On the 10 August 2009, my dad David Ozono, popularly known as “papa Ozono” passed on to glory! I can confidently and boldly say that because I know with every breath I have that my dad is with the Lord. Those who knew him also know that is true.
My dad lived in the service of God, he served God without reservations. That I know, I saw him lived out Matthew 5, yes he did. My dad gave of his time, talent, and resources to the service of his master.
He was a first century Christian there was no middle ground, for he took the word of God literarily. He loved his enemies, he blessed those who caused him, he prayed for those who despitefully used him, he brought peace wherever he went, he was truly a peace maker. He never, ever had a harsh word for anyone.
We cannot recall anytime my dad shouted or caused any of us or anyone. If you disobeyed he admonished in love, he lived out Ephesians 6:4 “Parents provoke not your children to wrath”. We his kids often joked, “If all Christians are like daddy, the world will be a better place”.
"My dad personified humility",
"He defined grace"
"He embodied love"
"He pursued peace at all cost".
Some berated him because they think he’s too slow, but I loved him because he was slow to anger but quick to love. “No wonder he composed a song out of 1st Corinthians 13, his favourite scripture.
My dad was a giver, he shared out of his necessity. He laboured hard for his kids
He shared his bread with the hungry.
It was so funny growing up, because there was always a brother or sister coming to our house for one thing or the other. Let me put things in perspective, I didn't come from a wealthy family where we had all we wanted, it was the opposite.
We were 11 kids all under a 2 bed flat! But it was joyful. It was out of that he shared, our food, our drink and our bed! We had no space, but dad always took someone in, the result today? I have lots of adopted brothers and sisters in the Lord.
He also lived out Matthew 6, my dad never worried about food, clothing, or shelter.
My dad taught me to hope:
Hope when things are good that they can be better.
He taught me contentment, in the mist of plenty and in the absence of much
He taught me to love, when it is reciprocated and when it is not.
He taught me to dance to the sound of music and to make my own when there’s no music
He taught me to pray earnestly, fervently and unceasingly, when things are going well and when they are not.
My dad did not bequeath me with silver or gold, but what he gave me is worth more than all the silver or gold put together.
“He gave me God’s love, he introduced me to God he showed me how to love”.
I can never tire of talking about my dad, how can I? So allow me:
My dad pioneered prison ministry in the then Bendel state, dragging my sisters and me along to minister in songs, little wonder that I have a passion for prison ministry today, that’s my inheritance, his gift of love to others.
Tears drop not of despair but of enduring memories for a man like no other mortal man. He showed what God’s love should be and demonstrated that love in words and deeds.
My dad was a musician, a singer, a composer, a conductor and a preacher, so it is no wonder that Dad has a song and scripture for every situation:
To those who hate he sang: if you don't love your neighbour you break all the laws
To those who have lost faith: he sang faith never gives up for God will do miracle
To those whose god is dead: he sang, is your God, dead try my own
To those who hunger for holiness he sang: make me to look at sin as you do O Lord
To those who lacked he sang: am a millionaire, my father is rich in houses and land and am his heir
To those waste their talents he sang: bury not your talent, it is the gift of God, for one day God will call you to account for your stewardship.
To those who doubt the existence of God he sang: there'll be no excuse that day
To those who face trials he sang: Our trials here on earth will cease some day, some great day
To those who enjoy pleasure at the expense of God he sang: There are some days ahead when the pleasures of life will cease to be pleasure and they will be problems
To those who face serious issues he sang: it is when condition is terrible, it is then Jesus will be wonderful.
To those who are small thinkers he sang: think big, pray big believe big and act big, God will make you bigger than your problem
To the Greatness of God he sang: God is great he has done me well, O my soul rise and praise the Lord.
To those who celebrates he sang: With a gladsome heart we will praise the Lord for he gave us victory over foe
To those who fear death he sang: Jesus lives forever more, there's no fear of death anymore
To those who feel they are either to great or too small to give their lives to Christ he sang: No one is too great and nobody is too small, come as you are to Jesus.
To those who believe in the rapture he sang: We shall fly in the air, we shall meet Jesus in the sky
To those who believe in heaven he sang: There's no night there, hallelujah there's no night there, for Jesus is the light.
What more can I say? I can go on and on and on and on, I have so much to say about this great man of God who was available to all and any, despite his position in the church.
He sang in crusades of thousands in the early 80s and 90s and composed many of the worship songs popularly being sang in Nigerian churches today, but he did all for God’s praise, not for personal gain. He never made a penny, growing up we didn’t see it that way we always thought he should have cashed in.
All I can say is thank you God for bringing me into this world via this vessel of honour.
One of his sons in the Lord Fred puts it like this:
"Papa is dead, but lies forever"
"Papa is free at last"
"I can see papa singing with the host of heaven”:
"Free at last, free at last, Thank God am free at last"
My desire and prayer is to be half the Christian my dad was, am still trying.
There’s no other father like my dad, everyone says that of their dad and you may disagree with me, but if you knew him you’ll agree.