“Area Authority Seventy in Africa,” Ensign, Apr. 2000, 72
When the Nigeria Aba Stake was organized in 1988, David W. Eka was surprised to be called as president. Familiar with the various tribal loyalties and languages involved with his stake members, he knew it would be a challenge. Yet through faith in the Lord, he accepted the assignment and went to work. With that start, the Church has since grown to nine stakes in Nigeria.
Brother Eka was born at a Protestant mission in Etinan, Nigeria, the oldest of eight children. His father was a carpenter, and by age 13 David was working alongside his father buying materials and supervising the workers. As a young man he joined the army and fought in the Nigerian-Biafra War, an experience, he says, that helped him grow up. He recalls one memorable incident. While in a bunker, he heard a voice instruct him to quickly move out of it. He stood to leave and urged others to leave with him, but when they refused, he climbed out without them. Immediately a bomb fell on the bunker, and he was the only survivor. With this assurance that his life was being spared, he began kneeling in prayer daily. If you will take me back alive to my people, I will serve you, he recalls saying many times in prayer. He was never wounded and returned safely home.
David married Ekaete Dennis Akpan in 1975. While working for an oil company, he took the opportunity to continue his technical training in England. There the Ekas met the missionaries and began studying the Church. After their return to Africa, David was invited to assist in proofreading a translation of the Book of Mormon into the Efik language. By the end of the project he knew the book was true and was baptized. His wife, meantime, was impressed as she saw him stop smoking and drinking, and within a year she too requested baptism. “I did not push my wife,” he says. “I just went about quietly doing my Church business, and in time she realized I was in a good church.”
In 1990 Brother Eka was called to serve as a regional representative and in 1997 as an Area Authority Seventy in the Africa Area. In 1998 he was assigned to the newly created Africa West Area.
The Ekas have six children, including two they adopted from a brother who died in an automobile accident.