Reverend Godwin Abba is the founder and General Overseer of Word Alive Centre International, Gwarimpa, Abuja. He is a transformational minister of God, prevailing entrepreneur, life coach who is raising thousands of excelling entrepreneurs and great leaders, both in the spiritual realm and in the circular system. Reverend Abba is a minister of God with clear vision and mission: to transform and rebuild people’s destinies. He is about the most amiable husband and father of four who, despite his tight schedules, always spends quality time with his family.
In this explosive interview with Pleasures Magazine, Rev. Abba reveals the divine secrets of success, whether as an individual or as a nation, the secrets which members of his church have learned that places them ahead in all areas of their endeavours. He reveals also the divine secrets of how to run a successful ministry and still do well in other areas of one’s life, family or business. The excerpts:
Let’s meet Rev. Abba, sir. Who is the man called Rev. Abba?
I am Rev. Godwin Abba, a core minister of God, by His grace, the head pastor of Word Alive Center in Abuja. I am also a life coach, teaching about transformational and self leadership. By the grace of God, I am an entrepreneur as well. We are raising many entrepreneurs in the church through my teachings of entrepreneurial skills. Finally, Rev.Godwin is a husband and father of four. I have three boys and a girl, and to God I give all the glory and praise.
Tell us about your church.
Word Alive Centre is a church where God has given us special unction and grace to restore, transform, and rebuild lives. It’s a church that no one can come to and remain the same or go back as he or she had been. Whoever walks in here to worship God must experience a change through the transformational power of God. It’s not by my power or the power of any of the ministers in the church, but by the special unction and grace of God. It’s been awesome from the start, I must tell you. God is raising great technocrats, major business men and women, civil servants of great heights and repute, through my ministration of the word of God. At Word Alive Centre, we have a unique unction and grace to save lives and make people bigger than what they were before they encountered God through this ministry. That’s what God has been helping us to do over the years. The evidences are enormous, the testimonies are innumerable. We dedicate cars and houses here like water.
You operate differently, unlike your other fellow pastors who focus on only ministering the word of God, you minister the word and as well do all these things you talked about; like teaching about leadership, about business and raising entrepreneurs and so on. Why are you not sticking to the pulpit only?
A core man of God is called with different functions. That’s why the Bible talks about different areas of ministration of the word of God: it talks about the Apostolic, the prophets, the pastor, the evangelist, the teacher and so on. That’s the type of ministry that I operate. I also believe in the tripartite nature of man, the spirit, the soul and the container in which the spirit and the soul live, that is the body. The man’s spirit, soul and body reflect in every aspect of our lives, the spiritual aspect, the social aspect, the mental aspect, educational aspect, the political aspect, the economic aspect, and so on. Therefore, a man must be prepared in all areas of life so that no aspect of his life would suffer. The one that you see us do in the leadership, establishment of corporate businesses, human capacity building and entrepreneurial areas, is the teaching aspect of ministry. So, we teach in those areas to give man a balanced gospel. This is because it is very important that man meets his needs in every aspect of his life. In a nutshell, I preach the word across board. It’s important to do that because we have people from different backgrounds in the ministry. Therefore, when I teach the word of God across board, no one would be left out no matter the person’s background. And, really, one of the testimonies that members of my ministry give is based on the fact that my teachings are across board.
It appears that most of the members of your ministry are basically business men and women. Are they being provoked into becoming business men and women or what would you say accounts for that?
Let me start by saying that we have civil servants in the ministry, quite a number of them. We have people that God has raised to the level of Directors or assistant Directors, that is level seventeen or sixteen, as the case may be. But, of course, majority of our members are entrepreneurs. As to whether they are being provoked into becoming business men and women, the answer is yes. The teachings that I give about personal transformation, business entrepreneurship, self leadership and corporate establishment coupled with the one – on – one counseling that I hold with them provoke most of the people that seat and listen to the word of God through my teachings into starting their own businesses and becoming corporate giants. It may interest you to know that we hold three services every Sunday and that the first service is specially designed for teaching about business / entrepreneurship leadership, personal transformation etc. We have people from different churches that come for that service. From there we have raised many business giants, entrepreneurs and corporate business emperors who are doing so well that the government can’t ignore them. Some of them were already entrepreneurs, but when they came in, they got fine – tuned to become better corporate giants. Most of them, however, are raised in the church and mentored by me to become the business giants that you see. Even those that work with me in the church, I mentor them business wise. So, I am their pastor from the pulpit but their mentor in the business area.
