I am very humbled to be sharing the story of this amazing Man of God, I have been chasing this interview for close to a year and here we are! Rev. Felix Omobude is the General Superintendent of the New Covenant Gospel Church and also the President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria.
Rev. Omobude has been in ministry for 43 years and Benin, Edo State, Nigeria has been his headquarters. Papa is one of the most gifted preachers Nigeria has ever produced and he preaches a storm whenever he mounts that podium. It is indeed a privilege for me.
In this rare interview, he shares on how he met Jesus, his relationship with the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa, his great faith moments, God's plan for Nigeria and how he met his wife; Rev Abiola Omobude, he had some really sweet words for her. Enjoy...
MTB: How did you become born again?
Rev. Omobude; 1971, I can never forget that I made that great decision at the crusade ground at Ogbe Stadium, Benin City, Nigeria. I was in that ground as a cynic with two other close friends, we looked at the preacher, he was sharp but we were trying to correct his grammar. The voice of the preacher Arch. Benson Idahosa was insistent and powerful ‘come unto me all those who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest’. I can never forget my situation when this invitation was extended to me some years ago.
I had some education and exposure and I headed a group called the Nigerian Education Soviet Friendship Association. We operated with the soviet mentality, challenging proponents laying claims to the existence of God. We were so tutored and we read books on ‘Learning Sin’.
I would stand to address students against what those from the western world and missionaries who came during the colonial era with a little book called the Bible into Africa and Nigeria had taught them. By this book, I thought they deceived us, took away our resources, oil, rubber, cocoa, and so on. I did this at the time because I thought I was right but deep down within, I was miserable until I heard ‘come unto me... I could hear the voice asking me to come because He knew my situation and all about my life. “You think you are living but you are not. Come because you are tired of carrying a load heavier than you, I want to give you rest”.
From the corner we were standing, suddenly I stepped out to answer the call but my two friends wondered and said to me “Felix, where are you going? Come back. You are too intelligent for this. Come back”. In retrospect, I am glad I heeded the call. My other two friends; one died a few years later and went to a Christ less grave. The other is now a retired civil servant and still criticising the Christian faith with wrinkles all over his face because you really cannot be an effective critic while wearing a smile.
MTB; What was your relationship with the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa?
Rev. Omobude; I have never known any other pastor in my life other than Archbishop Benson Idahosa. We were at the middle of a service and the Man of God said empty everything that you have. It was like a joke, some grumbled and left but we did. We trekked from miracle centre at Airport road GRA, Benin down home. I believed my pastor.
I was going to school in America and I went to him; of course it was through his help that I would be schooling abroad. Then he said ‘kneel down’ and I did. He said “Omobude, your gift will make room for you”. He put his hand on me and prayed for me then he put his hand in his pocket and gave me a 100 dollar bill and a copy of a New Testament Bible. I got up and I was staring at him, I know he has lots of friends, I thought he would ask me to take a card and meet someone but he said “ You go! Your gift will open doors for you”. I never took his words lightly. A copy of that New Testament Bible that he signed is still with me today.’
MTB; Can you share some of your great faith moments?
Rev. Omobude; In 1981, I graduated from Christ For The Nations in the United States of America and I considered myself lucky to be appointed as the Resident Pastor of a Pentecostal Church in Dallas, Texas. Good salary, good accommodation, good prospects and in the United States!
That evening, I was beside myself with joy from a sense of accomplishment and of a new beginning in my life. I called my wife on the landline in Nigeria, “Honey, we have made it!” I told her of the prospect of the appointment and how we will live and pastor in America. My wife was too excited. But that same night, the Lord woke me up from sleep and spoke to me. He called me by my name “Felix Omobude, what are you doing in America? Do you not see the condition of your people?” I replied, “Yes Lord, I see their plight, they are poor but I will work here in America and send money to support my family and help others in need. I will not forget them”. He called me again, “Felix Omobude, is this what I sent you to do in America?” Then I was shaken. “Is this what I sent you? Get ready, go home, return to Benin City. I have lit a light and put it in your hands to light others. Do not quench it, nurture it.” It was hard but I obeyed and here I am. The rest is history.
MTB; What is God’s plan for Nigeria?
Rev. Omobude; Isaiah 66; 8 Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.
There is need for us to be patient in the pursuit and achievement of our goals as a nation. “Shall a nation be born at once?” When the Nigerian flag was hoisted for the first time after the Union Jack was brought down, that was only the beginning of a process for this nation.
To every true freedom, there is responsibility that goes with it. Often times as a people/nation, we complain due to the fact that there is still so much to be done. However, God has been good to us and we are not where we used to be. Therefore, truth, justice and equity should characterise our freedom as we all have the duty to build the nation of our dream.
Forgiveness is needed toward each other in spite of whatever perceived problems to enable us move forward as a nation. We should build on and strengthen the things that bind us together rather than on those things which tend to divide. The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria believes in One Nigeria and that there is hope for the country.
Let us rebrand Nigeria, I believe Nigeria is making progress and we will realise the Nigeria of our dreams. Heaven’s intervention will turn it around for our good. All who mean well for our nation will be helped by the Heavens but anyone working against her good and progress will be removed by heaven.
Though we are going through the travails of childbirth at the moment which of course may be different from those of other nations; nevertheless, we must rise as a people, parents should take their place and the government should do same as well.
Let us bequeath to our children a future we can be proud of, the act of cleanliness is part of our nation’s values which must be revived at all levels by everyone and the church must take the light to her world in all areas of human endeavor. If we all play our part, we will achieve the Nigeria of our dreams.
Rev. Omobude; I was pastoring at the Iyaro Branch of Church of God Mission, Benin. She came to Auchi Polytechnic from Lagos and she was at the Benin Campus then. In the process, she became a member of the church in Iyaro. She was very zealous for the Lord. As a member of the church choir, her commitment to God and the zeal exhibited to get things done were part of what first drew me close to her and that was how we met.
Pastor Mrs Theodore Abiola Omobude is a woman highly gifted that at times, I tell her God must have spent a great deal of time on her the day she was created because when you talk about prayer, she is a prayer warrior, in study of the Bible, leadership, courage and boldness. Sometimes when things get so clumsy and I am a little bit down, I draw strength from her. As a wife especially to a leader as busy as I am, I may not be able to sacrifice certain things as may be required of a husband and wife, I try and we have that understanding.
However, there are basic things that a man has need of and she has been there for me. My clothing must be up to date; my kind of food even while I am on the go, things on the home front must be kept in shape and for some of us who have very high taste, she meets the demand/expectation.
The upbringing of our children including those who live with us in our home, you see them everywhere, you can tell of the proper upbringing we gave to them. Pastor Kennedy Omobude and Prince Charles Amawu are now big men in their own right. There is hardly any food they cannot cook or any house issue they cannot handle. My son Ebenezer is now studying for his Masters programme and he can do household chores such as cooking or scrubbing. These are all efforts of my wife. In our house whether I am there or not, the day begins with prayers and ends with prayers even when I sometimes feel too tired. Everything is always in place and I give her credit for it all.
MTB; Thank you for your time sir