The Fathers’ Day celebrated across the globe last Sunday, June 20,2010 afforded Bishop Victor Uzosike, the Presiding Bishop of Kingdom Life Gospel Church, Port Harcourt an ample opportunity to comment on issues affecting his country, Nigeria, his church and the society at large.
While wishing President Goodluck Jonathan a worthwhile celebration of the Fathers’ Day, Bishop Uzosike took time off to ruminate over the burden resting on the President’s shoulders, even as the country prepares to celebrate 50 years of her independence.
The Man of God who said in this special interview with The Weekend Tide that the country had not yet met and fulfilled the dreams, aspirations and expectations of the founding fathers, explained that God’s choice of President Jonathan in the 50th year of the country’s independence was very significant.
Bishop Uzosike was also of the opinion that if the President plays the card that is before him creditably, Nigerians would remember him in the next 50 years with a sense of pride and nostalgia.
According to him, it does not matter whether President Jonathan contests the 2011 presidential election or not, as what is expected of him is to put a perfect plan in place for the conduct of credible elections in 2011.
While regretting that at 50 years, Nigeria was still grappling with the problems of basic infrastructure such as electricity, water supply, bad roads and hospitals as well as poverty, he asserted that President Jonathan was strategic to the development of the country.
His words: “What concerns me is not where the President comes from. I want to say clearly that I can see that for God to bring him to be President in the 50th year of the country’s independence, he should know that it is a very significant thing. This is because by the time the country will be celebrating the next 50 years, majority of Nigerians who are here today and majority of us talking right now will not be around talking about him. If he sets the ball, he will be remembered in the next 50 years”.
Bishop Uzosike’s candid advice, against this backdrop to the President was to fashion out good guidelines for next year’s general elections.
Hear him: “Like I said it is Fathers’ Day, I wish him the best. I wish also that he sits down, and without looking at faces of people, structure and draw up a perfect plan for next elections. Whether he contests or not is not the matter. What is important is that a good referee does not go into the match. If they want him to be a referee, the onus is on him to draw up good guidelines that would keep the country going. Whether he contests or does not contest, God has made a way for him”.
Lamenting the deplorable state of the country today, the Presiding Bishop said Nigerians who are wearing the shoes know where they (the shoes) are pinching them.
“We have passed the era of being fooled politically. Everybody knows where it pinches, where it bites. We know that this country, from the period of the first elections conducted by the founding fathers, the manifesto of the early politicians was water, light, poverty and health. Fifty years after, we are still struggling for the same thing. There are no roads, no water, no light, and poverty is at the worst. Jonathan has been picked from nowhere and I feel that he is very strategic to the development of this country”, he asserted.
Commenting on the Fathers’ Day celebration, Bishop Uzosike said it was a day that reminded fathers all over the world of their responsibilities, stressing that the day had opened his eyes on what it takes to be a true father.
He equally posited that his calling as a man of God has bestowed upon him a father figure to those he described as captains of industry, technocrats, bankers, politicians and other people that have moved from the level of poverty to the glamorous level of stupendous wealth.
“I have seen their dedication to God, because they have all come to recognise that it is not them that did it, it is God. Like I said, it is exciting because God gave me the privilege of working with these people early. Today, we can all appreciate what God is doing”, he intoned.
The Man of God who has six children said being a pastor has opened his eyes to what it takes to be a true father even as he is an instrument in the hands of God to preach the gospel.
His words: “It is an exciting experience with God. I always trust God for grace. A father should be proud of what God is doing with his son, a son never prospers to the reproach of his father but to the joy and his expectation. My greatest desire is to lift people in spirit, prophecise to them to grow. Most of the persons around me today, I see some of them whom God raised out of nothing, they diligently rose and appreciated what God is doing in their lives. And it gives me a lot of joy”.
On what it takes to successfully manage his flocks, the members who apparently have become his children, Bishop Uzosike said: “It is not everybody that God uses to be a father of nations. The secret is just working with God, understanding that you are in a project with God. It takes a lot of diligence working with God because the trials are there. The pressures are there. I remember some of these my people who in those days had nowhere to sleep. They used to sleep in the church hall because they had nowhere to go. Today, they have their own houses. They are now landlords. Some of them lost their jobs, they had nowhere to go. They just came to the church and stayed. You cannot just watch them stay for one day without eating. You must find something for them”.
He equally expressed delight that those who have benefitted from the kind gesture extended to them by the church, are also doing good to other members today.
Said Uzosike: “That is why it is dynamic. Thank God, some of them are doing it to others. That is the uniqueness of it. It is an experience of working with God. You don’t tell yourself what to do, you just find yourself doing it. And like you can see, after the service, we are feeding the whole congregation. We have been doing it since the beginning of the year”.
He equally disclosed that a community had recently donated a parcel of land to the church because of its humanitarian disposition which is given expression through its mission centre.
“We are now about to build a hospital in our mission centre. We give free medical outreach. So, it is a pleasure to work with God. Infact, I must appreciate my wife who has been giving me the support. I have realised that if she has not been supporting us, we would not have been able to achieve all this. It shows that when you are sharing the little you have, God blesses the one you have, he increases it for you”, he enthused.
The widely travelled Man of God said he was offering the message of love to mankind on the occasion of the Fathers’ Day celebration, admonishing husbands to always love and care for their wives.
Hear him: “It is the message of love I offer to mankind. We should love one another. Jesus said love your neighbour as thyself. It is a fact of life. Somebody may not agree with you. May be if you are patient, the person will see reason with you. Not love alone, for any love that is without care is not true love. True love must have care. That is why if you have a wife, you do not care for her, it is just an emotional feeling. Love is not an emotional feeling that evaporates depending on people’s mood. The oxygen that really fertilises love is from care”.
When he was asked where he envisioned to take the Kingdom Life Gospel Church to, Bishop Uzosike replied: “Like you know, the church is a place where we give life to our generation. It is our motto: Giving life to our generation. Our vision is to make men fulfil their destinies, to cause men to walk in the fulfillment of a spirit-filled life. For all men to see the hope of the Glory of God. Everything we are doing here is to ensure that they are walking out of their clutches, their poverty, their desolate situations and walking out of their ignorance. We have reached to the point where God has given us the ministry to the body whereby we affect other churches and by the grace of God, we expand”.
On why for 15 years he has consistently been involved in the dispensation of goodies to his congregation without faltering, the Presiding Bishop said: “Yes, my upbringing is part of it but at the end of the day, it is your work with God. If you work with God wholeheartedly, you will find out that you can not ignore what God is not ignoring. What I will tell you practically is that I am still trusting God for grace everyday, it was not like in those days, I was just trusting God”.
According to him, “when you do something to the point that it becomes part of you, you discover that it starts affecting others who will start doing it. All the elders of this church are people who have been pastors for 10 to 15 years. They are just there. New people are coming in but they are the strong force you see working. It is easy for others to be caught into the fire”.