Do you mind telling us about your childhood experience, how you grew up?
Hmmh. My childhood experience was an interesting one but not what I can wish for anyone. My parents got divorced when I was six years old, and then my misery began. First, I was left with my grandma, later left alone in the family compound and finally, I had to start living with different people in different places at different times. You can imagine what that means. In every home that I lived, I was kind of the house help to the family. I had to be the one to do about everything in the house by way of house chores. I was worse than a servant. I was so frustrated that I had to join the martial arts at the age of thirteen. I started with Karate, but later moved to specialize in Taekwondo. I grew in Taekwondo and became a professional fighter. It’s from Taekwondo tournaments that I raised money through the fights that I won to see myself through secondary school and the university. But, it’s all interesting, because the experiences that I had at different times in different places contributed to make me the person that I am today. I got born again at the age of eighteen and became a pastor at nineteen.
Having mentioned it, can you tell us how your journey into the ministry started?
I must tell you that it was not my plan to become a minister. I had wanted to be a military man or become a Lawyer. I was at this time, living with one pastor, serving him and still hoping to join the military. But it happened that the pastor I was living with died suddenly. He was a member of the PFM, Benue state chapter. So, after his remains were buried, the leadership of PFM asked who was the person that was living with him and serving him directly. The church pointed at me and so I was brought out. I was one of the youngest in the church, but was asked to take over the leadership of the church, and that was how the mantle of leadership fell on me. I started running the church with the experiences I have gathered from the streets, from Taekwondo and so on. All those experiences fine – tuned my discipline and shaped my character. They made me become a very resolute person. I believe that I can survive anywhere in the world. If you throw me into the forest, I will make a city out of it; throw me into the ocean, I will build a city out of it….I don’t believe that anything is impossible in life.
How did you move from Benue state to Abuja?
Interesting. I left Benue state in 1997 and went to Jos in Plateau state by train. I had an elderly cousin of mine that was married to a pastor friend and they were living there in Jos. I was able to locate them and spent two weeks with them. I discussed about my plans with them and they gave me a direction to Lagos. So, I left Jos after two weeks and proceeded to Lagos, again, by train. In Lagos, I enrolled in the Trem Bible school. On my first day in the Bible school, one young man from Liberia walked up to me in a corner where I was and told me that I was not going to spend a long time in the Bible school because God was going to give me a ministry very soon. Not long after that, one of the lecturers in the school, a man advanced in age, who was a doctor, also told me that I was not going to spend a long time in the Bible school for he had seen me heading a ministry and it would be very soon. Then again, the reactor of the school also called me to his office and told me that I was not going to spend a long time in the Bible school because God was going to give me a big ministry very soon. It got to a point that I started weeping because of all the prophesies that I was receiving from different men of God. Then, I took two months out in the year and started praying and fasting about it every single night. I told God that different servants of His had given me prophesies about what He (God) was planning to do with me, but He should confirm it to me. Then one day I went into a trance and I saw it revealed to me so clearly that I began to weep in my trance. Behold, when I got back to my consciousness, my eyes were wet with tears. So, I said to myself that I needed no other confirmation.
But then, where was I going to start or settle? In the midst of that I left Lagos and went back to Jos.
I spent two years in the Bible school in Lagos after which I was released. Then I returned to Jos where I spent another two weeks praying and fasting for direction from God. I asked God: ‘Where do you want me to go from here? Should I return to Lagos or go to Abuja? And the Lord said to me, ‘son, go to Abuja. I am sending you to a virgin land. That’s how I left Jos and came to Abuja with only twenty naira in my pocket.
