God gave me uncommon favour, says Prophet Abiara
Prophet Samuel Kayode Abiara joined Christ Apostolic Church, CAC, in 1963 and rose through the ranks of the church to become its General Evangelist, Worldwide. He held this position for 10 years. As he retires from office in December 2017, following the mandatory retirement age of 75 for CAC ministers. Prophet Abiara in this interview with CHRIS IREKAMBA spoke on a number of issues, including his retirement, his 75th birthday; life after retirement; choice of his successor and the lingering crisis in CAC, among others.
• As He Celebrates His 75th Birthday And Retirement From Office In December 2017
What really informed your decision to retire as General Evangelist, Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), worldwide?
Every organisation has its own constitution, which they follow and CAC has a very unique structure. The church’s constitution clearly stated that when a minister is 75 years he must quit and give way for others to come in. That is the condition in my own case, but in the real sense nobody retires from God’s work. So, I cannot retire from God’s work until I die. What happens is that I am retiring from the office of General Evangelist of CAC worldwide according to the constitution of the church and it is on that basis that I am retiring.
What would occupy your time after retirement?
I was doing the work of God before the church invited me to be part of them. They saw some talents in me. I didn’t write any application before I came to CAC and neither did I apply for the office of General Evangelist. The church authority knew I was capable. So, I came to the church in 1963. Even now, I am still capable of evangelising. From next year by God’s grace I will be free to go to any church and minister the word of God. So, I will continue to do the work of God, as well as, serve humanity.
What was your experience like when you were in office?
I thank God Almighty who has helped me all these years and without any contradiction, I can tell you I have no regrets at all. Well, you should know too, that challenges are part of human experience, so while I was there I experienced many challenges, but God in His infinity mercy saw me through. And that is why I must thank Him because throughout the period I was General Evangelist I never had any quarrel with my boss, the president or members of the church. They all love me.
At 75, what are your major achievements all these years; you’ve been in the ministry?
Material achievement is not the major issue, but what you were able to do for the Lord and I want to thank God for His grace upon my life all these years. What I can tell you is that God has used me to bring multitude of souls into His kingdom and He has also used me to touch lives. I think that is the major thing; every other thing is secondary to me. By the grace of God after here, I am going to set up Abiara Divine Foundation. The foundation is going to empower Nigerian youths as well as take care of the less privileged persons in the society. I’ve bought clothing materials, foodstuff and other things. They are ready for distribution. I really appreciate the goodness of God in my life; He gave me uncommon favour not because of anything that I have done. I want people, especially the less privileged in the society to rejoice and share that uncommon favour with me as well.
What activities will you use to mark your 75th birthday?
My birthday celebration started last Wednesday and is expected to end on Sunday. We are not going to do any other thing than to praise the Almighty God for his faithfulness and love for me. Friday was praise night. We are expecting great men of God such as the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, including the General Overseer of Faith Tabernacle, Canaanland, Ota, Living Faith Church Worldwide (Winners Chapel International); Bishop David Oyedepo and other important dignitaries.
I am also using this opportunity to invite our President Muhammadu Buhari, and his Vice, Prof Yemi Osinbajo and other government officials. Baba Oyedepo is ministering today (Saturday), while Baba Adeboye will be ministering on Sunday at CAC, Agbala Itura, Int’l Miracle Centre, City of Peace Olode, Ibadan along New Life Ibadan Express road. While my birthday luncheon holds at the Premier Hotel, Mokola Hill, Ibadan on Saturday, December 2, 2017 followed by thanksgiving service on December 3, 2017 in the church auditorium of CAC, Ibadan from 9am.
What informed the choice of your successor?
Concerning my successor, Prophet Oladeji Hezekiah and his emergence. In CAC the constitution of the church is supreme. So, whatever we want to do we always look at the constitution to know what it says concerning any matter and that has been our guiding principle. The leadership looked at his age; educational background and his spiritual life before he was chosen. The church also prayed fervently concerning this and through the intervention of the Holy Spirit, Prophet Oladeji Hezekiah emerged as the next General Evangelist of CAC. So, he is the right person to represent the church in that capacity.
Some sections of the church rose against the choice of Prophet Oladeji Hezekiah, raising different issues, such as age and things like that. What is your take on that?
The Bible is our standard and when you are in doubt you are expected to go back to the Bible for clarification. It is the parameter for any judgment. Some of the people that led the children of Israel such as Josiah, and others were between the age of 12 and 80 years. And so, it’s not about age, but about what God is saying and I think the church has done what they are supposed to do and I appeal to those having different opinion to allow God’s will to prevail, so, that we can move forward.
What is your advice for your successor?
I thank God Almighty for the choice of Prophet Oladeji Hezekiah; He is my son and I love him. My advice to him is that he should anchor his faith in God, love the Bible and absolutely depend on God for any prophesy. He must not do anything contrary to the Bible, the word of God. He must listen to the church authority, because when I was there I listened to them. I have never done anything without telling the church. For instance, if God reveals anything to me I must let the church leadership know about it, and their wise counsel has guided me all these years. In whatever he does he must carry the church along let them know what he is doing and by so doing, God will take him to greater height.
You talked about listening to constituted authority, obeying those in leadership; but in Nigeria today there are crises everywhere both in the church and in government circle. How do you think peace can be sustained in the church, even in government circle?
The problem we have today whether it is in the church or government is because men have decided to obey their own mind instead of obeying God and what the Bible commanded us to do. If anybody wants to enjoy the peace of God, they should listen to God. If any organisation, including the church, is desirous of peace let them seek the face of God through the Bible. For example, in the days of the children of Israel, God gave them prophets, if they had problem they would run to them for advice and God managed their affairs successfully through this means. Today, the Bible, the word of God is the greatest prophet anybody, be it government or church; should consult if they want to be successful.
CAC as a body of Christ is divided for many years, and until now they’re yet to come together. Why?
We are not resting on our oars; God is helping us and by the grace of God before the end of this year, everything will be okay. What has happened in CAC is nothing but work of the devil, which we are also seeing almost everywhere. It is happening in government and churches, everyday you hear that this politician has defected to another political party and things like. That is human being for you. So, there is nothing new, we believe God that very soon everything will come to an end.
What is your assessment of this administration and do you support President Muhammadu Buhar’s second term agenda?
We must thank God for the life of our President first and foremost. In this church we have organised series of prayers for him that God should intervene in his health and He honoured that prayer. We are grateful to Him. We commend the President for his doggedness in fighting corruption and waging war against Boko Haram, if not, they would have taken over this country and I want to encourage the administration that they should continue until this monster called Boko Haram is chased out of this country. On his second term, I think that one is in God’s hand. Again, it also depends on his health and his party’s approval.
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