Known as Mobile Prophet for his dexterity and dynamism in his approach to evangelism and televangelism, Prophet (Dr.) Victor Oziegbe is the founder and General Overseer of Word of Prayer Bible Int’l Church, in this interview with CLASSIC INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE, he dissects the ravaging effects of Covid-19 on the Church, the economy and individuals, while describing the church leaders as being corrupted with involvement in politics, hence they can’t stand in defense of their flocks and the Word of God. Enjoy the excerpt…
The Coronavirus Pandemic lockdown is being eased off in phases, how has the experience been?
The lockdown has done a lot of harm to our world, over five months now, every facets of the economy and our living have been locked down. Mostly in Lagos State here in Nigeria, as much as all over the world. But to God be the glory, I believe that our Lord is fighting for us, despite the continued increase in the numbers here, the scourge must surely go down.
In the area of the economy first, the whole world is suffering it, it’s not peculiar to any nation or tribe. We only believe God that when a man falls he will rise again. Nigeria and the whole world will soon shrug off the effects of the pandemic and rise again. The United States as we all know are already opening up their economies, Italy that had one of the highest number of deaths have already moved on, other countries, including China where it all started are all opening up their economies and I believe that same will apply to our country Nigeria. People are indeed suffering, when you talk about real suffering, though it may not show on their faces but they are hustling to eat. More than ever, we need God’s intervention for the world to come back to normal.
The church is the most affected, firstly, it’s an attack on the House of God, and it’s an attack to the Church of God. When there is evil, the children of God are supposed to come together and pray, prayer is the only answer in a situation of this magnitude but surprisingly, the first thing the governments did was to shut down the churches and that made the devil to have upper hand in increasing the effect of the pandemic. I’m of the opinion that the church is more regulated and organized than the market. Today, markets open about three times weekly in Lagos with attendant uncontrolled crowd of people. When you get to the markets you will see how people shove and push each other for space without recourse to social distancing and other regulations of the NCDC.
In spite of this obvious lack of control, the government still prefers to have the markets open than the churches. That is where we don’t understand what is going on. As you rightly said earlier that Coronavirus exists, it is only the church that can adequately admonish its members of the true existence of the virus in Nigeria and on precautions of the NCDC to take to avoid contracting it. Now same church is locked down and people are at home, far from the word of God and admonition of the church. How many of them have the facilities to join the church on social media. Most of them do not have phones with internet facilities; some that are fortunate to have android phones might not have the money to buy data.
In the course of the lockdown, God used us in this Ministry to feed hundreds of people. The first and second phases of our palliatives, we fed over 300 people on each occasion, I don’t know where the crowd came from and the third phase was even much more. This is because they don’t have. Government palliatives didn’t go round at all. Only the church can reach out to the society around, then why is government continually locking and not allowing the church to lecture the people on how to survive at this time.
I think this is conspiracy against God, conspiracy against the church because prayer is the key. Prayer has the efficacy to heal. By the grace of God, I know that the continual lockdown of the church will not suffice for long; it will be over in no time. I pray that God will hear our voice and allow religious activities to pick up (both Muslims, Christians, etc.). We can keep our distances while in the church or mosque and God will answer our prayers.
If you have to further advice the government on how to manage Nigeria out of the scourge of this Covid-19, what will your advice be?
My short advice is that government has done well so far in managing the palpable situation, but I thank God for using this Covid-19 to bring the attention of government and its agencies towards the healthcare facilities in the country which are until now in a very terrible situations. Now we have some of the best hospitals and medical facilities, well equipped now. Nobody is running abroad again to treat minor ailments; we are here, fixing our nation to make it work again. My honest advice is that government should not relent in developing and advancing our healthcare facilities and other infrastructural facilities.
Secondly, they should find a better and more subtle way to educate the people of the true existence of Covid-19 in the country because people are already apprehensive of the whole situation that it’s now difficult for people to be open about their health conditions or status. Hospitals are no longer receptive of the sick again; the medical personnel are scared to identify with their patience, in spite of whatever ailment one is suffering from, so people are scared to go to the hospitals. Government should talk to the doctors and other healthcare managers to stop stigmatizing patience; they should get closer to the sick, observing medical best practices at this time. They should receive people according to their rules and guidelines. Healing will take over the whole world pretty soon. Ebola came, where is it today? The same way Ebola disappeared is the way Covid-19 will go, but one thing is certain, the name is already recorded so it will remain in the world to be remembered in a long while.
The local airports and other sectors are opening in phases; do you foresee the church too anytime soon?
Some states have resumed churches just like the local airports and inter-state travel bans are lifted. FCT and other states except Lagos and Ogun States have resumed churches and I pray that God will touch the hearts of Lagos and Ogun State governments to know what is right and do it at the right time. Covid-19 have come to stay, though it will die slowly but while it still exists we will learn to adjust to its rules for safety.