Meanwhile, I didn’t know anywhere or anybody in Abuja. However, somebody told me about Gwarimpa, but that it was a typical village with only natives living there. That sounded to me like the virgin land God had said He was sending me to. So, I alighted at the junction and trekked about three kilometers from there to the village of Gwarimpa. When I arrived there, I was already tired and extremely hungry but I had only twenty naira with me and knew nowhere to go. Luckily for me, I saw a local food vendor, Mama put, selling food somewhere around. I went there and bought ten naira eba and ate. That was my first meal for the day, so, it didn’t serve anything close to satisfaction. In fact, it rather provoked the hunger to pang me more. The next headache was where to lay my head. Then I saw an uncompleted building nearby, went into it and lay down on the bare floor to sleep. I hardly slept throughout the night, not because I was thinking but because the pangs of hunger wouldn’t let me sleep.
When I woke up the following morning, I heard noises near the window of the room that I was sleeping in. It was these daily labourers who worked on construction sites that were buying food from another food vendor that was selling rice. I got up and went out there but I had only ten naira left with me home and abroad except above. So, I just stood there watching and thinking of what to do next. In the process, the food vendor sold ten naira rice to one of the boys and the boy got angry that the food was too small. They argued briefly about it and in anger, the boy flung the plate of rice towards the woman. I trapped it with my leg and asked the woman how much the plate of food was. She said ten naira and I gave her the ten naira left with me and devoured the food hurriedly. Again, it was nothing to satisfy my hunger. Thereafter, I went back to my base and at about 11:00am, got ready for the day. I wore my best suit, my best shoes and put on my best tie and I looked like a banker. I walked up to the junction and stood there for a while, asking God: “who are you going to direct me to that will give me my next meal? Then I began to walk along the road, looking for a good Samaritan that would buy food for me. I passed by a number of local shops but I wasn’t moved to approach the people that were there. Walking a little further forward, I came by a cement shop and saw the feet of somebody lying on a long bench. I walked up to the shop and greeted the man. In fact the man jumped to his feet when he saw me. He thought that I had come to buy off all the cement in his shop and was already thanking God for a good day only to hear me beg him to buy food for me because I was hungry. It was an irony to him that a man so well dressed was hungry and didn’t have money to buy food for himself. Nevertheless, he led me to another shop where they sold food and ordered a plate of food for me. I finished the food in no time and the man ordered another plate but I told him I was okay. Thereafter, the man asked me who I was and I told him I was a pastor and that I had come to the village to start a ministry. He was surprised that I had come to start a ministry in that small bush village, but l told him, that was where God had sent me. From there, we got to know each other and began to do one or two things together. Then in February, 2000, we hit the ground running, and this is where we are today. The rest are stories.
You left Jos, from your cousin’s house and came to Abuja with only twenty naira with you home and abroad. How did you expect you were going to survive here with twenty naira, or what was it that moved you into making that move?
Of course, it was by faith that I moved into Abuja. My life has been a life of faith. Everything that I have achieved has been by faith. The Bible says in Habbakuk 2:4b that “the just shall live by faith.” So, you see, God can’t do much in you or through you unless there is much faith in you. God will do great exploits through any man or woman who has great faith. Therefore, everything that I do, I do by faith.
It’s said that when God gives you a vision and mission, He also gives you the provision. Why then was your case so different that you had to beg for food from a total stranger?
It’s absolutely true that when God gives you a vision and mission, He also gives you the provision to accomplish them. Like the case of prophet Elijah. But it depends on the type of mantle that God has given to you. The type of mantle that God gives to you attracts different experiences. If, for instance, God has given you a mantle to be a raiser of people, then you have to be raised. That’s my case. Secondly, most times God doesn’t give you the provisions before you take off. You take off and then the provisions will meet you there. Therefore, it’s not that the provisions were not there for me, I just had to move and then the provisions would meet me on the way, which was what I did, and that has really trained me. If I want to embark on any project today, I won’t wait for money to be ready before I start. I will start and the money will meet me on the way. Like when we wanted to start this massive edifice that we are sitting in today, there was not much money on ground, but l told the building committee that we had to start, money would meet us on the way. And, here we are today. Therefore, everything that I do I do it by faith. Look at the story of Elijah again. He was on a mission and became extremely hungry that he laid under a tree and slept off, but God woke him up and said to him: ‘get up and eat, for the journey ahead of you is still long.” God provided the provision while Elijah was already on the mission. Let me tell you that people who wait for provisions before they embark on kingdom vision, end up in frustration. And even when they eventually start, they suffer retrogression or stagnation. They hardly experience acceleration and peace.
