WORLD EXCLUSIVE: MYSTERY LAGOS PROPHET, DR. CHRIS OKAFOR (O’ TALK NA DO) ‘RESURRECTS’ SAYS EVERY CHRISTIAN MUST BE OCCULTIC *Narrates his kidnap ordeal *Why other pastors hate him *The secret of his power
So much myth had been woven around his person and his ministry to the extent that when he finally consented to granting us an exclusive interview, barely one week after his release by the kidnappers, we were looking forward to seeing a Goliath.
But inside his hotel room (at Best Western Hotel, behind Lagos Sheraton) where we met on Monday, May 7, 2012, we were rudely taken aback by what we saw. With his Bible by his side, Prophet (Dr.) Chris Okafor, the founder of the controversial Mountain of Liberation and Miracle Minitries, looked so ordinary and the opposite of some of the obnoxious tales flying all around him. Yet to shave on the said day and adorning a pair of jeans with a Ralph Lauren polo, he welcomed us warmly, apologizing profusely for the about twenty minutes or thereabout we had to wait at the reception before being ushered into his room. ‘I’m so sorry about that, one of my sons, a police commissioner came to see me…’
Sweet pleasantries were thereafter exchanged before we went into action. AZUH ARINZE, by the way, conducted the interview while the shots were taken by TOKUNBO IBIKUNLE…
How does it feel to savour the air of freedom once again?
They said you were kidnapped. Please, tell us exactly what happened to you?
(Laughs) – Whether they call it kidnap or abduction, the important is that I am alive in the land of living. It is only the living that can praise God; the dead cannot praise Him. So, if I am a dead man, I cannot grant interview. It’s because I am living, that is why I am granting you interview today.
So, what exactly happened that day, where were you coming from and how did it happen?
We went for a programme, a crusade. It’s one of the mandates I have. I’m not just a church man, but given a mandate to win millions of souls. I was given a mandate of 10 million souls. That is my own mandate. To add 10 million souls into the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ and we have to do this tirelessly. Before now, we had been to Bayelsa, we had been to Port-Harcourt, we had been to Enugu, we had been to Owerri, we had been to Kaduna, we had been to Kano. When God gives you a mandate, it looks as if you are running out of time. We did the programme. We left Nnewi the previous week. The other week was Awka. When we started the programme, people gathered; almost the whole of Awka gathered and it was awesome. The presence of God was so much. People came out in their thousands to give their lives to Christ. Because for the past three, four Sundays, I had not been in the church; I had been travelling up and down because of this crusade. I finished the programme on Saturday, I was to travel to Benin so that I will catch the morning flight to be in church that Sunday. But something happened. Five days before this happened, God spoke to me and revealed to me what was about to happen. But there are some things that are destined to happen that cannot be changed. We were on our way going to Benin. My driver was supposed to ply the normal Awka – Onitsha road, but the road was almost unmotorable. So, because he came from Anambra State like me, he wanted to ply the Nawfia road. So, these men ran into us and before we knew it, they opened fire on us. I was with two of my escorts. One was in my jeep, the other one was in the escort car. They just opened fire as if it was warfare. Anybody that was there will quickly pass them for hired assassins. Because normal kidnappers come after their victim and protect them from not being hurt because they would want to demand a ransom. But these ones, from behind, they opened fire. If you see the jeep, you will be surprised. We were going to Benin and I was saying, when we get to Benin, we look for a place to lodge and in the morning we go with the first flight, which had already been booked.
What day exactly did this happen?
That was on Saturday. On the 10th of March.
How long were you with them and where exactly did they take you to?
Where did they take you to or keep you?
Normally, the moment they came to where our vehicle stopped, they thought they were coming to bring out dead bodies. But when they saw me coming out, one of them said ah-ah, onwero kwa mgbo turu ya (meaning none of the bullets touched him). They saw my PA come out; my driver came out. It was only my security detail who jumped out that was killed. So, the moment we came out, we were blind-folded. They put us inside their vehicle and sped off. Physically, when you are blindfolded, you cannot say anything about the location or direction that you are taken to.
In their custody now, were they nice or nasty to you? Were they giving you something to eat, allowing you to move around, etc?
There is nothing good about evil. You see, there is no way somebody who shot your vehicle with over 300 bullets, you can’t say that person is nice to you. People who killed your security orderly, you can’t say they are nice to you. We were in their custody, not only me. Other people were there also. I was there with the former Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Dikeocha. Apparently, we were released almost in the same week…
What were they feeding you people? What kind of food did they make available to you and the others?
