Apostle Chibuzor Gift Chinyere is a very popular pastor. He is based in Port Harcourt, from where he runs the Omega Power Ministry as General Overseer. He is generally known for his philanthropic activities.
He told TNN in this special interview about his early beginning and exploits as pastor. He also spoke on how politicians flood his church for help.
Let’s start from your sojourn into Pentecostalism. You used to be a Jehovah’s Witness. So, how possible was it to switch from Jehovah’s Witness to core Pentecostal church?
Generally, I was born with this unique gift. I didn’t realize it because in Jehovah’s Witness, they don’t believe in miracles. There is a way they do their own fellowship, they believe everything is coincidence; they believe the years of miracle is over. But God has been using me to do that miracle at that tender age.
While you were in Jehovah’s Witness?
While I was still in Jehovah’s Witness. In fact, there are so many instances but let me just give you one or two. There was an instance where I was in Army children’s school, a friend of mine, both of us want to go and plug fruits; sometimes I will climb up, then I will be plugging the fruit, he will be the one gathering it, because if you are throwing it down, if you don’t have somebody to gather it, some other children will come and steal the fruit. So either he is up or me I’m down. So, a particular day while he was up, suddenly I heard crack and he fell from the tree gbam. I shake him, he couldn’t move again, couldn’t talk, I was scared. Then I didn’t know what ministered to me, I just carried my hand and heat on his chest, as soon as I hit his chest, he woke up. He said what happened, what happened, then we just ran into the class.
One or two cases of when we go for field service, we call it field service, preaching. There was a situation where a child was convulsing. I was so small then, I just went and hit the child on the chest and the convulsion seized. With many other things that have been happening, I knew the gift was there but I didn’t know what it was until when I was about 17years, things were so difficult for my parents, things were so bad. So I ran away from home and I ran to Lagos. First, I ran to Onitsha, from Onitsha I ran to Lagos, it was in Lagos I was invited to a Pentecostal church. When I went there, I now started seeing Pentecostalism and how miracles happen. I say ah ah, this thing is a gift oh! And when I gave my life to Christ, the thing just exploded. When I speak, something it happens, to an extent that even there was a church I was invited sometime ago, that time, and I just ministered that day there was so much miracle, the pastor wanted to keep me, the Lord said no, He wants me to come back to Port Harcourt. So, I came back to Port Harcourt. I came back, still went back to my recharge card business. So, I was selling MTN recharge card until God used somebody, the owner of Sobaz Oil; the daughter was sick and they brought the daughter to me and same hand, just like this hand God, healed the daughter and he asked me what do I want? For six months he has been taking the daughter to so many places, many churches, big names and all that, no way. But when he said what do you want, I said I needed a land to start a church. That’s how he bought the two plots OPM started 15years ago, and today we have spread. We are in America, we are in UK, we are in Kuwait, we are in South- Africa, we are in Dubai, we are in Ghana, Lagos, Abuja, it’s spreading like wide fire.
So, how did you move from selling of recharge cards to becoming a pastor of this level?
I didn’t go to any Bible college. I’ve said it time without number, on television, if anybody can come out and say I know this man, both of us attended the same Bible college… I never attended any formal Bible training, no. I was selling recharge cards and this man the daughter was sick, that’s why I am calling his name, Sobaz Oil, everybody knows him, he’s a very wealthy man, there is nobody that doesn’t know Sobaz Oil, he has filling station so many places and he brought his daughter and God used me to heal the daughter.
And a lot of people say they run to OPM and things happen. How do you do them?
(Laughs) I don’t really know. You see, like I said, it’s not like there is a pamphlet or this is how it’s going to be done, I’ve been in a situation where I was ministering and the Lord said, remove your shoe, give it to that man, and I removed my shoe, the shoe I came with to church and give it to the guy and it exactly entered his leg, I say go and that was how that guy became a multi-millionaire, he’s in the church, I don’t know him before, I was just preaching, sometime I do conventional things, things that are not normal, things that are not, I’ve been in a situation where I am ministering the Lord said, that time I used to wear watch. But now, I don’t wear watch again, but if I show you collection of watches I have, you will be frightened because I receive watch gifts, but now I no longer wear watch for no reason, there is no purpose, nobody will say oh this, I can’t tell you the reason why I am not wearing, I don’t feel comfortable. That day I wore that watch and God said remove it, his time has been put on a pause, give him for his time to speed up and I just removed it and gave him and he went and that was it. His life transformed. So it’s just conventional things, like say coconut. How somebody cannot understand the mystery surrounding how water entered into coconut; that is it. There are different ways, you know, that’s why we say it’s different things, like when we say mercy prayer, things that OPM do are things that are unreasonable. But it has brought so many results, things you say how does it happen? Like our mercy prayer, you stay indoors, just say oh Lord have mercy upon me, you don’t greet anybody, you don’t talk to anybody, you don’t answer your call, but the funny thing is that so many churches are now emulating it. So, so many things we do, and that’s the most important, the result is unbelievable and changing the notion, build the people to build the church. OPM, we concentrate more on the people, than the building. The people alone we have sent abroad this year can be able to build ten fully packaged church buildings, fully air conditioned. But the building is not the church, it is the people inside the building that are the church.