Is it compulsory that a pastor must hear from God before embarking on setting up a ministry?
Yes, it is very important that you hear from God before you go into the ministry. See, ministry is not business, it’s God’s work. Even in business one must have a vision before one can go into it and succeed. Ministry is the work of God. Therefore, if God has not spoken, don’t take a step. Peter was a business man but God called him to become a fisher of men. In the same way, Apostle Paul had an encounter with God before he became a minister. Hence, you must have a calling before you embark on the mission of God.. Ministry is not a business. Ministry is the work of God. Although some people are saying today that ministry is a business, which is why we see a lot of devilish things happening in the ministry folds today, because many people called themselves into it and not God. The truth, however, remains the truth. Ministry is different from our professions. Even professionals don’t become professionals until they have undergone professional training and qualify as one. So, if man understands that a professional must undergo rigorous training before he can be qualified to practice as a professional so that he would not jeopardize people’s lives, then God understands more. Hence, there must be a voice to direct you on where to go and how to go, else, you would not make any headway in it.
Must every man of God that has been called go to Bible school before they embark on their calling?
No, it’s not compulsory that every man of God goes through Bible school but it is very important that every man of God goes through Bible school. What that means is that you need a Bible school to be called into ministry. One can attend a Bible school and not be called. And when one is called, it’s important that one attends a Bible school, not because he or she doesn’t have anointing, but because attending a Bible school will help one to learn about many important aspects of running a successful ministry. For example, you will learn about church history, church administration, church dogmas based on the scriptures etc. For example, we have seven mountains of life, which include the government, which is politics, economy, which is the banking sector, sports, arts and entertainment, we have the religion, we have the family unit, which have the education sector, etc, and it’s extremely important that a pastor understands all the seven mountains of life so that he or she can guide his congregants on the right paths.
What informed the name of the church, ‘Word Alive Centre’?
You may laugh when I tell you how I got the name of the ministry. As I said earlier, after hearing from different men of God about God’s plan to give me an independent ministry, I went into fasting and prayer for two months. On the last night, I was in the bathroom, having my bath when God dropped the name of the ministry, Word Alive Centre, in my heart. With the soapy water on my body, I left the bathroom to the room and wrote the name down. And God told me that the ministry was going to be a word – based ministry, that everything that I would do in the ministry would be based on His word. That’s how the name of the ministry came about. After then, God took me into a trance where he revealed to me what He was going to do through my ministry. I was sitting on the floor in front of the altar, weeping. Why was I weeping? It was because I had seen the massive miracles that God was performing. I saw a mammoth crowd of people and the spirit of God was moving on the hands of angels and touching people, giving healing to the sick and performing different wonders. It was so overwhelming that I broke into further tears. And behold, when I got back to my consciousness, my eyes were drenched in tears in real life.
It’s said that iron sharpens iron. On that note, which man of God would you say has really inspired you to make you look up to him as your mentor in the ministry?
My spiritual father is Dr. Paul Enenche of the Dunamis Church. He is one great man of God with so much unction and grace, and he has inspired my life in the ministry so much that I can’t forget to mention him any time. T. D. Jakes is another man of God that I admire a lot as one of my mentors. Bishop Oyedepo I will say is my grandfather in the ministry, so I won’t call him my mentor. He is my grandfather. Then another man of God whose books have inspired me greatly is Bishop Dag Heward-Mills from Ghana. There are very many of them actually but I can’t mention all the names here.
What is the importance of mentorship to you a young minister of God or why should any man of God have mentors?