What kind of food? Like me, I was on fasting.
How about the other people, the other victims? Were they well treated?
Like I said, there’s no good in evil. There’s no good about evil.
We understand that on that day you were released, they took you to your father’s compound and handed you over to your people, why?
Yes! Yeah, you see…
(Interruption) – Where are you even from, to start with?
I’m from Anambra State, Orumba local government. What happened is this – when you touch the wrong people, wrong things happen. They kept on having sleepless nights. They couldn’t sleep and all their years in this business, it had not happened to them. An angel kept on appearing to them, ‘If you don’t let him go, you will never sleep’. The trouble became so much that even when they took drugs, medication to enable them sleep, the sleep still will not come. So, the thing became worse and came to a climax on the Sunday before last Monday that I was released. They couldn’t sleep. They came that night, they said pastor, man of God, whatever you are, we have to release you and let you go. We can’t keep you anymore, we can’t keep you anymore. That they had instruction; that the same angel told them, they were the only ones seeing him. They were troubled. That they must go and drop me in the place I came from. So, they asked me, I said this is my place, they took me, I was blindfolded, to my village. On getting to my village, they now opened my eyes. They said I should begin to direct them. I directed them. We got to my father’s compound, they stopped. They didn’t go, they followed me into the compound. Meanwhile, when we got there, my parents and other people were doing night vigil…
Around what time was this?
10.30pm/11pm. They brought me in and they started telling my parents their ordeal. They later asked me to pray for them and to forgive them. They told my parents their encounter. They were there for close to 45 minutes.
Are you in touch with them? Have they called you after your release, may be to return the ransom, especially after they asked you to pray for them and also asked for your forgiveness?
I can’t be in touch with them because my telephones…when this happened, my telephones and everything were taken from me. My phones are with them.
So, how come they still collected a ransom?
I was not in there, I was not aware of any ransom paid. They let me go on Monday and on Wednesday my PA was released. On Thursday too, just like I told Hon. Dikeocha that he would be released, he was released.
What’s your PA’s name?
Pastor Tony. He’s right there (points to him).
What do you think could have led to your kidnap?
You see, any time God wants to promote a man, any time God wants to lift you…Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego were taken to firing furnace; not as a result of any fault of theirs, but the Bible says after they were taken into the firing furnace, when they came out, there was a decree. The king said ‘No other God can save in this manner’. That from today, everybody must worship the God of Shedrack, Meshack and Abednego. So, when we talk about God’s power, it’s not just spiritual. It’s a mandate that God gave to me. I didn’t go to a Bible school to become a pastor. I was born to do what I’m doing. I’ve been prophesying from the age of eight. If God is not with you, you can’t go on such journey and come back.
Now that you’ve brushed that aspect of you, may we know how God called you?
Okay! In Jeremiah, Chapter 1 vs 5, God said to Jeremiah before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I know who you are and I’ve made you, ordained you a prophet to the nations. So, there are born prophets. People who are born prophets, from their mothers’ wombs? Nobody prayed for me to be a prophet, nobody ordained me a prophet, I was born a prophet from my mother’s womb.
Your ministry, when did it start?
We did our 8th anniversary last year November, so we will be doing our 9th anniversary this year.
How did you come about the name of your ministry?
God gave me the vision while I was still in school. I wrote it down in my diary…
(Interruption) – Which school did you attend?
Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma.
What course did you study?
Business Administration. God gave me the name. I was praying when He said I’ve set up apart to do my work. He showed me in a vision. I was on a mountain. Multitude of people surrounded the mountain, they were thirsty. All of a sudden, I heard the voice of the Lord, He said touch the mountain and pray and when I touched the mountain, water was gushing out from every part of it and those that were thirsty started drinking out of the water and rejoicing. God said I’ve brought you on top of the mountain to liberate mankind. And He said turn to the right, and I saw it written ‘Mountain of Liberation and Miracle Ministries’. That’s how the name came and from that time, it has been a mountain that when you connect to, God intervenes.
Before you set up your ministry, where were you worshipping?
Well, in my family, we were born into Anglican background.
There are too many myths and controversies surrounding your person, how do you cope with all that?
Any time you do a different thing from the natural, you must be controversial. Jesus was a controversial figure. What made him controversial? You see, this man Jesus, by what means was He performing His miracles? That alone made Him controversial. The Bible said He went to His home land and He could not do much miracles because they didn’t believe in Him. In other quarters, He was a Messiah. So, He was controversial. Jesus healed on the Sabbath day, it made Him controversial. There are people who entered the ministry and they were not called. I’m not surprised. There are pastors who are not even called, but when they see the supernatural happen, they glorify the devil instead of to glorify God.
