We love you Bishop TD Jakes. I recommend to President Buhari to sign your citizenship documents so that you can become our Ambassador to the United States! Nigerians are “hardworking, industrious and self sufficient people” – just wish someone can put same in all billboards in the beautiful America. Just imagine the shock to many in the audience when Bishop proclaimed to the world that he indeed is a Nigerian (yes, Nigerian Igbo)! Okeosisi, welcome home.
American pastor, author and filmmaker, Bishop Thomas Dexter Jakes, has reportedly traced his roots to Nigeria, where he has discovered that he is actually Igbo.
As posted on her Facebook wall on Friday, Mrs. Ifeanyi Adefarasin of the House on the Rock Church, notes that the bishop of The Potter’s House, a nondenominational American mega church, stepped on Nigerian soil for the first time this week.
In the past, I used to read Okike which Chinua Achebe edited many years ago. Legendary Prof FC Ogbalu, one of the finest scholars on Igbo language, and Prof Tony Ubesie, another scholar, would descend at Ahiajoku lecture to discuss big stuffs. It was always a beauty to welcome Achebe into the hall. Between electronics in FUTO and Ahiajoku, I had always gone to listen to these men [school could wait!]. Achebe would speak in his own Igbo dialect while Ogbalu would remind all to use Igbo Izugbe (General Igbo) which he contributed extensively.
As a village boy that came to Owerri (Imo State Nigeria) for university education, I used to camp to listen to these legends during the Ahiajoku lecture, then most important academic gathering of Igbo scholars. Prof Chinua Achebe had edited Okike – the journal of creative writing. Reading Okike as a university student was liberating. These men did a lot of work, and there was intellectual rivalry on the harmonization of Igbo language. The scholars continued working until late 1980 when they ratified many things [it never stops, Igbo continues to advance]. Where they could not agree or find a decent local equivalent, they igbonized, spelling English word with Igbo characters.
Achebe was always supremely iconic in Ahiajoku. Ogbalu was eminent. You learn about Pita Nwanna – the author of Omenuko [the man that builds during scarcity]. Omenuko was one of the earliest works on Igbo that chronicled trading, documenting what frameworks which legends like Nnanna Kalu used to build empires in Aba and other cities. Mazi Kalu was the Aliko Dangote of his time, controlling most sectors in eastern Nigeria and beyond
Now, imagine inviting TD Jakes to come and give a lecture in Owerri, connecting the Jewish heritage and the Igbo nation. I promise you that a new Ahiajoku will be as popular as the Carnes Festival.
The video and the words from Bishop Jakes: “The Igbos are called Black Jews. I am Igbo, we are hardworking, industrious and self-sufficient people”