The importance of mentorship in the ministry can’t be overemphasized. Mentorship helps you navigate your way in the ministry. It helps you to avoid potholes on your way and gives you a direction and motivation. It gives you focus. When you have mentors, your success in the ministry is guaranteed, because it will give you a direction and focus. What you may be struggling with today, someone else has overcome it. So you no longer see it as a struggle but as an inspiration. You will assure yourself that if your mentor could overcome those challenges, then you will overcome them too. To say the least, mentorship gives you a platform to explore beyond what you might have thought you could do and excel to higher height. Therefore, it is very important that young ministers have people who are already doing great exploits in the ministry to look up to as their mentors. Anyone who doesn’t have mentors will end up being tormented by tormentors, but mentorship will deliver you from the hands of tormentors.
Do you have any particular principle or ideology that you would say guides your personal life as well as your life as a minister?
Yes, it’s called discipline and determination. Discipline is my guiding compass in everything that I do. Life is all about discipline. If you are disciplined, certain things in life will consume you. As a minister of God, you are restrained from many things. There are places you must not be found and there are certain things you must not do. Even the way you talk and the way you relate with people, especially people of the opposite sex, has limitations. As a minister of God, your words are your bonds. What you will not do, don’t say. Whatever you say, you should do. Therefore, discipline is what will help you attain a meaningful height in your life and in your career. Then, for the place of determination, determination is a deliberate push for the achievement of a particular goal. If you don’t push for something with deliberate determination, nothing good will happen in your life. I, for instance, sleep for only about three hours most of the time, and I like it that way. I am already accustomed to the practice.
Have you had any reason or experience that you look back to that makes you regret coming into ministry work?
No, I have never had any experience or anything to make me regret what I am doing. Maybe they came and I didn’t notice. What I know is that I have gone through a lot in the ministry, but I have never had reason to regret that I am a minister. I always prepare myself ahead of any challenge. I am like the eagle. The eagle glides and soars higher in the midst of storms, while other birds are swept off by the storm. It’s also like the horse. When the horse hears the sound of swords striking together and the drums of war, then it’s happy. That’s how my life is, both as a minister, as a business man and as an individual.
As a leadership expert, what do say about leadership in Africa and how can we get it right?
Let me start by saying that there are different types of leadership. We have transformational leadership and we have self leadership among others. Africa has to decide what kind of leadership is best suited for her. For me, transformational leadership and self leadership are the leaderships that Africa needs seriously at this time. Transformational leadership is the type that transforms a people, transforms a community and transforms a nation. Self leadership, on the other hand, is a kind of leadership that an individual gives to himself or herself. One has to be able to lead himself before he can lead others. Self leadership is when an individual can think outside the box to create something for himself with depending on the government and without sitting down to blame anybody for what is not working right. The youths of Africa must stand up and begin to make themselves their own bosses by creating something that will make them independent so that they can take their rightful place in the society. This is the area where I am teaching the youths to take advantage of. Africa is in need of these two types of leadership. On what is happening in Africa today with regards to leadership, I think the major problem lies with the fact that the older blocks don’t want to retire from power and make way for the younger generation to step in. We have a situation where a president has served his four- year term but still wants to go for another term even in his late seventies when he should have retired to go and rest. We also have a situation where he had served his two terms but wanted a third term. We equally have situations where state governors who have ruled their states for eight years would move from there to the Senate and want to remain there till they die. I don’t have a problem with that if that is the vision God has given them. However, it shouldn’t be a do- or – die thing. Worse, still, we have situations in Africa where there are some leaders I better describe as sit – tight leaders. Some of them have been in power for over three decades and are still there. They believe that they are the only ones that are qualified to rule or lead their countries and their people. That’s wrong. Ironically, if you look at Africa closely, you will notice that most of the achievements of Africa were done by leaders who were youths, beginning from Nigeria to other African countries. Therefore, my advice is that the older generation should retire and make way for the younger generation to step in and use their youthful energy and vigour combined with their knowledge of modern technology and take their countries to the next level. They (the older generation) can serve as advisers to the young people and give them direction where necessary.
On entrepreneurship, sir, as an entrepreneur, how important would you say is entrepreneurship to the advancement of Africa and what is the future of entrepreneurship on the continent of Africa?