People say you are doing things that even Jesus didn’t do; that some of your miracles are outlandish and outrageous…
Let me say this – The Bible said in John, Chapter 20; the whole of the Bible will not be able to record the miracles that Jesus did. Then, again, Jesus said you shall do greater things than I. So, the greater things mean if Jesus did one miracle, I’m supposed to do two, if He called me. Something happened between Elijah and Elisha. Elijah did 16 miracles and when Elijah was about to go, he said before I go today, what shall be given unto you? And they told him. They said we need nothing from you expect the double portion. The double portion means if my master had done one, I should do two. And any time God uses you to do something different, you must be controversial. God said to me you will do this – I hear and I see and I do what God has asked me to do. So, I must be controversial. Except I become ordinary. As long as I’m a supernatural human being, I will continue to be controversial.
One of the things people have against you is this idea of pouring water on someone and blood will begin to gush out…
I don’t know why somebody should have problem with that when Jesus turned water into wine. If Jesus could turn water into wine and He told me I will do more than this, why would there be any problem about that? If Jesus divided the water, why would there be problem about that? Thank God the people said I poured water. Jesus said, if all these miracles I do, if they are by the power of Beelzebub…He said a kingdom that divides against each other cannot stand. Let me ask you a question, if a native doctor and a pastor stand. And the native doctor is shot and the native doctor does not die. And a pastor is shot and the pastor dies, which power would you say is superior? (General laughter- It’s a dicey question, but God’s power is superior and will always be). So, if God’s power is superior, that means in the first place the person was not called. The Bible said Elijah gathered himself with 450 prophets of baal and Elijah said one thing.
He said choose one bullock and I choose one. He said you pray to your God, let me pray to my God. He said the God that answereth by fire, let Him be my God! The Bible says greater is he that is in me that he that is in the world. No man born of a woman can kill me. I told my people in the congregation, the day I will go, the day God will call me home, He will tell me, I will come to the congregation and tell my people good bye, I am going back to my maker. The time has come. So, no man can do that. Those who know me very well know that it was not possible for me to die in that journey.
At the thick of your kidnap saga, there was a tale that you went to get more power and only deployed the kidnap story to mislead people? People said you went to fortify yourself…
What do you have to say about a man who has fasted for five years? What do you say about a man who fasts everyday of his life? As at the time thing this thing happened, I was already close to 90 days of fasting and praying. From January 1, I fast every day till now. I pray for seven hours, I pray for 12 hours. Let me tell you something, as a student, if you read all through the night, you don’t expect to get the same result with a gangster, a cultist who doesn’t read. You see, power does not just come. When you are gifted, you stir up the power. That’s why the Bible says you stir up the gift in you. How do you stir it up? You pray, because when there is a man to pray, there is a God to answer. You don’t compare me – someone who fasts everyday – to others. Go to my congregation, they know that this man is a man of fasting and prayers; that this man is a man of sacrifice. I know what they don’t know. I told them before that every Christian should be occultic in nature; they have a problem with that. They said what? God told me, He said until you die, you will make sacrifice. I’ve given out 22 cars. Ask Bishop, he will tell you. Ask anybody who knows me. Because I know where I am coming from. So, if they say I have gone to get power, the person is correct. The means is Holy Ghost. If there is any other means greater than Holy Ghost, I would want to go for the means also.
What is your relationship with other men of God, most of them don’t seem to like you and your style?
Yeah! You see, any time you are outstanding, men will be against you. If Dr. Chris Okafor is a nobody, nobody will be against him. But because Dr. Chris Okafor is making an impact…What did Jesus do for people to be against Him? The only thing you need to do for people to be against you, number one – be outstanding in what God asked you to do. Now, if you see all these pastors speaking against me and myself, who is me renowned, who is known? And how many of us are making impact? These people are just confined to the four walls of their churches, talking to their members. Dr. Chris Okafor does not sleep in his house. I am always on the road. I am always on the road, travelling to do the work of God. I don’t gossip with them. I was praying for one of my sons, a commissioner of police. He left not too long ago. So, you see these people, there is nothing they cannot say. But look at them and look at myself. The only thing that cancels insult is result. If you get results, insults will go and in the midst of the results, everybody will not be happy with you.
Do you belong to PFN or CAN or you are a solo preacher?
