(Vanguard) Pastor Felix Omobude is the General Superintendent of New Covenant Gospel Church, an arm of Gospel Light International Ministries ,GLIM, and the National President of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN). In this interview, he speaks on some national issues as well as life as the PFN President and its challenges. Excerpts:
The country just celebrated its 54 years independence, yet Nigeria is unstable. The Boko Haram insurgency has dealt a big blow on the nation killing thousands of people including Christians. What is your view?
Nigeria is a great nation. We have overcome many ordeals. Boko Haram does not determine Nigeria success. Today, Nigeria is a nation many other countries have to emulate. Although, we have challenges of corruption, inequality and injustice, we must celebrate the good things that happen to us.
Boko Haram is an issue but I also believe that the God who saw us through the civil war will see us through this challenge. Boko Haram will become history in Nigeria. I honestly commend the armed forces, many of them have paid the supreme price.
As much as I agree that Boko Haram is attacking the Church, it has also killed many Muslims, and their leaders, including emirs. I think the Boko Haram issue is beyond religious crisis. It is a deadly and evil ideology and the Church has paid a huge price. As at last month, over 750 houses have been destroyed. Many people have become widows, orphans to the activities of Boko Haram. We will continue to pray and sensitize our people against insecurity. We have also in our own little way rendered assistance to the affected people. PFN launched a fund, called “Emergency Relief”, for victims and people have donated to it and so many people have benefited. We are calling on all PFN members to join in this calling.
Do you think government is doing enough to curtail insurgency in the country?
‘Doing enough’, to me, is relative. Within the limits of what is available, the way things are, I think they are doing well. But I believe they can do more. You probably know that many security personnel have paid the supreme price trying to defend us. Insurgency and extremism are over the world, it is not an easy war to fight. Nations stronger than us have spent a lot in terms of human and material resources trying to defend themselves and they are still doing so. Nigerians should be patient. It’s not an easy war. It’s not like the regular war.
What is your take on the issue of corruption in Nigeria?
Corruption is a hydra-headed monster that has killed this nation gradually. If you take a very close look at it, it permeates almost every sector of the country. You pass through airports, people offer services for which they are paid and they are asking you if there is anything for them. It’s a shame, it’s an embarrassment. We must all resolve to hate this thing called corruption. Some people will fight it, some people will pay the price for it, but it is something that we must all fight. I believe also that you journalists can help us to highlight the issue. I am just hearing that the United Nations said this government is very corrupt. I don’t know how they came about that. But I’m worried. I am telling you the truth. Corruption, even in the Church, can be very saddening. Corruption in the military, corruption in the police, even among you, journalists. To point at Jonathan, this is one of the problems of this nation. People dump garbage at the centre of the road, and you blame government. When are we going to take responsibility?
Do you envisage the breakup in the country?
I believe it is better to stay together and remain strong with each other.
As the PFN President, so much have been said about pastors owing jets. Are you also thinking in this direction?
I am honestly waiting when you, the reporter, will come and deliver one to me. If anybody donates to me, I will be glad to receive it. But, it is not in my agenda.
Should pastors own private jets?
This has to do with our developmental process, if a man has the resources. For the man who oversees several thousands of church branches within and outside the country.