The importance of entrepreneurship is enormous. But, first, let’s define who an entrepreneur is. An entrepreneur is somebody who starts a business from the scratch and watches it grow to become successful without depending on the government. An entrepreneur is somebody who creates jobs/employment for others and contributes to the revenue of the government of his country. Now, about the importance of entrepreneurship, I will say that the only way Africa will make progress in her economy and political leadership is through entrepreneurship. Hence, the importance of entrepreneurship to the advancement of Africa can’t be overemphasized. Africans are sound – minded people who can create things out of nothing and make things happen out of nothing. Africans have great ideas to make themselves and their continent great. The problem, however, is that the governments of African countries are not supportive. If only the governments could provide the enabling environment with a little support for the African entrepreneurs, Africa would be a place that no one can ignore in the world. Entrepreneurship is what makes China the biggest economy in the world today. An average Chinese is an entrepreneur. Therefore, they contribute to grow the economy of their country. That’s what makes China what it’s today, it’s not about the government being able to provide jobs for all the citizens. The government only provides the enabling environment and gives some sort of support to the emerging entrepreneurs.
At this point, I challenge the youths of Africa anywhere they are, to rise and begin to create something for themselves. They shouldn’t wait for government employment, because government can’t give jobs to everyone. They take the challenge and start their own businesses. Entrepreneurship is one of the major things we teach at the Infinite Leadership and Management consult. African youths can take advantage of our training to learn how they can start and run their own businesses to become independent successful people. It may not be easy from the start, but when they grow to become successful, they would thank themselves that they took the step. They would enjoy the peace of wealth and relish the joy of being an entrepreneur who has created jobs for people, paying people salary to take care of themselves and their families. They would be happy that they are contributing to the economy of their countries by way of the taxes that they pay to the government of their countries.
Sir, you have a lot of responsibilities and tasks that you handle, first as a General Overseer of a big ministry with many departments, an entrepreneur, a life coach and a husband and father. Could you, please tell us how you are able to run all these empires and still look so refreshed?
There are four things involved. First is vision. You must have a vision as well as a destination for your vision. When this is done, the next would be good time management. You must be able to manage your time judiciously to meet up with all your schedules for every single day. That’s what I do. Before I go to bed, I must have prepared my programmes for the next day. You will recall that I mentioned earlier that I hardly sleep for more than three hours a day. Although, medically they say one needs to sleep for eight hours, to me, long sleep is different from sound sleep. I sleep for three hours a day, and you can see that I am doing fine. The next thing is delegation of duties. I teach leadership and entrepreneurship. So, when I teach people what to do, I assign duties to them and watch them do what I have delegated to them with supervision and counsels. I want them to become practical leaders like I am. I do this because I am a practical leader, and a practical leader is the one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. A practical leader must be able to replicate himself in the people that he is raising. Then, the last point is determination. Nothing meaningful can be achieved without determination. Because I am very determined to achieve success in whatever that I embark upon, I teach my followers to do the same. So, they replicate what they see me do. In all, I have the ability to multi – function. If you don’t have that ability, things are going to get muddled up.
You have a very pretty wife, sir. We would like to know her name and how the two of you met to start this journey together.
