I gave my heart to Christ in the ministry of late Archbishop Benson Idahosa in February 1972. Prior to this, I had been involved with the Scripture Union (SU) and Baptist Church, but the real realisation of the born-again experience took place in February 1972 at a crusade in Ogbe stadium. And almost immediately, I started working for my pastor. I attended what is known as All Nations for Christ. It was then called New Covenant Bible School. The call became apparent towards the end of that year.
Apart from the fact that I had motivation for Christ, I had a very good job. I was working at the Bendel Pharmaceutical as the electrical maintenance officer. But a missionary, Pa S.J. Elton, had told me that he saw God’s hand upon my life and I knew it. I struggled with this for some time. Then one particular night, the Lord spoke to me in a revelation: I had a crusade. At this crusade, I called out young people on evangelism, and at that meeting I saw that I was ministering to people. But I had to stop the meeting because I needed to go to work, and people felt disappointed. And the Lord spoke to me saying I was delaying in the work that He wanted me to do.
On another occasion, I heard a voice saying to me: “You are afraid that you will not be cared for. The government cares for you, gives you a house and a car loan. Do you think that I am less responsible?” That was really the night I started.
I was born in a village. I am a village man. My father had two wives and had seventeen children. I was the third; I am still the third. Basically my drive for education and knowledge made me to be a little beyond the rest. My father was a peasant farmer. In those days he had a large farmland. All he knew was to have the children, and provide a piece of land for them to farm when they grew up. That was what it was.
I grew up in the village environment, did little I was able to do in my struggle to go to school. I tapped rubber to pay my school fees. I sold newspaper in Benin City here in order to pay my school fees. That was the kind of background.
Honestly I always had the hunger for knowledge. I tried to find out things by myself. In my primary school, I joined the literary organisation, and the research class as at that time in the village. In my secondary school, I joined the Nigeria-Soviet Fellowship Association. It was a research group that tried to brainwash us that there was no God. In my quest for knowledge, I pursued that line very vigorously to a point and discovered that it was all false. I believe God was preparing me for something.
I had a Catholic church background. I read electrical engineering. My desire was to pursue it to the last. I am a member of the Association of Executive Engineers of London. I did my part one of the Chartered Institute of Engineers before the conversion. I have always tried to be modest. I value equity in my life and I know that our good work alone does not account for salvation.
Gift of Ministry
I would not say that the Lord gave me a particular gift when he called me into the ministry. However, prior to the call, most probably because of the motivation I had from my pastor, I found myself on the field of evangelism and I had been doing that through to 1975 when we built The Miracle Centre. When we were going to move to The Centre, late Bishop Idahosa said he was committing the pastoring of the church we were moving to, to me. That was where my pastoring life began.
Challenges of my calling
The challenge of evangelisation is the challenge of all believers. In spite of that, I have tried to fashion an area that God probably led me into. I know that I cannot be any other person. So, I am just running my race, trying to comprehend that purpose for which I was apprehended. I know that this place is my base. I know that though the world is my constituency, I have a responsibility to this nation, Nigeria and indeed to the continent of Africa.
Let me state one fact. I do not like anything that tends to portray as though as one is recommending oneself. I would not tell you that I had the kind of temptation that Jesus Christ had. But suffice it to say that if you know the little we have been able to do and the place we are in, one could, in a very mild form, say we have crossed a lot of hurdles, a lot of challenges. You know Benin City is very traditional, a place of idol worship. For a man to remain in this city having preached the Gospel for a little over 30 years, and still continues to be where God has made him to be, of course, a lot of things have happened.
I do not really want to go into details of particular challenges. I do not like telling the odd stories. People like to hear odd things. I do not really like to, but certainly I have been to police stations. I have been to courts. I have had close shaves with death and of course to be a leader is not an overnight thing. But the most important thing is that we live here, we know what we are doing and we are dealing with the situation. And like Paul would say, the care of the church is more of a challenge to me.
Sustaining my faith
Like every Christian, Grace is the keyword. God gave me the Grace and I am very thankful to Him. I love my Bible. I read it very well, by the Grace of God, I try to read it cover to cover. I used to do that two or three times in a year, but because of the congestion in my schedule of activity now I try to do it at least once in a year. I just love reading my Bible.
Also, I have fellowship and worship, and I like to project. At the end of the year I take an overview of my life: the way I have gone where I am at the present moment, and where I am going, and I ask myself if I have done what I am asked to do. I also ask myself these questions every day. Have I done what I am supposed to do today? Am I where I am supposed to be today? These are the things that help me.
What ministry is
Ministry is a calling. It is a calling in which you don’t have a choice. You choose a career. Ministry is not a career. Like Apostle Paul said, I thank God who has called me and separated me from my mother’s womb, calling me and putting me into ministry. In other words, it is not your making. He who makes you know that the One who called you is the person you are responsible to. So, ministry is more than a career or just mere profession or vocation. It is calling first and foremost.
I read one magazine interview where the writer said I was a prosperity preacher. I just laughed. What do you mean by prosperity? The greatest wealth a man can have in life is knowing God. That is the greatest. And if that is the prosperity, I teach it with every fibre of my being. I believe in it. I believe that God is a good God. He takes you from the darkness and put you into light. He finds you on the floor and lifts you up. That is the God we serve. I believe in that prosperity.
But let me tell you. I do not believe in merchandising. I do not believe in manipulation. I believe that if you serve God well, He knows what to do. I can tell you that I knew what it is to want, but over the years I have proven the providence of God. He really knows how to care for his own, and that is the truth.
My normal day
Usually, I start my day quite early because there is a lot of telephone calls and other things to attend to during the day. I have trained myself to wake up and start my day at about 2 a.m. when I will not have my distractions, to do my studies and to be in the presence of God all by myself. At times, I go back to bed again at about 5 a.m. to get up finally at about 7 a.m. I get to work at about 9 a.m. and I attend to people until ten minutes to two ‘o’ clock when I go home for lunch with my family. At times I come back to work to close for the day at 7.30 in the evening. When I get back home, I eat dinner with my family, listen to 9 ‘o’ clock Network News and go to bed afterward.
Culled from How I was Called