I believe in all of them.
Which one do you belong to specifically? We know you believe in both…
PFN, that is Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria; CAN, Christian Association of Nigeria. I believe in them and I am involved in them.
People say you can see someone for the first time and tell him everything about him. Is that power genuine?
You see, people have problem when they refuse to understand. Anything you don’t understand is bigger than you. I will like to read a place in the Bible. The Bible said Jesus was walking one day, he saw a man, Zaccheus, climb a tree just to see Jesus. Jesus had never met the man before, but Jesus mentioned the name of the man. He said Zaccheus, come down, I’m going to dine in your house today. Who told Jesus the name of the man? John Chapter 4, from verse 16, Jesus said to a woman, go and call your husband and come here. The woman answered and said I have no husband. Jesus said to her, you have well said you have no husband, for you have had five husbands and the one whom you now have is not your husband. The woman said to Him, sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped on this mountain and you Jews said that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship. Jesus said to her, woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem worship the father. You worship what you do not know. Now, if you read on, the Bible says the woman went to the city and began to announce, come and see a man who I never knew from Adam, but he told me everything about me. Was Jesus not prophesying? That was prophesy. Jesus never knew the woman from Adam, but Jesus said go and call your husband. She said I have none, Jesus said you have spoken right for the first time. He said you are married to five men, but you are not living with any of them. How did Jesus know?
Let’s even talk about you, who is Prophet Chris Okafor?
Prophet (Dr.) Chris Okafor is a humble servant of God. But when people see him from outside, they say the man has pride. But you are the one sitting with me here. You can see that the man is down to earth, humble, just like his master, Jesus. Prophet Chris Okafor is a man of God that God sent to this generation, to Africa and to the world at large. That’s why people travel from every part of the world to come and worship in that place; to come and see me, because when you have an encounter with me, there is a word for you. You see, there are prophets, there are people who see, but Prophet Chris Okafor is a unique prophet different from others. He’s not just a man who guesses, he’s a man who says this is what God is saying and he gives you the solutions. And there is confirmation and manifestation of God with wonders.
Tell us about your childhood, where did you grow up and so on?
I’m from Anambra State, Orumba, in Ihite-Umunze. I was born in Edo State, Benin specifically. Grew up there, schooled there, before I came to Lagos…
Which schools did you attend?
I went to a primary school they call Ohoba, I went to Edo College, then I went to Ekpoma, Ambrose Alli University.
How old is Prophet Okafor, you look very young?
Prophet Chris Okafor is a full blown adult (Laughs).
You don’t look 40 yet or you are above that?
Prophet Chris Okafor is a full blown adult that very soon, not too many years from now, will start having grand children.
Tell us about your family.
I have a wonderful family. I am married with lovely children. My wife’s name is Pastor (Mrs.) Bessie. My first child is Chinyere Okafor, the second one is Amarachi, the third one, junior, is Chris Okafor. Chris Evidence Okafor and the fourth one – Chidera.
Besides reading your Bible and maybe fasting like you said, what other things do you do to keep yourself busy?
The only thing that makes me happy, that I know how to do, is the work of my father. If I open my knees for you, you will see the knees of the man. The man is white in body, but his knees are black because of praying and fasting. I’m the only person who doesn’t go for holidays. I work round the clock because every soul is important to Jesus. Every soul! Last year, we visited about 23 states and also travelled outside. It’s not easy to be making impact in this nation, making impact outside. Before this thing happened, I was supposed to be in Cameroun the following week.
Too many stories are woven around you already, what is the worst thing you have heard people say about you?
The worst thing? (Smiles) The worst thing? (Thinks). May be because I don’t listen to them. One thing everybody must understand, even you as a journalist, you have challenges. Not all your journalist colleagues love you. If everybody loves what you are doing, it means what you are doing, you are not making any impact. But if people say where did he come out from all of sudden, it is natural.
What is the nicest thing that you’ve heard people say about you?
Nicest thing? I don’t like people praising me. Let all glory go to God. I’m using this opportunity also to appreciate some men of God like Bishop Idahosa, Chigbundu… The nicest thing, the nicest thing (Thinks)…Maybe because I don’t listen. I don’t want somebody to praise me. I don’t want to hear anything that will get into my head and make me think I’m great. Just say that God is using me and I will appreciate that. Because the gift is not my own.
Lastly, why do they call you O’ Talk Na Do?
It’s because when God talks through me, it happens. O’Talk Na Do means the confirmation of God’s word through me.