In a bid to satisfy her writing desires, she has become a script writer. A book she wrote for writing sake has turned out to be one of the best movies that has all it takes to change people’s lives positively. Ebi Akpeti, is a soft, dark complexioned lady whose simplicity is unique. The writer-cum-banker, who hails from Delta State, in this interview, she spoke on her career and how she wrote The Perfect Church.
Was The Perfect Church written out of experience?
It was written by divine inspiration. To me, it is a way that God wants to talk to His children. I wrote it in a day. That particular day, I just felt like writing something and in less than four hours, I was done. Then, I took sometime putting names. It was not necessarily by experience. Although I have experienced some of those things, to be honest. I have seen and heard of them but it was basically written by inspiration.
When the urge to write came upon you, what did you have in mind?
I just wanted to write about the Christianity of today. I wanted it to have a Christian approach but not something that would be turned into a movie for the whole world to see. I have written other books but The Perfect Church was God- inspired.
What was your message in the book?
My message is just to expose the things that are going on in the church where everybody pretends to be holy. I simply preached the grace of God which is what is keeping us. I want people to open their hearts and know when God is speaking to them because all of them in the book, had opportunity to repent but only four people were saved. I want Christians to be spiritually alert. The second message I passed on is for Christians to know that deceit also exists in the church. People should not think that because it is church, everything goes right. There is also this attitude that exists in the church which I also call deceit. The holier-than-thou attitude where everybody comes pretending to be what they are not. It is not supposed to be so. It was the same attitude that made the pastor of The Perfect Church to lose out.
A call for repentance was made and he could not come out even when he was convinced that God was speaking to him just because he did not want the members to be disappointed in him. It happens in today’s churches. Everybody comes to church pretending to be a saint. If I should have a church today, it would be a place where people should come as they are. When you come, iron would sharpen iron. There is nobody that would not fall to sin. We should acknowledge that. Let’s not pretend as if falling to sin is not possible. Most people are afraid or rather ashamed to come out and admit that they have fallen because the picture the church is portraying is very bad. Look at the perfect couple, they were not even married. Let us create an environment where people can actually admit their weakness and talk to God without being ashamed.
Are you a born again?
Yes, I gave my life to Christ in 2006
What was your lifestyle like before you gave your life?
It was not very good. That part is something I would not like to say.
What are the other books you have written?
I have written The Castrated and The Groaning Pains. I am still working on another one.
You studied Finance. What connection does it have with arts?
Yes, I have Master’s degree in Finance. There is no connection but the grace of God. However, I also have Master’s degree in Media Communications.
What inspires your writing?
A lot of things. First and foremost, the testimonies of people that I hear in the church. Every first Sunday of the month is a testimony Sunday in my church. Some things I hear moves me to write in order to encourage others that there is nothing that happens that God cannot change. It is basically church and that is why I don’t like missing church. Once I find myself in the church, I am taken away by the atmosphere of my church.
You said you did not intend to make the book a movie, how did it happen?
It is an amazing long story. One day, I was at work, after I had re-written the book, which I did the first edition in 2007. I am very sure that I did not sell up to 10 copies then. And that I believe was because it was not yet time. That fateful day, I was telling one of my colleagues that I had written books and I have not got a dime from them. In fact, I believed it was God that led me. The previous day, I watched super story and I liked it. She said why not meet Wale Adenuga. I told her that getting his number would be another problem and she said she has his number. That was how I got Wale Adenuga’s number. The next weekend, I called him and being a business man that he is, he asked me to come to his office anytime. One day, I went there. He was casting for a play. I gave him all the books and he asked me how much he was going to pay me. I told him I was not expecting money and he said okay. I left. The next weekend, he asked me to come. I went and he gave me a bottle of wine that is bigger than my head. He said he read them, gave to his wife and daughter and they all agreed that The Perfect Church is a bomb. He eventually paid me and I left. It was a good thing doing business with him.
How much were you paid?
I am sorry I won’t disclose that but I am happy with him.
What was your growing up like?
I had a normal childhood. I come from a learned family. My mother is a lecturer but my father is retired. I have two brothers and sisters. My growing up was very normal. It was a typical average family.
What else do you do?
Nothing except that I work for UBA
Are you into a relationship?
I refuse to disclose that. I won’t talk about it.
Who is your ideal man?
My ideal man may not be what most people say. I will marry a man like David or Joseph. In spite of the fact that Mary was pregnant, he believed what he was told. Most men of today would not. They would disgrace you. I will marry a man like Solomon who was so organized. Bible said that his works and wisdom were so amazing that even Queen Sheba went to visit him. I will marry a man like the other Joseph whom they put in prison. He would have slept with Potiphar’s wife like other men would do but he said, I will not do this to the God that has brought me here. I will also marry a man like Paul who was so educated but despite that, he said, I count all these as loss for the joy that is awaiting me.
What turns you off and on?
I don’t like people who their minds are here and now. People who can’t predict the future to be bright. I don’t like people who discourage others. I like people that are opposite of these ones.
Are your books fiction or non-fiction?
They are fiction. It comes from my creative mind and ability.
Are you fulfilled?
Yes, I am. I didn’t start writing today. For the fact that my book is being watched today and the message making some changes, is fulfilling. Even today, in Ghana and Kenya, etc, The Perfect Church is making waves. There is still so much coming out, so I am very fulfilled.
What is your most memorable day?
It was the day of premiere of The Perfect Church, seeing over 600 people queuing to get a ticket to watch the movie. At the end of the day, all sat down from the beginning of the movie to the end of it. It was a good day for me. The second one was a mail I got from someone who read The Castrated. He said it was that day that he decided he was going to kill himself but it was after reading the book that he got the salvation of his soul. It was awesome. I didn’t plan it that way. What I wanted was to have a career.
Have you fulfilled the purpose of God for your life?
I am in the process. I am not there yet but I strongly believe in what I am doing now. How do you know the purpose of God? It may be something that involves God. It could be to encourage people or something people would benefit from. If I look at it from that direction, then I am in the process.
How do you relax?
I just have to discipline myself. You won’t find me in some places. Everything is good but not everything is necessary. I work and write so most weekends, I relax at home.
Have you had an embarrassing moment?
Not really. I have developed a thick skin to whatever that would embarrass me. I have read in the papers where people are criticizing my work. However, if you are a writer, you must expect criticism. Though some criticisms are sad, I have decided that it is what I want to do. So, I have accepted the price that comes with it.
Why was The Perfect Church changed to The Amazing Grace of God?
It is simple. The church of today seems to be perfect not acknowledging the grace of God that is keeping us. Everybody pretends to be perfect but I disagree. We are in the era of grace that is why so many ugly things are happening in the churches today. During the time of the children of Israelites, there was no grace. That was why God was punishing, striking and withdrawing from them whenever they sinned against him. But Jesus came and brought grace which paves way of escape for us each time we sin. Today, a woman that just committed fornication or adultery on Saturday, can come to the church on a Sunday morning to lead in the praise and worship section, without being struck. His grace is now sufficient for us. The essence of the change of the name of the church is for Christians to come to the knowledge that it is only people who need grace that go to the church where His grace would keep them. We are living in the dispensation of grace because Jesus has done everything for us. Nevertheless, the Bible says, shall we remain in sin that grace may abound? The answer is simply no.
What is your advice to Christians?
I want to tell them that there is no sin committed that God cannot forgive. Believing that God cannot forgive one’s sin is a bigger sin than the sin committed. We should try and obtain forgiveness everyday because the grace is there.