Ohh, yes, my wife is one of the most beautiful women that God created. Her name is Chinyere, formerly Miss Chinyere Godwin Amuka, but now Mrs Chinyere Godwin Abba. As to how we met, it was one fateful Sunday after service that my brother who had visited then and I decided to take a walk. I can’t remember if we had a definite place in mind to go to. On the way, I suggested we should go to a concert that one of our friends had organized and was holding somewhere nearby. Then we took ‘okada;, because I didn’t have a car then. When we got there, I saw this pretty looking lady sitting somewhere in a corner with such great composure and dignity. I just admired her but didn’t talk to her. I didn’t know she was a singer. After the last singer, she was invited to the stage to sing. When she took the microphone, the thing she did was to appreciate the organiser of the concert, the dignitaries and the guests. The courtesy with which she did it swept me off my feet. When she ministered, she sang like an angel. At the end of the concert, she said she wanted to start going home because she lived with her parents and couldn’t afford to get home late. Then my attraction became affection. I was like, really? This mature pretty lady staying with her parents, here in Abuja? I told my brother that this lady was a wife material but I might walk to her now and she would start bluffing. Then we lost contact. That’s around November, 2002. About five months later, we ran into each other again and I walked up to her and said to her that her face looked familiar. We got talking and then I knew she was the one. I didn’t waste another time before I proposed to her. When I did, she asked me to give her time to think about it. I did. I also started praying about it. Soon after, she told me that she had prayed and that God had confirmed it to her. Then we began with the preparation for the journey, and, here we are today. God has blessed us so much that I can’t thank Him (God) enough. We have four children- three boys and one girl, all to the glory of God. My wife has been everything to me and to the ministry. She is a wonderful woman, to be economical with words. I don’t know if I would have been the person that I am today without her in my life. I have peace in my heart because I have her. That’s how and why I know that she was the one. I thank God that I found her. Unfortunately, one of the big problems we have among the young men of today is that they are not looking for a marriage that would give them peace in their lives. What most young men consider today, especially here in Abuja, as a factor for marriage is environmental status. They are looking for already boxed up ladies that would house them, cater for their needs, buy them cars and so on. Meanwhile, they are not doing anything meaningful and are not ready to start anything meaningful. They just want to marry a lady that would provide all their needs. Such a marriage will not work and you will not have peace. My advice to young men is that they should first get themselves prepared for marriage before they decide to get married so that they can have peace and their marriage will also be peaceful and fruitful. Finally, a man should not marry a woman that will take care of him but the woman he will take care of. Even if the woman has all the money in the world, the man shouldn’t use that as a yardstick for the marriage. Let their decision to marry be based on self conviction, not on environmental status.
After listening to one of your ministrations on an audio tape that talks about how to get it right in your marriage from the very start, I personally felt guilty of most of the points that you raised in the message. They are so blunt. So I want to ask: Why is it so important that one should get it right from the scratch of the marriage?
It is important that you get it right, first, because of your health. If you made a mistake and failed to get it right from the scratch, it would affect your health because the troubles that come from a wrong marriage can be so devastating that not many men can withstand them. If you are not physically, mentally, spiritually sound, wrong marriage can send you to an early grave. That’s why you find that some men, or even women, commit suicide because they can’t help it any more. Secondly, it is important that you get it right from the scratch because of your personality and integrity. If you don’t get it right from the scratch and you later discover the problem, it will become a very dirty issue to deal with. Some may decide to get a divorce and remarry, but that will create even greater problems. First, as a Christian, you are not to divorce, and if you divorce, you are not to remarry. Although, many people don’t care about this, it’s a serious issue for men that have integrity. Then, you also have to consider the effects on the children if the marriage had produced some before the crashes occur. The effects on the children would be devastating.
Thirdly, it is important because of your prosperity. It’s a tragic thing to leave your children in the care of step fathers or foster fathers. Some callous step fathers abuse their step children simply because the child is not from their loin. Many children are suffering from this today because their parents didn’t get it right from the beginning.
Number four, getting your marriage right brings glory to God because the scriptures say that marriage is an honourable thing.
Finally, getting marriage right from the beginning gives you focus and direction and delivers you from distractions. It makes you a happy man or woman. Most of the men and women that get involved in extra marital affairs do so largely because they are in a wrong marriage. I am not encouraging that, I am just talking generally now, because these are the realities out there. Therefore, it is very important that one should get it right from the beginning when one decides to get married.
Let’s meet you now as Mr Godwin Abba, as a father and husband. Who is the man called Godwin Abba?
I think Mr Godwin Abba is one of the loveliest husbands any woman would ever desire because of the principles that I believe in. I say so because I am a man who very much believes in the principle of loving your wife with all that you are and all that you have. I believe strongly in the principle of being faithful to your wife, the principle of building your wife, the principle of supporting your wife and challenging her to bring out her best and become the best that she can be. The principle of standing by your wife and defending her in the face of challenges, even before family members and so on. I believe these are the qualities that women want to see in their men and they should be the qualities that young women who are looking to get married should look out for in the man they want to get married to. I believe in being humorous, jovial, supportive and lively, and that is why my wife loves me so much and would never play over me.
