Akanbi: When God summons you, he has a new agenda for you
The General Overseer of God’s Mercy Revival Ministries (GOMERM), Dr. James Akanbi, in a recent interactive session with journalists, spoke on the church’s 23rd yearly Power Conference, and also touched on some national issues. The conference with the theme: “Higher Ground Life: Time To Break Boundaries,” begins tomorrow, August 15, and ends on August 21. CHRIS IREKAMBA was there.
Recently, you celebrated your 60th birthday. How do you feel being 60?
I thank God that I am 60 years old. It is a great joy for me because apart from advancing in age, God has enabled me to impact my generation. You know that life is not about duration, but about donation. It is not how long that one lives, but how well one has been able to impact other people. I want to thank God for the pillars that God has actually raised in my ministry. At the inception of this ministry, one of my sons came in as a drunkard; so drunk that he had completely lost his bearing. But today, he is a regional overseer in the ministry. That is a great joy for me and I thank God for that. I sent him to different bible schools and he is like a trophy that I want to be looking at all the time.
At 60, one expects you to slow down a bit, but you are still planting churches and going on missions. Why the drive and what is the experience like?
The point is when you are at the centre of God’s will and you are doing His will, He will give you the joy to move on. Do not forget that age is not an end, rather, it is something that could ginger one to do more; that is how I feel about age. The way people look at 60 years is not the same way I look at it. When I look at someone like Noah, as at the time he was commissioned; I also look at Papa W.F. Kumuyi, who has been a wonderful mentor to me since I met him personally around 1981 when I was at the Deeper Life Church Bible School. Sitting beside him, I learned a lot of things and today, he is 80, and still very active in ministry. What should a small boy like me do? When you are at the centre of God’s will, you will definitely have a bright future. You don’t need to slow down because you have seen what God wants you to do.
Will this year’s programme be different from others, considering the situation of the country?
It is our yearly convention. We have been on a particular level for almost 23 years now, and just like when the Lord spoke to John to come up hither and when God is summoning you to come up, he has a new agenda for you. If you listen and obey, God will show you something that you have never seen before. God wants to restructure you and your system; He wants to give you a new configuration…and for the life of people around you. So, the theme of “Higher Ground Life: Time To Break Boundaries,” was given to us by God. God is actually saying that there are better things up there and that we should come and see them. God is saying He will deposit the good things up there in us, and then we shall go and manifest Christ to the people. That is exactly what the conference is all about. For the whole week, God is going to load us with something new, higher and better than what we currently have.
When God summons you to Himself, He will release to you a lot of new things for you to go to the world and manifest. This is exactly what is going to happen in these few days of the programme starting from tomorrow.
When God says come up higher, He is calling you to a place of solution. It is where logjams are resolved; where statuses are moved forward; where rot is rejuvenated to become new. It is like when God invited Prophet Ezekiel to the Valley of Dry Bones and He said unto him look at this, can we step them up higher, and when he looked at the situation on the ground, he said, ‘I don’t know, it’s only you.’ And God said to him do this and we are going to have different species of beings right from these dry bones. So, when people come to God like that, God will load them with something that will make them go to their worlds to make things better.
Many Christians shy away from politics because it is said to be associated with a lot of negative practices. What is your take on this?
Now, look at the following calculation out there, the presidential candidate of Labour Party is Peter Obi. He is almost becoming the Christian candidate, although there are some problems around that. However, if the current tempo continues for him, a Christian may end up becoming the president in 2027, but for 2023, I doubt it.
In some countries, there are Christian political parties, but that is not the case with us here. Our politics are just different, and with the way Nigerians play politics, it will take a Christian of a very solid background and calling to make it there. Calling is such very powerful stuff; if one’s calling is genuine it will make room for itself. But if you are not called, you will be cursed because we have had people that tried it in the past and suffered a great failure. This happened to some Christians during President Shehu Shagari’s era; they messed themselves up even before they finished their first time. So, a Christian who has a real calling can go into politics. Apart from that, with the way some movements are going on now, we may end up having a Christian party at a particular point in Nigeria.
With attacks on worship centres and individuals, would you suggest that Nigerians should embrace self-help to protect themselves?
I won’t deceive you, that will lead to anarchy. We are still not developed to that level. So, doing that will get weapons into the wrong hands and we will begin to see corpses on the road. However, we need to upgrade our security network in churches and also involve law enforcement agents on security issues we cannot handle.
If we are all allowed to equip ourselves with cutlasses, knives and guns of different kinds, there will be a lot of casualties, daily. We shall then have what the military calls collateral damage.
Some lawmakers are making plans to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari over his indifference to security and other national issues in the country. Do you support the move to impeach the president based on these?
Two things are involved. It is impossible for lawmakers to impeach the president. For me, they are only grandstanding. But to be factual, his indifference is appalling and I feel that there is something going on that we are yet to know of.
Terrorists recently broke into the Kuje Prison and took their men, which the government refused to release to them. And after they successfully did that, the victims of the Kaduna train attack, which they initially refused to release are coming out one after the other. So, we will like to ask: What is going on or happening in the country? At least, the terrorists have freed their men from Kuje Prisons, but why Kuje Prisons and not another prison? These are some of the posers that we need answers to. As far as I am concerned, I do not see the whole situation as Mr. President being indifferent, rather it is a hidden agenda, which will soon unfold.
In the 1980s naira was higher than the dollar, and almost at par with pounds, but recently a dollar now exchanges for N710 Do you think this situation will be a passing phase for Nigerians?
I still believe that better days are coming and if all hands should be on deck, and we all do the right thing, the country will be well again. In 2015 or so, I said that a dollar will be exchanged for N500 if we are not careful, and some people said that I was talking rubbish. Now, has it not come to pass?
Nigeria currently is tormented by so many problems and as a prophet where do you think that we got it wrong as a people?
The problem of Nigeria is the failure of leadership. We failed from the top and when this happens the body will be rotten. If the leadership is not fixed, nothing can be fixed in the country. We got it wrong when the wrong people came into power and it is unfortunate.
For instance, now, bad leadership has made us, instead of talking about politics of ideology, we are talking about politics of religion and what will politics of religion fetch us? Take a good look at the current discussions in the public domains, you will hardly hear people talk about ideology, philosophy, agenda and manifesto, rather they are majorly discussing religion and this cannot move us forward.
Are you saying that Nigeria is beyond redemption?
Nigeria is redeemable, but all hands must be on deck to save it. We must all cooperate and look at the big picture, which is of necessity. For instance, somebody asked me, of the three candidates who do I think will be the president? And I said, we should consider the man who is capable of doing the job. Unfortunately, the one that has the capacity to do the job might not be elected into power because of Nigeria’s electoral process.