BISHOP Tom Samson of Christ Royal Family International Church, in an exclusive interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, reacted to Buhari’s victory and other political issues.
What is your reaction to the elections?
According to Nigerians, it is fair. Although we heard of violence here and there, stealing of ballot papers, we have never had it this good. This is the best in the history of Nigeria. Even the losers conceded defeat. This is the first time Nigerians can beat their chests and say their votes really count. We shouldn’t condemn ourselves as Nigerians. Anytime we see something positive we need to commend ourselves also.
What are your expectations from the incoming administration?
We are praying. Even though we have had bad experiences, we are looking forward to something good and I know Nigeria is going to get better. It could be from this administration. We are the leaders of the people, we feel the heart beat, even the legislators don’t feel their heart beat the way we do because they come to us to pray for them. We preach encouragement and hope for them. People have access to us than to their legislators. We are hoping for bigger things from the new administration.
How does one know a true man of God?
There is no man of God that can judge the other, you can only judge a man of God where you find him practicing immorality or unfaithfulness. But as long as a man preaches and declares the word of God, you can’t condemn him. Even in the Bible, Paul said, you cannot condemn a man of God as long as he preaches the Word of God because by their fruit you shall know them.
You said by their fruit you shall know them. So what can we say about the men of God that prophesy and their prophecies are wrong?
I wouldn’t know about that. Sincerely speaking, we are mortal men and not angels of God. We are called men of God. Anywhere you hear a man of God, please take note of the man because everything about us is not 100 per cent. It’s so simple.
Is it every man of God that has the gift of prophecy?
I guess it’s not everybody. Even the Bible talks about gifts, some are great teachers, some are preachers, some evangelists, some have great gift of administration.
Not just about the new administration, God spoke to me about the country. We have prayed for this nation and I see better days for Nigeria. When you interviewed me the other time, there was fear everywhere. I told you the elections would hold peacefully and after all we would give praises to God. And when a genuine man of God prays, and he has peace in his heart, even though things looked horrible, behind it there is peace. If you noticed, my Easter retreat was in the middle of the presidential and gubernatorial elections. Some people said how would I have fixed them on such dates? I still had the retreat, spent a lot of money and people came. I knew the elections would go on well. We prayed for Jonathan and Buhari.
It’s a year now and Chibok girls are still missing, what is your take on this?
There is nothing hot that can’t be made cold. Something will happen. It could be Shekau will be touched by God, so we shouldn’t give up. The Bible says, “Sorrow may last for the night but joy comes in the morning.” God springs surprises, so let us all believe they are coming back home because we are all praying and our prayers will not be in vain.
Buhari harped on eradication of corruption during his campaign, do you think he will be able to achieve it?
Politicians invest and expect to get back their investment, except if they have changed now. So, how Gen. Buhari will checkmate them, and not making them get back their investment is what we are waiting for. If you look at those people around him, I don’t know how they will recoup stolen money. But how will you expect a man who has spent money not to get it back in multiple. Maybe they will pinch some money but not too much. I am a practical man. Some of them are in big debt now. Maybe government would give them contract to get their money back. My problem is not about corruption or embezzlement but doing the work assigned to them properly. The Bible says, “A work man is entitled to his labour,” but let’s see work in progress. The idea of collecting money to construct roads, and we cannot see the job done is unacceptable. Lagos, for instance, at least people see what you are doing with their money. It is the elite that would start calculating how much was spent. We need to be realistic, there is no way politicians will not steal. But let them give us what we need. They should give us road, power supply, social amenities, etc. Let’s not deceive ourselves that corruption will die.
What is your view about godfatherism?
I have told you, it is all about business. No godfather will just invest on somebody and expect nothing. Let there be moderation. We need to do things with the fear of God. The idea of taking us back to slavery is unfair. God has a way of judging us. Nigeria is rich but the wealth is not getting to the common people. Godfathers, please make sure your godchildren perform too. We are not fools, so godfathers will surely eat, so let’s forget about that and focus on performance. For example, the road where my church is situated at Egbeda has been bad for years, but when Fashola came to power, he made up the road for us and we will always remember him for that. Even if Buhari is a strict man, is everybody strict? Are the governors of the 36 states strict? I am a leader and a leader can’t do things alone. Even at the church level, it’s not everybody that would be faithful. You as a journalist, there are some journalists who will bend the story too. Buhari needs to preach to those who will work with him. For once, let them be faithful to Nigerians and work.
What is your take about Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)? We are seeing some changes?
Politics is a social behavior which everyone needs to participate in. You can’t shy away from the politics of your country because it will affect you. So, whatever role CAN plays, they are just playing their part because that is where our destiny would be decided.
Do you think Vice President-elect, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo will cope with the politics of Nigeria as a pastor?
Yes, he will. I also want to see Buhari as a good Muslim who will do what is right. I want to see Osinbajo as someone who is disciplined and let us see the game God will play with these religious men in the midst of wolves. We shouldn’t believe evil will always triumph. Bible says, “The light shines in the darkness and darkness cannot conquer.” Maybe God is giving us something that has never happened before. It cannot always be business as usual because somewhere along the line someone has to change. Let us believe this is the time and the season. For two men who believe in their religions to come together is not an accident. So, in one year, let us watch what will happen. If Buhari can overcome the problem of electricity, we will write his name in gold. And if he can’t, that means we will wait for another messiah, the search for the messiah would continue. What Jonathan has done by conceding defeat is a signal for peace and I say to him for following the path of peace and not bringing destruction, kudos. He behaved as a child of God. Good luck to him.