Benin as has been said earlier was formerly known as the ‘City of Blood’. It would have been apt for it to also be known as the ‘Land of Witches and Wizards’. Idahosa grew up in the midst of witchcraft and idolatry. His late father was utterly disappointed that Benson could not become the deity priest that he had desired while his Grandmum remained a fervent idolater till death.
Some months after the dedication of The Faith Arena, then the largest Church Auditorium in the whole of Africa at Upper Adesuwa, GRA, Benin, by Archbishop, the news went round Nigeria, that witches from all over the globe had met in the State of Chicago in the USA and had decided to hold their first international conference. The venue was fixed as Benin City. The Chief Host, an academician of Bini Origin held a press conference and informed the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Benin as well as newspapers such as The Tribune, Sketch and Punch with arrogance that this first world conference hosting witches and wizards would hold in Benin. Soon enough Idahosa was informed and true to himself, in the next edition of ‘Idahosa and You’, a program of the Idahosa World Outreach, he said it could not be true as it was impossible. The press met Idahosa and asked what exactly was not possible and what were the consequences if any? ‘Witches from the world could not come to Benin’ insisted Benson, as he would ‘kill them all’. The city became a buzz.
The press characteristically returned to the Chief Host to inform him about Idahosa’s response and he boasted ‘Not even God can stop it’!. ‘I am a wizard and I know the power we carry’ he went on. The next day, all the headlines of the national dailies carried the story on their front pages. Idahosa was informed about the response of the Chief Wizard Host, that God can not stop the event from holding. ‘Yes he is correct’ said Archbishop Idahosa………
‘That is why I am here, God does not need to waste his time considering matters as trivial as stopping the conference of witches’.
Again, Idahosa sought to know how many witches were expected in Benin. 9,800 of them, he was told.
His house was visited by pressmen who came to advise him against the risk he was taking by challenging witches openly. ‘Witches are not to be toiled with, be careful. Do not throw your life away, it is not compulsory to take up these challenges. You are already known by the power of God manifesting in your life. You don’t have any point to prove ‘ they said. Idahosa responded:
‘Those who take care do not take charge and those who take charge do not take care’.
The Chief Host had also warned that Idahosa was a busybody, merely risking his life. When Idahosa insisted that there would be no witches conference in Benin, the media then asked if he was ready to tell the whole nation. They told him they intended to arrange a Tv program where he would meet face to face with the Chief ‘wizard’ to defend their individual positions. True to himself, he replied in the affirmative. Idahosa loved open confrontations.
About a week later they were both on air in a live program. The moderator started by saying, ‘Gentlemen, we don’t want anybody to get hurt’. He then asked Idahosa’s disputant, ‘Chief Host, are you really sure you are bringing 9,800 witches from all over the world? The moderator got a resounding ‘Yes’. He faced Idahosa ‘Dr Idahosa, are you sure you are going to be able to stop this conference of wizards and witches? ‘It is not that I am going to stop it, I have stopped it’, replied the Archbishop now raising his voice.
The moderator then told both of them:
“Are you really ready? Because I am now going to grant you time to tell us how serious your position is and how strong the power of your God is”. He beckoned on Idahosa and the Chief Host and both of them said they were ready. Quickly chipping in, Idahosa requested to be allowed to pray before the program ended as he intended to kill that day. Reluctantly, the moderator accepted. The Chief Host was unshaken.
The wizard spoke first and for about 27 minutes, quoting copiously from the old testament of the Bible, sixth and seventh books of Moses, Egyptian hieroglyphics, British writings, Jewish scrolls, Indian Maharaja and other mystical books. As he ended, the moderator asked if Idahosa heard and again he said he did. ‘What do you have to say?’ Idahosa was asked. ‘There is nothing to say. I said the proposed conference is cancelled’. How ? The moderator asked…..
Archbishop then opened the Bible and read quickly some passages from Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and some New Testament verses. He asked how many minutes he had left and was told ‘just 5’. “Fine, it is time for somebody to report to his maker” he blurted rising up. There was pandemonium in the studio. With everyone watching, he turned to the self confessed wizard and chief host and asked :
“I just need an answer from you and your life is hanging on your answer. A witch is not supposed to live and I intend to kill you now if you are one”
At home and in the studio, viewers were glued to their screens and tension was palpable all around.
“Now answer me and this large viewing audience in one or two words. Are you a wizard? Just answer, Yes or No?
‘I am not’
“What did you say because I am ready to pray” Idahosa prompted.
‘I said, I am not a wizard’ the frightened man replied.
“Then there is no need to go on, stand up and leave the studio”!
The Chief Host quickly walked out as sighs of relief filled the studio. The Christians among the TV crew smiled and kept giving each other the ‘thumbs up’ sign. Benson Idahosa began to fire in tongues……..
Next morning, the Chief Host visited his office and even collected a Bible. He however still insisted to the Media that the conference would still hold in 7 days. The media returned to Idahosa to inform him. ‘Is the conference still holding or not’?
“No comments” Benson Idahosa responded “but if the conference still holds, I will burn my Bible. I say it is cancelled”.
On the day of the opening, there was no conference. The next day, Archbishop Idahosa travelled to Lagos to see the President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, a Muslim.
“As you are very well aware, I told the whole nation that the conference of the witches would not hold in this country and you can see that it did not hold”
‘Yes’, replied the Military President. ‘When I saw you and that fellow defending your beliefs and positions, I sent telex to all our embassies not to allow even one witch or wizard into Nigeria. They were all denied visas’.