‘Crusade Against Graft Would Succeed Only If It’s Fought Collectively’
Tony Okechukwu Okafor is the President, Men of Praise International Fellowship (MPIF). From Thursday, August 20 through Sunday, the 23rd, members of the Fellowship from Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, United States, United Kingdom, France, India and other nations would converge on Randolph Hotel in Port Harcourt for MPIF’s seventh annual convention. Okafor spoke with SEYE OLUMIDE on expectations at the convention and other national issues.
Expectations This is the seventh annual convention of Men of Praise International Fellowship (MPIF). It has been renamed convention because of the other activities incorporated into it.
This year’s theme is ‘The Sons of God’ and we took our text from Romans 8:14 where the Bible says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” For this convention, we have about six objectives we are looking at and believing God to achieve.
First, we want to devote time to honour and celebrate the King of our Kingdom, the Lord Jesus Christ. We will celebrate and Him in deep praises, worship and the way we live by doing things that will please Him.
Secondly, we hope to achieve transformation for the children of God. That is, perfecting the people. It is the will of God that we are formed into the image of Christ.
We believe God that this programme will expose what is the will of God concerning His sons and how one can be adopted into the family of God.
Part of the programme is that the word of God will come in this direction and we have also planned workshop for the three days, which will further expose the character and the will of God concerning His children.
Other activities are also lined up to bring these objectives to pass. It is also going to be a period to nurture and bring together the body of Christ.
We want to bring interaction that will help us to achieve ‘oneness’ in our midst so that the church will truly flourish. We are bringing activities to achieve this; we don’t want to see ethnicity and division but one family and people who share the same character.
We are going to have activities like bonding and others. The fourth one is that this is a period for us to celebrate our seventh year anniversary.
Time would be devoted to celebrate this; God has been graceful to us. It is a period to reflect and look beyond the present and push forward.
We are also looking at what we have achieved in the last seven years and to also pray to God to keep us in focus. We have seen how some ministry started well but derailed along the line. We do not want to see this in MPIF.
This will be a time to re-examine our mission and vision. Another thing we intend to do is to impact the society. It is not just about us because Jesus didn’t call us to be us alone but to share His grace and His love to the world.
We need to impact people. For this year we have decided to visit hospitals and reach out to sick people. We are starting in Ghana and Nigeria. We are also going to intercede for the nation.
You can see what terrorism is doing to us; there is the need to pray for divine intervention because the body of Christ is also affected by the activities of terrorists.
The final thing we hope to achieve is that by His grace, we want to attract more people into the Kingdom. Strides made by Fellowship thus far In the previous conventions, God gave us rapid growth.
One of the greatest achievements is discipleship; people are beginning to understand what God’s word is all about and they are living it. Testimonies abound and I can tell you there are people who have testified that their families changed for the better when they encountered MPIF. For instance, last year we had our exhibition on our various businesses, which are meant to harness resources of the earth. We have moved ahead from where we were before.
Today, MPIF has employed a great number of people and our workers are doing better. In the area of business, we have achieved a lot. Also, in the areas of family, many families have re-united.
In a nutshell it’s been a huge success. The nature of our programme is becoming more spiritual and impactful. Many people are turning to Jesus through our messages. There is actually a re-orientation.
MPIF emphasis on salvation and marriage The issue is that people have misunderstood salvation. The whole essence of salvation is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and not just about the death.
If you remove the resurrection of Jesus then salvation is not complete. With His death, he destroyed every ordinances and handwriting of the power holding us down. He destroyed those things that gave the devil power over us; those powers of darkness that held people down, He took them to the cross and nailed them and saved us.
In the resurrection, Jesus gave us new life. The whole essence of salvation is to bring us back to the place of glory; to conform us back to the sinless image of God and one important thing is that without the new life, you can never please God.
Except you live that new life in Jesus Christ, you cannot dominate the earth. That is why you see many people in the church always sick, you see the poor and all manner of things that does not conform to what God offers us through Jesus Christ.
The power to overcome all things is embedded in sonship because in salvation, I mean if you are truly saved, the enemy can do nothing about you.
Another vital area is marriage and I want you to believe that to propagate the Kingdom of God, it has to start from the home. God created male and female and ordered them to multiply.
For the kingdom to be restored and move forward, that which was destroyed in the Garden of Eden needs to be restored. That’s why we focus also on marriage. If the marriage is not one, we get mix breed children.
The children cannot be better and well trained if the marriage is bad. MPIF has a lot of programmes to assist the growth and oneness of marriage. A good and solid marriage is key, not just to the church but also to the nation.
If father and mother are not well discipled, we will see children that are also not discipled. MPIF wants to raise couples that will raise children that will showcase God.
These are the reasons we lay emphasis on salvation and marriage. Except the families are okay, the corporate church can’t do much. Role of the Church in 2015 election and allegation of cash gifts to Church leaders FOR me, most of the allegations against the church leadership about money were read on the pages of the newspapers; some of them are not verified.
But whatever the case is, if those things are true, it is most unfortunate. In every society, the church has a role to play. church has the responsibility to pray to God for His will on those who will man the affairs of the state. The fact is that if there are crisis it will also be difficult for anybody to function, even the church.
The church has the responsibility but not basically to support any political party. Why it is very important to allow God select our leader is that by human nature we might not be able to know what a man is capable of doing neither can you know what God grants a particular person.
It may not be the type of person we want or someone from the religion we want but at the end of the day, God has used various people to achieve what He wants to achieve.
It is unfortunate that such rumour came out but if it is true that the Church leaders collected any money, we condemn it in totality. How Nigeria can overcome corruption We cannot fight corruption by looking at human beings; the best approach is to create institutions that will have inbuilt check and balances.
The kind of things I see in Nigeria like the EFCC and ICPC are only effective because of the man at the helm of affairs, when he leaves most of the agencies are weakened. But when an institution is in place with the right indices and checks and balances, no matter who is at the helm, the system continues to flow.
Where I see the church playing a role is that some of the people in government are members of churches. The church needs to disciple the people of God.
When we send disciples to government, they go there not to represent their pockets, their families or wealth but to represent the righteousness of God. When we have such in government, the Bible says the people rejoice when the righteous are in power.
Appeal to Federal Government on infrastructure I want to appeal to the Federal Government to embark on massive infrastructural development of the country, particularly the roads and poor electricity.
It is indeed urgent and necessary for President Muhammadu Buhari and his Vice, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to commence massive rehabilitation and construction of federal roads with the aim of preserving lives, reducing accidents and time wasted during travelling hours most of which are often caused due to the deplorable state of Nigeria roads.