ON Saturday, December 12, 2015, Royal Army Ministry’s Bishop Tom Samson clocked 50. The golden age was colourfully celebrated with the grand finale at his university campus in Ota, Ogun State. The occasion attracted dignitaries from far and near. And the highlight of the event was the commissioning of the university’s library complex and Faculty of Humanity and Social Science building.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had an interview with the popular clergy on this and much more when we visited him at his Ikeja, Lagos church on Thursday, December 17, 2015.
On December 12, 2015, you clocked 50 and you rolled out the drums for the golden jubilee celebration. How did it all go?
It was a carnival-like celebration. It was amazing and wonderful. We give glory to God that everything went according to plan. No evil or bad occurrence. Everyone that attended went back to his or her destination. A lot of people came from within and outside Nigeria. We had guests from Europe, America and all over Africa. And people returned home safely. Glory be to God. And the commissioning of the two major projects at the event the faculty building for humanity and social sciences and library complex, both were accomplished. We give God the glory.
How do you feel generally about the event?
I feel so good that everything went on successfully. As a matter of fact, two months ago, I never thought those two buildings will be standing. My plan initially was next year until a friend told me that for your 50th birthday, there must be something remarkable to mark it. So, you can imagine those gigantic structures, university library and Faculty of Humanity and Social Sciences, were built in two months. To be able to build them to suit National University Commission (NUC) standard was so amazing. I give God the glory that He granted me my heart’s desire. I will forever be grateful to Him.
How much did the projects gulp?
I won’t say that now, but of course you should know they cost so much. With the quality and standard of the buildings, the projects cost fortune. We give God the glory.
With two buildings costing fortune, how much will the whole university cost upon completion?
I am a man of faith. Whatever I am doing, it’s not as if I have the money on ground. I start projects by faith. People may not believe that I knew before that university project is billions of naira. And I got into project without a dime. But as I seek the face of God, everything is falling in place. You can look at all the projects I have put in place including ministry, schools and others, everywhere. I don’t always have the money before I went into any of these projects but God has always been my source of strength. No matter what I am building, it is always God not by my power. Not only the university, we’re still putting more structures in place at our College of Education and other structures for the ministry. I don’t look at what it costs, I look at the one that provides, and that’s God.
When will the university begin academic work?
We’re still going through approval phase. So, we’re trusting in God that by this time next year, we should be able to cross the hurdles.
Have you started recruiting staffers?
We can’t be recruiting staffers for the university now because we’re still building. At the same time, we’re also working with the NUC. So, we look at the appropriate time to embark on staff recruitment based on the NUC advice.
How many faculties is the university going to be made of?
For take-off, we’re looking at having three faculties.
What’s the experience like at 50?
My experience at 50 and what life has taught me is that by strength shall no man prevail. We need to depend on God. Even, if you have all the billions in the world, human beings can frustrate you. You need God’s help. For those who have the resources, you still need to look for God because your resources can frustrate you. Human beings can frustrate anybody. We human beings are the major problems we have anywhere in the world. But when you commit men into God’s hands, they will be of great importance and useful to you. It’s God that moves around the heart of men.
For example, a man like David was thirsty, so thirsty. But God touched men for him and they met his need. Bible says people that never know you will serve you. We all need God to relate with men. We need God to get benefits from men. Men can be major problems anywhere in the world, but with God, they can also be beneficial.
Christmas is already here, what’s your advice for Nigerians, especially the Christians on how to go about the festival?
During Christmas, you see a lot of evils happening. Drivers will want to make money, you see them driving recklessly. They, in the process, lose more lives. Armed robbery cases everywhere. A lot of dubious things increase because people are looking for money anyhow. Do you know I drank garri during my first Christmas in Lagos? But today, I give out bags of rice and other items to people for the celebration. If you don’t have what it takes to celebrate the festival elaborately, just trust God. If this year is not favourable for you, other years will be. The fact that one year is not favourable does not mean you should get into crime. You don’t have to buy what you can’t afford to buy because you see others buying them. If this year is somehow, there are other years to come.
How best do you suggest Christians should celebrate Christmas?
By faith. We need to show love to other people because the birth of Jesus Christ is love for the whole world. The Bible says for God so loved the world, that He gave us His only begotten son. Love brought about Christ. This is the time we need to show love, reach out to our neighbours and forgive people. I believe this is the time for love in Nigeria.
– TADE ASIFAT