from Godóbut what I didnít realize, and most of us do, is that life comes in phases.
There are different levels and at every point when you have to move to another level, sometimes there could be frictions. It could be rough, tough. But all that is just a sign that you are about to move to another level. It was in November 1987.
The interesting thing about my life is that a lot of the very fundamental things in my life seem to always happen in November. I was born in November, got converted in November, I married my late wife in November; I met my present wife in November, Word of Life started in November and many more.
We went for the CGM convention which used to be in the first week of November and certain things began to happen on the platform which shouldnít be. I tried to go from behind to sort out whatever it was, but what I discovered later was that there were certain people who were instigating crisis.
I didnít know then, but now I know. I tried to sort out things but no; to the point where it became obvious that I could no longer remain there. There were pronouncements that were made publicly that it would be out of place for you to remain in a place where there were such public pronouncements about you; telling you to move on.
It was that bad that some foreign guest speakers had to stop by in my hotel room to say; Ďyoung man, you have to move on.í I canít even tell you some of the things they said. I tried all my best to contain it but to no avail. The whole country was tensed up be-cause of the incident and I was surprised that the events stirred up so much emotion across the country.
The very next week, my very good friend, Dr. Ezekiel came over to Warri here to see me and we sat together and I drafted a letter of apology to the late Archbishop; while I knew I didnít do anything. Dr. Ezekiel took it and went to Benin and gave it to him. He waited till the late archbishop read the letter.
Dr. Ezekiel told him to pray for me, which he did in his presence. I wasnít there. Later, I went on my own to see him and he prayed for me. Though he would still go out there, saying things about me in the media, but I never replied. It would have been very stupid of me to reply, because your father is always right.
Your father is never wrong! Never! Itís a foolish child that goes in public to compete with his father. That is my philosophy even till date. Throughout the period I didnít make any defence, but I was sneaking in and out of his house and he would laugh. I never questioned him for anything he said, because I think he never meant those things he was saying about me.
The man loved me and I donít believe he meant to hurt me when he said those things he said about me. When my late wife passed, he was one of the first people that came to my house. He came, sat with me and spent consider-able time with me, praying with me. I could see the tears in his eyes.
Before I got married to my new wife, I took her to him for his approval. He sat her down and threw some bombs at her apparently in his effort to get something out of her and at the end he took me out and told me to go ahead. He prayed with us.
Though I left the CGM but I was still there, in the sense that the connect-ion remained and we contin-ued to work together. For the last two, three years before he passed, I attended his conv-ention uninvited and quite naturally they would put me on the platform and all that. That probably was the most important part of my life in Church of God Mission be-cause after I left, my life was still connected to that great man.
That marked the beginning of Word of Life Bible Church. No doubt there would have been some experiences either pleasant or not. What would you say such experiences were?
When I got saved God ministered to me, saying that at a time I would go back to my beginning. I was born in Lagos where I started my early life. So, my thinking immed-iately I left Church of God Mission, was that I would go back to Lagos. I didnít un-derstand that my beginning was right here.
My plan was to move to Lagos because that was home or so I thought. But in my usual way of doing things I had to pray just to get proper clearance from God. I prayed and He said: ďSon, you are not going anywhere.Ē I was discouraged because all my things were already packed.
I prayed again but God still said Ďthis is home. You are not going anywhere. This is the beginning.í That was one experience I will never forget. So, I had to start Word of Life Bible Church. It was rough, because I had nobody that I could call my own. There were just one or two people that I could send a message.
To find money to rent a placeÖ..look it was rough! I didnít have anything. There were those who were just laughing at me, saying Ďyou are crazy. You are stupid.í But I took the risk because this was Godís mind for me. After I prayed, I settled it. I fixed the date.
At that time, being a military era, you couldnít preach on TV. I couldnít go on TV, so I couldnít even make any announcement of TV. Radio and TV stations would not accept any religious advertisement. So what I did was to hire a microphone and one horn speaker and mount-ed them on a rickety vehicle with one of cousins who likes talking inside the vehicle.
While the vehicle was driving round Warri, she was announ-cing the beginning of Word of Life Bible Church. Do you know that even at that I was afraid of what was going to happen on the inaugural day which was a Sunday. I in-tentionally fixed it on a Sunday because I know it was a day of worship and those who want to come would come.
I left my house late that day because of fear, but to my greatest surprise there were people there and I spent most of the service weeping; not out of sorrow as such rather it was joy. I didnít know that people would turn up but they did. I immediately announced a two-week prayer seminar, which started the next day, Monday. Pastor John Ahre of Life Christian Centre in Ughelli sang for me that day a song he reckoned I loved so much; ďLean on me.Ē
The next day, I started the prayer seminar and whatever offering we gathered we used to make one or two chairs. I just carpenters around who were coming to our aid. Small small we gradually developed until we moved here.
How has the 40-year journ-ey been?
Trying but exciting. Un-certain but today I can say fulfilling. Adventurous but today, I can say I can see clearly now. I am grateful to God. One thing I would say to young people, donít do anything if you are not sure, itís God. The way I see people getting into ministry today, is very troubling to me. As a leader of Christians in this country, I am very troubled. As a leader of the youngest move of God, which is the Pente-costal Movement, I am very troubled.
We are almost an uncontrollable group of people and the way it is, is because we have had an experience which is called the Holy Spirit experience; which is good. The problem that has come out of that is that when people cough, they say its the Holy Spirit. They talk nonsense, they say its the Holy Spirit.
How do challenge a man who says heís motivated by the Holy Spirit? This is what we have done to the Pentecostal Movement and it very painful. The consolation God gave me is that for every move of God had had its own teething and trying periods beginning with the great Roman Catholic Church to the Protestatant, the Anglican, Lutheran, Method-ist, to the Presbytarian, Baptist and so on. There are trials, problems that happened so long ago that people today donít really know.