Preachers come in all shapes and sizes. There are big, sociable preachers. There are short, slim, soft-spoken preachers. And there are creative preachers who are so dynamic they bring listeners back to the center while proclaiming the unchanging gospel.
Apostle Johnson Suleiman falls in the latter category, being a preacher who regularly demonstrates how God has penetrated his own heart with the truths he presents. His interpretation not only has been defended in the sermon, but it has been digested.
The true life story of Apostle Johnson Suleiman is the actual motivational piece that should interest you. Although a seer, Suleiman has waded many storms that would make swiftly flip through the pages on his biography. His writing career must have roots in his journalistic stint at TELL Magazine where he practiced investigative journalism. He moved on to PM News and later, DBN. Before his books arrived on book shelves, he was lost in the track of cultism as a youngster.
“I was a dignified cultist. I am from a home of separated parents. My parents had some issues. Any child from a home like that is bound to fall into the streets. So, I got into school and I wanted acceptance somewhere. Someone told me that there is something called brotherhood and that I would be accepted as a family member and I liked it. I didn’t know there was a beating part and being taken to the bush. I didn’t like that. But you have to go into it. What I always avoided then was the assignments. I was just like a floor member. I would go to meetings and when assigned to do something and I couldn’t, I had to look for someone to do it and pay for it. I was not really happy but I was there.”
Omega Fire Ministries Int’l headquartered in Auchi, Edo State, was founded by Suleman, who is endowed with a rare prophetic insight. He is not just a pastor; he is a thinker, educationist, administrator, philanthropist, a prolific writer and a renowned author who has become a household name around the globe. The Oracle, as he is fondly called, is known for his apostolic and prophetic flow, he graces this age with a new dimension of revelatory knowledge in scripture, miracles and deep prophecies.
He grimaced at the thought of his childhood, reluctant to recount the sad chapters. At 16, he was already fending for himself. His parents were separated on a number of issues including religion and living together. His father was a Muslim while his mother was a Christian. Although his father seemed to be the liberal one, all the children were taken into their mother’s custody, much to their chagrin. His mother had very rigid rules set for general conduct in the home.
“My mother laid down the rule that you must be home by 6 pm. If you come home at 7pm, she would open the door for you. Then, she was in the police force. She would open the door and spray teargas into the room. That’s where you’d be locked up and you’d be battling till the morning to breathe. She was very tough. You can only think of getting out of the room if you can find your way to the door. It was a horrible experience.
“But now, I am happy that I went through that training. She had instilled discipline in us but then I didn’t like my mother. When I went to my father’s house, we were free to do all sorts of corrupt things. As a young Muslim, I finished my Quran and did my Wolima.”
His youthful experience caused him to dislike Christianity. He thought many Christians were not sincere. Seeing the pastors collect donations from church members without accounting for the expenditure was a turn-off for him. But that was to change in 1989.
“I went to bed in December 24, and I woke up on December 26. I didn’t see Christmas day. I slept all through. In the midst of that, I was seeing hell, heaven and a voice told me that I was going to be a preacher. I woke up and went to meet a Mallam and he said I should go and do some recitations. But when I went back, I felt beaten.”
He never liked pastors, he’d said in an encounter. But since he voluntarily entered the Christian ministry, he has a better understanding. “If you don’t have a spiritual encounter, you can’t see things spiritually,” he argued.
Suleiman was in the news two years ago when he predicted that President Goodluck Jonathan should not contest for the 2015 presidential elections but should return to his village. He published this in one of his pamphlets and he didn’t prepare for what followed.
“That first of January in 2013, he brought down my church, Omega Fire Ministries. It was reported in the papers that I was a victim of prophecy. I wasn’t threatened, I was actually hit. I stood my ground. You can’t judge prophecies unless you have the spirit of prophecies. When I see journalists criticizing prophesies, I laugh. I don’t blame them. Certain prophesies can be reversed through prayers. I have made prophecies about very stubborn leaders and they have contacted me. And we prayed about it.
“I saw the president a month before the elections and I personally told him to concede victory to save heads. We have a president who is politically naïve and who didn’t understand the concept of power. The president has a media team who do not understand cease fire. There is a time to stop fighting, to replenish and respect human lives. When people come for their prayers to be reversed, no money is collected. I won’t mention names.”
Suleiman has a team of independent auditors who audit the financial account of his church. Every year, he donates cars and other gift items to the needy. While denying himself of material acquisitions, Suleiman often transfers the donations that he receives from non-members of the church to the vulnerable members of church like widows and orphans.
His books have also made such impact on his readers. The subject matter in the volumes is usually based on societal topics and lifestyle reorientation.
“They are motivational books and prayer pamphlets. I can write about poverty, starvation, abuse of power; the issues cut across. It is a mixture of spiritual and intellectualism that can appeal to anyone. You don’t have to be a Christian to read my books. I have written books on singles, relationships and marriage. I have got calls from some Alhajis who confessed to me that they have stopped beating their wives since they read my book.
“I wrote in one of my books that if you watch animals, they don’t beat their females. A she-goat can even mount on a he-goat that will run away. So, anyone who beats his wife is less than an animal. My last book is Errors Pastors Make. I used the book to address some ills in Christian ministries,” he revealed.
He has chosen to deploy his journalistic instincts into propagating his faith. He broadcasts his service and publishes his inspirational books.
He is a flame for God, and the fire falls wherever he goes. Apostle Johnson Suleiman is certainly a possessor of an audacity, a daring, a boldness the like of which has rarely been seen in Christendom in modern times. A great man of God, his ministry has blessed the world in no small measures.