BusinessDay

I don’t criticise Buhari, but all I know is that the country is not being well led – Emmanuel

The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) Lagos Chapter recently hosted Wale Oke, PFN president and other leaders to a N200 million fundraising dinner. At the event, Olumide Emmanuel, president, The Truth of Calvary Ministries globally and the overseer of a network of churches spoke on the project and other issues of the Church. Excerpts by SEYI JOHN SALAU:

Lagos has come a long way and sometimes we wonder why it’s taking PFN now to have a Secretariat; what in your own assessment is the trouble with the body of Christ?

When we talk about the PFN, we have been on for a while but you know each individual also runs a ministry and that’s your primary assignment. So, your church needs to pay rent, your church needs to build, so it has taken this long because you need to be stable to be able to help and that’s what has happened. So, every minister we all started with nothing but faith in God and our vision, so it has taken a while, number one for us to be able to even stabilise what God has called us to do. Two, to be able to now begin work together to do more together so that’s the major reason. Again, when you talk about bringing people together even though it is called the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, you also need to understand that we have different nomenclature, different denominations even within the Pentecostal body, and bringing people from different bodies takes a while. In group dynamics we talk about different things that you have to go through; we have the forming, the storming, the norming then the performing. When a group is formed, they come together and they decide to brainstorm, after the brain storming season, they begin to move forward, they begin to normalise, when they normalise they begin to perform. What you have seen is just that progression. Right now, I believe the stage is set for us to begin to move in a greater dimension.

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An individual (Pastor William Kumuyi) gave N200 million years ago which PFN said it bought properties including the planned secretariat which need another N200 million to put in order; and one keeps wondering,why more denominations are not making donations towards realizing the dream …

He is not alone. The way spiritual law works is not based on natural understanding of man, it is not one person that did it, it is God that did it, because that N200 million came through thousands of people that he has opportunity to lead. If God had not led him to do that, it will not be done. Somebody can have money to help you but will not help you because that is not what God wants them to do. So, let us not make it about the personality, the person that has done it is a father in the faith. He has been there from the beginning, you could have well said ‘why didn’t he give N200 million in 1987 or 1997, he has been there for 40 years, why didn’t he do it before now?’ You cannot say that, many people do not understand that ministry is not like what people think. There are many pastors that may not even be able to give N100, 000 but they give their time, they give support, they give prayers and run around because the place of giving is not only about financial giving. You can give your time and talent, like for this project some people can say ‘look I’m an architect and can give architectural design’. The belief that everybody has money is not true, there are some pastors who need support because of the nature of the work.

In terms of unity, people say that the Church is not united?

Many times, I am not a pessimistic person. When you say people are not united, I do not know what they mean. Is it that you greeted someone and he did not answer you? You see sometimes we are unrealistic in our expectations, when you expect that there are one million churches and they should come together, it is not going to happen. That is unrealistic because people are at different levels. Right now, that we have just come out of Covid-19, there are pastors with health challenges. So, somebody that is battling with cancer, is it to sit with you that he would be thinking about? Likewise, someone that has lost his son, daughter, wife or Church. You need to be normal to be united, someone that is still battling with his own survival does not have enough sanity to be able to start thinking of unity. One thing I tell people is that ‘this little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine’. So, I may not be able to solve the problems of Nigeria or Lagos State, but solve the one I can. Those people that are saying we are not united let them start by being the catalyst of unity in their own local government or street. You can come together with four to five pastors in your area and begin to pray for the area and begin to do what you can do for the area.

People accused PFN of isolating Prophet T.B. Joshua and not commiserating with the family over his death…

I do not understand what you mean by commiseration; was he a member of PFN?

But he was allegedly refused membership…

I am not aware of that. I do not know whether he was a member or not. The question you need to ask yourself is, do you think PFN will reject a pastor that wants to join? There are weighty matters than petty things.

Sure, there are people that come to you with the talk?

They do not come; people already know I’m not interested in petty things. I have been in the ministry for about 32 years suffering, it is not to talking about all these ‘shekesheke’, irrelevant things, there are weightier matters. People are hungry in the country, things are tough, every day we have to grapple with paying school fees, house rents and hospital bills for people. Is it when I am thinking about thousands of people under my jurisdiction that I will now have time for what people are saying? I am not interested; I do not have time for that.

Your video went viral recently where you talked about the government of President Buhari…

I am not criticising Buhari. You see, that is the challenge – we always try to make things personal. I do not know him so how will I criticise someone I do not know? I have not met him, I do not know what he has done or not done, all I know is that the country is not being well led. It is not about personality, when you make it about personality you go into areas you shouldn’t. I’m a pastor, not everybody in the Church I pastor believe that I’m doing it right. This life, even Jesus that died for all of us, not everybody like Him. Even God that created us, some say ‘why are you doing this to me?’ Does that mean God is bad, but that is just life.

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