that that was God. “You know that this kind of manipulation can convinced anybody because when he promised he would give you a gift and suddenly you'd see that gift, you'd believe him. He'd say, I will give you a sun and suddenly you see the sun. They used the Bible and we were convinced. I took my mother and sister into it. There was this day two people came to test the powers of Olumba and they ran out mad. These people were non 'brotherhood' members, but it touched me and I began to wonder whether that was a true God. If really these people didnt know that you're God and you now make them to go mad, it means it is not a true God.”
But that was only a tip of the ice berg as more revelation stunned her. She continued: “the son Rowland that is heading the brotherhood now has been a canal person. He had shown before his father's death that he was interested in the throne. It was the daughter, Eli, that was very close to olumba and deep in spiritual affairs, but when the father went blind, he prevailed on the father to crown him as Christ and it was done on April 14, 2000.”
“At that point the brotherhood divided into two in line with the son and daughter. It was so fierce that they were killing each other. Many people are bowing to him as Jesus Christ today. He had told them he would never die but the man Olumba died in December 2003 and was buried there. But they are busy deceiving people that olumba is sleeping,” she said.
Enoch Ibruene, the husband of Novina and Pastor of Truth Ministry and Lovers of Christ Church
was in Olumba for 14 years where he met his wife, Lovina. He said soon after they left the 'brotherhood' unknown people have been going after their lives. “they wanted to kidnap us and you know in Lagos, they have their members and and branches at Ikeja, Kirikiri and other places in Lagos, we used to see them,” he said.
“There was a time they wanted to take legal action agaisnt us but they dropped the idea because some people from the brotherhood offered to testify in our favour. A magazine published a story of a woman who delivered tortoise in the brotherhood. He later confirmed that he was the cause of it. Thereafter, Olumba told the congregation that he could turn into animals and at other times warned that nobody should eat fish. Many people left because of the level of deception in that fold.”
“Sometimes in year 2000, before he died, he sent some missionaries to Osun state to evangelised, then we call them 'crusaders'. They hired many buses for the trip and when they got there, there, the message was not only rebuffed, but the crusaders were burnt alive. When the news got to Calabar, Olumba told us that all their souls were with him.”
How the couple met and married at Olumba
I was recovering from the humiliation I got from a previous relationship when we met. I went visit my cousin and I met him there. He was a close friend of my cousin, he was trying to invite my cousin to Olumba and I got facinated to know him. I was attracted to him first of all because he was in Olumba and every other thing went well and we became married a few years later.
When asked that at least there was some good thing about Olumba considering the union at the brotherhood', the couple retorted: “Not necessarily, God is mysterious in his ways. God brought us together in the brotherhood, but it was not as if we benefitted in Olumba.
You see, Olumba realy perfected whatever he really had in mind. There was a demarcation between him and the people, he did not mix with the people, he only came out to minister. One good thing about him was that he ministered like an angel. He was brilliant. You will hardly hear his ministration without getting convinced. That was the gift he had. But the Bible says even the devil can disguise himself as an angel of light. In fact if he had told me to go kill, maybe I would have done it. A lady pastor of one of the churches today who was a member said he had once asked her to go kill. I believed in him, I remember how I gave out everything I had for him. I told people then that I had found my God. It was a time of sheer ignorance.
Their experiences in the 'brotherhood'
My experience about the deception in the 'brotherhood' is that the man is evil. When I was there, an insect bit me on my hand. The hand became swollen immediately. Pulse began to come out of it and I went through serious pain everyday for one and half years. The hand was on the verge of being amputated but I said no, it will not be amputated. People said I have donated my hand to Olumba. I later summoned the courage to go ask him and he said: “Yes, he was the one and that whatever happens, I should take it like that. But since we believed in him, we continued.
Right there, they have 144 virgins which they say will inherit heaven. When he was alive, some members of the 144 virgins will kneel before him fanning him, even if he was sleeping. Singing 'oh God, we welcome u', another group will go in and on and on. Some donated their children for the man called God on earth. Even now, people still immersed in that deception because so many are searching for God and dont know the right places.
I embarked on serious prayers with fasting before I got my hand healed.
I embarked on serious prayers with fasting before I got my hand healed.
How they left Olumba
Pastor Lovina told Saturday Vanguard that she was first touched by the Lord in early 2001, adding that she had to convince her husband threathening to abandon him and Olumba. “Early in that year, I began to feel strange sensation all over me. Each time we are calling his name, I felt pain in my body. So, I told my husband I was not sure I wanted to belong anymore. He said to me 'what are you talking about' just because he so much believed in the man.” I couldnt help it any longer and I told him I was ready to leave him and Olumba. He later agreed with me and we left. Again, there was this believe that if you burn your garment, you are going to go mad. We summond up courage and burnt it and we are still alive.
Then we had two bibles. There was a day we ministered to some people in Ikeja. I got home before my wife and dropped my Bible on the bed. As I was removing my shirt, I was amazed by what I saw. I saw a bright light that came suddenly in the room and within a second, the Bible disappeared. The other Bible had earlier disappeared from my wife after an interview with 'The Week's Magazine. I knew he wanted to frustrate us, but he failed.