As a father, I have four children, three boys and a girl, as I said earlier, and I will not lie to you, they are my world. I want to be the best father in the world to them. I always do my best at my level to give them the best. I want them to have the best education money can pay for. Therefore, I can pay any amount to make sure that they get the best. I teach them independence and self sufficiency. I want them to learn how to be independent when they grow up. I let them know that the me they see today didn’t just become what I am. I tell what I went through to become who I am so that they will not think that life is a bed of roses. I make out time to spend time with them so that I can have fun with them and teach them what they need to know. I remember a particular day I was driving them to school when they saw a little boy of about the age of my third trekking to school alone and they began to wonder why the boy was walking to school all by himself. Where were his parents? Then I smiled and told them to be thankful to God that their father had a car to take them to school. I told them that I trekked to school when I was a child. I also told them that the fact that the little child was trekking to school did not mean he did not have a future. I had trekked to school but today God has settled me. God can settle that child tomorrow if he works hard and stay focused. I tell them all these so that they will not think that they have to give up hard work and depend on their father’s wealth. I urge parents who are very busy not to be too busy as not to create time for their children. It’s important that parents spend time with their children and teach them the right values of life.
Your advice to young pastors who are looking to get married.
They shouldn’t get married based on environmental status but on God’s directives. Don’t marry a lady because she has a car or because she is rich. As a minister, your life is in God’s hands. You are God’s property, so you should always pray and ask for direction from God before making that crucial decision. If God has not told you she is the one, don’t go and tell her you want to marry her because some people do that just to get the chance and sleep with the lady. And if God has approved of her for you, then love her, respect her, cherish her and treasure her. Don’t play hanky- panky with her.
What would be your advice to that young professional who has graduated from the university and has a divine calling but is confused between carrying on with his profession, maybe as a medical doctor, and yielding to the call to go into ministry?
They shouldn’t be confused about that as long as they are convinced that they have a calling. We have quite a number of ministers today that are professionals in different fields. My spiritual father and mother are both medical doctors. So such young men can answer the call of God and still practice their professions if they want to. As a matter of fact, their education would be a big plus to them in the ministry. I recall that at the start of things, I said I wasn’t going to go to school, but my then pastor advised me to go to school because I would need education if I was going to do well in the ministry. And that has been true. So, as a young professional with a calling, answer the call. You can set up your private hospital, for instance, and become the chief medical director, overseeing the running of the business while you focus on your calling. You can also minister through your profession and win souls for the kingdom of God. You don’t have to dump your profession.
What is your advice to your fellow pastors concerning ministry, governance and politics?
My advice, to that effect, is that if the pastor is not the GO of a church, I mean, founder of a church, he can afford to leave the ministry and go into politics, like our current vice president. But if you are a GO of a church, you should not abandon the ministry to go into politics. What the GO should do is to raise credible leaders through his ministry to go into politics and make a difference. The GO can also position himself to become a pillar and make meaningful impacts in government. Government officials can come to him for counseling and prayers. But he shouldn’t abandon the ministry to go into partisan politics.
Any word of advice to Muslim and Christian youths in Nigeria and Africa?
My advice to African youths, Muslims and Christians, is that they should become nationalists, become creators and innovators. They shouldn’t make themselves parasites but make themselves instruments of national development. They should be people who believe in their nations, people that contribute to the advancement of Africa. They should be people of national inspiration that the governments of their countries can rely or depend on. They should make themselves pillars of their nations. They should understand that they are the future of their nations and this beautiful great continent called Africa.
Do you have any events coming up soon?
Yes, we have a lot of events coming up in the course of the year. First, our private Television station is taking off in the first week of March. Then we have community projects lined up for the year, like the entrepreneurial project where we assemble young people with creative minds and ideas to train them and empower them to start their own businesses. Our mid-year convention is coming up in the first week of June, while our annual convention will come up in the first week of December..
What are your final words to our readers, sir?
My final word to everyone listening to me or that will read this interview is that life is very beautiful and that anybody can live life to the fullest. The limits that you see in your life today were not placed there by God or by Satan. The limits were not placed in your life by your perceived enemies. They were placed in your life by yourself. The moment you decide to get rid of the limits in your life, you will see them no more.
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