Apostle Johnson Suleman is the General Overseer of Omega Fire Ministries, with headquarters in Auchi, Edo State. OFM is one of the leading new generation churches in Nigeria today and a Mecca of sorts as people from all walks of life throng there daily for counsel, prayer and healing. The firebrand founder spoke to us in Lagos about his life, prophesies and relationship with God. He also warned Nigerians to be careful about the forthcoming March 28 elections…
Would you like to share your recent prophesy concerning the general elections coming up in Nigeria?
There was a prophesy before February 14th, 2015 that we didn’t see any election coming up in Nigeria. That prophesy came and passed. Now, on March 28th, 2015, we are still not seeing an election. We are only praying that the counsel of God comes to pass. But we need to pray very well for there to be an election on March 28. This is so because we keep seeing the revelation of the uniform men. We keep seeing uniform men on the radar. And you can tell what that implies. Going by what we are seeing, it will take God for an election to hold, and even if an election is held, it will not be free and fair. We are seeing lots of bloodshed.
So, you are seeing crisis, in spite of promises by the government and other stakeholders that there will be peace during the elections?
You need to understand that prophesies don’t generate crisis. They only inform you of what is ahead. A lot of people feel that prophetic statements are being given to heat up the polity, but this is not so. Prophesy is a guide. Only a wise man who hears about the future and hears about an impending doom knows how to line up his life so that what was foreseen doesn’t catch up with him. APC, PDP, LP or APGA or any political party is not the issue here; politicians are. Elections have come and gone in Nigeria, but this one, the inflammatory statements, the hate messages involved are what make this election somehow worrisome.
How do you take it when you get hostile reactions to the prophesies you give about the government?
Every true prophet is misunderstood and confronted. Major prophets are not always friendly with any system. Not because they don’t want to be friendly, but because it takes a system that is sincere to befriend true prophets. True prophets always see things the way they are; their conscience will prick them if they say otherwise. Most times, people in government don’t like the truth. It is not as if prophets just decide to pitch tent against those in government. When some prophets speak the truth, those in government feel offended and they feel it is targeted at them. For instance, PDP is in power at the centre; if a prophet speaks against the PDP, they feel you are of the opposition. And if you speak in favour of PDP, APC will feel you are against them. That is the kind of system that Nigerian politicians operate. On my part, I usually take it calmly. Any time prophesies come, people criticize them because what people don’t understand they criticize. So, when I give prophesies and people in government or people on the social media are reacting against it, I don’t say anything. But when these prophesies start coming to pass, I just sit down and also watch reactions from the people.
You seem to have gone slightly calm given the fact that your past prophesies were hard on the government of the day…
(Grins)… I don’t think my prophesies have ever been targeted at government of the day. What I will just say is, when God gives me words, I speak. The present government is not even my friend. Yes, some in APC, I relate with them and some in PDP, I relate with them, which is normal. A man of God should not belong to any clique. Anybody who believes in the grace of God upon your life, you can give counsel.
Do you have any message for the government this year?
Yes. In my prophesies for this year, I told President Goodluck Jonathan to go home and rest. In the same prophesies, I said I see Jonathan coming to power again and I also warned that if Jonathan knows what is good for him now, he should go back home and rest. This is not about winning the election, but about the level of bloodshed that will come up after the March 28 election if it holds. I’m not speaking for and I’m not speaking against. I speak the counsel of God. Most Nigerians are focused on who wins the election, but it is beyond that. It is about what comes up immediately after the election.
I want you to be specific on this particular message. Are you saying that there will be war?
Jonathan will win the election but as soon as he wins, there is going to be a serious mayhem. This is not going to come in form of Boko Haram. Let me be clear now. I see an election being held and I see the ruling party doing their best to maintain power. I see General Buhari becoming violent and I see him being arrested just like a repetition of what happened to MKO Abiola. I see the March 28 election, if it holds, ending up like June 12 1993 election.
Have you had to face challenges for being frank giving prophesies?
People have this impression that I’m a fighter, but I’m not. But I hate people who are double-faced. I don’t like people who are arrogant and I hate lies. May be because I’m outspoken, people misread me. I think the only challenge I have really faced is, when people you trusted backstabbed you. Every other thing, I feel normally comes with running a ministry. And they don’t hit me below the belt because I know people have been through them. But the only thing that has shocked me is about certain trusted friends who turn their backs to backstab you. These are certain friends in the ministry who know you very well to be a man of God and know you to be of God; but because they are jealous, they go to the press and sponsor stories against you and present you as a mischievous person.
Were you born a Christian or you converted from Islam, considering your surname, Suleman?
I was a Muslim. My father was an Alhaji and now a Christian. I hail from Auchi, Edo State. I was already a Mallam at the age of 12. I did my Qur’anic graduation and other stuff at that age. I was extremely versed in Qur’an reading and I used to preach in Arabic. I never liked Christians. The impression I had about pastors when I was young was that they were hungry because they would come to beg my father for money. Then, my father was very popular as a politician. He was a council chairman then which is like being a state governor today. He was also working with UAC Foods then, so he had enough money to cater for his family and to give out. Pastors used to come and beg for money from him, so I was angry and I would be telling myself that ah, these people are hungry people. I never knew I would also become a pastor someday.
When did you get converted to Christianity and what was the turning point?
I became a Christian in 1989. On December 24th, 1989, which was the Christmas eve. I slept and never woke up until December 26th. I didn’t see the Christmas day. While asleep, I was seeing hell and many other strange things. When I woke up, I was so worried. I came out to greet people happy Christmas and they said I should just go back and sleep that Christmas was yesterday. I now sat back and started recollecting all the things I saw in my sleep and I was scared. One month after, the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa held a crusade where he said that those who wished to repent should come forward. So, I came forward based on the encounters I had prior to that crusade. In the crusade, he was talking of hell and other things as if repeating all those things I saw in my sleep. In fact, I was scared and started asking myself, was this man in my dream? So, I came out and repented. That was my turning point.
So, how did you get your father converted?
In fact, my father disowned me when he realized that I had become a Christian. He did not only disown me, he banned me from using his name, Sule. I was actually Sule before I became a Christian, but because I was banned from using the family name, I added ‘man’ to my name to become Suleman. And now, everybody in my family is using Suleman (General laughter). Now to your question, I didn’t convert my father, he embraced Jesus himself. It happened that he was very sick. The sickness was so serious that he was at the point of death. He had problems with his intestines. They treated him, but there were no positive results. So, he started crying. And I came and prayed for him, he got healed instantly. As soon as he got healed, he said he wanted to serve Jesus. That was in 2006.
Tell us about your happiest moment in life.
That was when I got married. It was my happiest moment because I was really afraid of getting married because of what I knew about post-marriage. I was scared because I saw almost everyone around me then having problems with their marriages. And my wife (Lizzy) has been extremely supportive of my mission so far. Everything about us has been alike. She read Mass Communication like me, she is a preacher like me and she is also into healing ministry like me. So, we are a perfect couple made by God. We are blessed with five good and Godly children. The only different thing about us is, she has patience while I’m not very patient.
What is your ultimate goal in life?
My ultimate goal in life is to fulfill the assignment God has given to me and get a reward from Him, and to meet with Jesus face to face and He tells me, you did well.