Do you foresee the enthusiasm of Christians moving back to church in mass once the ban is lifted?
Church is a part of us, Nigeria is a religious nation. A lot of members can’t go on without church and their pastors; a lot of Christians can’t pray or overcome circumstances on their own so I believe they’re eager and waiting for church to resume.
Post Covid-19, do you see the economy picking up and back to normal?
The fear of Covid-19 has kept everyone low. All media handles now is talks about Covid-19; televisions, newspapers, social media platforms, etc., they are all inflicting fear on people, showcasing the deaths and disasters Coronavirus has caused and that’s why it’s difficult for people to go about their daily lives. Once the fear is removed, people will definitely return to their normal lives, businesses will move on and the economy will pick up, though it will be a gradual process but everything will become standard.
You mentioned the inadequacies of the religious leaders in taking up a stand and speaking to the government to open churches, in your estimation who is a good religious leader?
I’m a son of Late Bishop Idahosa, it’s painful to me that the man no longer lives, if he were to be alive things would’ve been different. He’s a man that could speak his mind exactly as it disturbs him, most of the religious representatives we have today in this country have dined with the devil, what I mean by that is that a lot of religious fathers have joined politics nowadays, and it have caused them their freedom of expression. Once you’re in Nigerian politics, you are not allowed to speak anyhow and the role of a good father that knows that a lot of people are looking up to him is to be able to cover his children in times of trouble. They should be our voices at this point but all of them have failed because of their commitment to politics and greed for money.
Are you saying that the likes of Bishop Oyedepo, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Bishop Mike Okonkwo and a lot of the A-list Christian leaders are not doing enough to protect Christianity in Nigeria?
Well, I am not mentioning names here, I believe they all know themselves because currently it is only Bishop Oyedepo that is speaking out, and we haven’t seen anyone else come out.
Let’s talk about the mobile Prophets; this generation is blessed with a lot of Prophets and you are one of them. In the bible, if God wants to talk to His people He speaks through the prophets. Has God given you any message to Nigeria and the world at this trying time?
There’s a saying that those that have cap don’t have head and those that have head don’t have cap. God’s been speaking to me since the lockdown and because of how expensive it is to manage social media I couldn’t circulate the messages as I should, but hopefully I will set everything in order. Covid-19 is already ending God has told me that it will die this month of July but the damages the virus has caused will still remain, so the only way forward is for everyone to overlook it and move on. At the end of July everything will resume totally and God has told me that His people who believe in Him will prosper in the remaining months of this year.
Everything they’ve lost for this pandemic period will be restored to them in a different dimension. The advice I have for the government is they shouldn’t incure the wrath of God by locking up the church any further and laying rules of who should go to church and who shouldn’t. Let the church be open and let everyone go to church for the betterment of the nation and I pray that God will give them the ability and knowledge to do what is right.
What’s your regret in being a Prophet?
I don’t have any regrets serving God, though it’s not a bed of roses. It comes with temptations, tribulations and other challenges, but I don’t regret serving God. Even Jesus Christ went through the same thing on earth, when a woman poured ointment on Him and His disciple rose against it, Mathew 26 verse 36 talks about how the disciples of Jesus betrayed Him, anytime a man’s growth starts that’s when his enemies come in fold and as Christ overcame them we are bound to overcome.
You are a blessed man with an active ministry and a beautiful family, what would you say you’re lacking as a man of God?
God has been faithful. I am still asking God for more blessings but my main concern is about the souls that are suffering in the world, the lockdown has really affected a lot of people so I pray that after the lockdown people will come out in one mind, peace and unity to worship God again.
Social media spaces have been awash with different approaches to ministrations by men of God. Worrisome of them was the one that phoned heaven to speak with God using his android phone, there are yet others with diverse razzmatazz in display of their prophetic and healing prowess, what message does such acts send to you when you view them?
The food we eat has original and fake and we all know that fake things are very cheap. The bible has stated that at the end time fake prophets will come up. All the prophets may look alike but those that possess the spirit of God will definitely know them, the ones sent by God will remain and the rest shades will fade away soon.
Do you have a problem with Prophets who engage in political prophesies?
People were called for different purposes. Everyone has the ability to dream and see vision though some prophets do it to extort money from politicians but some of them don’t know how to convey messages. What God has sent you to deliver to a person you’re not supposed to make it public on social media or on the pages of newspapers and magazines.
Do you have any message for Christians and Nigerians at large especially as the lockdown is easing up completely?
My word for everyone is that they should try to encourage themselves, I know a lot of them have lost hope because the government has shortened their faith by locking up places of worship that usually inspire and encourage them, but not withstanding, let them persist and they’ll definitely overcome. Let them resist devilish thoughts and keep their hopes alive.