There are some pastors that will tell you oh! They fasted for 40 days and 40 nights to acquire power, some will say they went to the mountain and all kinds of things, which one did you do to get the power?
I don’t know how to fast (laughs). It’s funny, I am telling you. I don’t know how to fast, the highest fasting I can do is one day and that one day na heavy work. I remove my cap for those that do 40 days fasting because I love food. I’ve met some pastors, before they perform a particular miracle, they need to charge up. I didn’t need all those things. I don’t do it, I can just wake up like this, I just pray and it just happens. I don’t put like long prayers, I’m not used to long prayers, I just speak the word and it just happens. It just flows. I can just be sleeping like this, just wake me up, I pray like this kpam, I go back to sleep, that thing has happened. So, it’s not like you have to prepare for a programme, fast for seven days, fast for 30 days. The maximum I can do is that one day mercy prayer, one day fasting, I just try and I do it, yes, connect myself to the spirit. But this one say 40 days, I respect them, I respect them a lot.
And you wouldn’t want to try it at all?
No. I wouldn’t want to try it, I am not the one that killed Jesus, I wouldn’t want to try it.
Alright, but people in your church do fast seven days?
(Cuts in) Yes, I encourage my members to fast.
So, why do you encourage them to fast when you cannot fast?
I don’t know how God bundled this kind of gift in me. It’s amazing, the gift didn’t come because I became born again, the gift came before, while I was smoking. I’ve been in a bunk smoking and I just speak something and it happened. I’ve been in a bunk where I’m smoking and one guy was talking and he was harassing me and talking. I said you, you no go reach house safely, this thing wey you do, for you to insult me you no go reach house, as he was going he was hit by okada. I just spoke it, I didn’t say in Jesus name, I just spoke the word, and the thing just manifested. It’s just a natural gift, that’s why when I was born, my father called me Chibuzor but when things started happening, strange things when I was small my mum now called me Gift. So that’s why my name is Chibuzor Gift Chinyere. So it’s a natural gift, whether born again or no born again, it’s there, it just flows naturally, I don’t need to kick start it, I don’t need to charge it up, like trying to charge battery. I don’t charge it, I just flow. Like before, if not that the clustering, before when I am ministering I enter into the crowd and I begin to touch people, enough manifestation. But the church has become so big that if I enter that crowd they will just tear me into two (laughs). But if you ask people that were members of OPM when I’m ministering, I enter inside and things just begin to manifest.
COVID-19 has been harassing people and there was a time people actually criticized pastors, how come our prophets have not been able to pray for COVID-19 to stop?
Have any COVID-19(patient) come to me? Will I go and look for COVID-19? Did Jesus go and look for the sick people or the sick people came to him?
So are you saying COVID-19 people never came to you for healing, prayer or if they come and…
(cuts in) In fact, there is a testimony on air, the woman had COVID-19, I prayed for her, she is in US, I prayed for her, after praying she went back for test, it was negative.
So would you want to go to any of the isolation centres?
Why will I go there? Did Jesus go to the isolation centres? I’m a disciple of Jesus; I am a follower of Jesus. Did Jesus go to isolation center? The isolation center came to Jesus, none of the disciples, all the disciples of Jesus, the sick people came to him, they were struggling to see him. I mean, if you are sick, it’s somebody that is sick that goes to the hospital, hospitals don’t come to you, who are you that hospital will come to you? Like now, I’m not that kind of pastor that normally run around politicians, politicians come to my house. I don’t go to visit them, I am saying it on air, they come to see me, whether governors, senators, ambassadors they come to my house. I don’t, I’m not those pastors that normally go and line up in Government House to go and collect stipend. How much can they give me, how much can governor give me? For goodness sake, God has blessed me immensely, I can never go and line up and be taking money from politicians, they come to me.
Can we confidently say that if COVID-19 patients come to OPM, they will go back home healed?
They will go back home healed, yes, because there is nothing God cannot do.
Alright, you said you don’t go to politicians but they come to you.
They come to me, at least, I can. I have record of at least six different governors, I was on my own, they called me, they wanted to see me, I gave them appointment, they came and God used me to make them governors.
Before they became governors?
Before they became governors and the one that wanted to go second term and the one that had court case, the court had removed him as governor, he called me and I invited him, he drove down from his state to Rivers State, saw me, I prayed for him, after the prayer, the case went to appeal they reversed it.
In the South-South?
I don’t mention names of these (laughs).
You do coconut mercy prayer and all of that; why coconut?
Well, why did Jesus use sand to pour somebody’s eye? There are different methods of healing, why would Jesus… if now I begin to carry sand now I begin to pour people’s eye that are blind they will say what is this, what is this man doing? Was there anywhere written in the scripture that say before you heal a blind person, you must pour sand on his eyes, is there anywhere? The same thing, is there anywhere written in the Bible where it says somebody that is sick drink coconut water you will be okay? It’s something that will move at that particular time.
So, how did you come about the coconut system?
I got the ministration, God said you are going to use coconut to do holy communion. The way human beings cannot understand how water entered the coconut, that’s how. So buy it from anywhere. I bless it and so many testimonies have been coming out. Let me tell you, if the hand of God is not in it, there will be no testimony. You will not hear any single testimony. Anytime we have that programme, people fly in from outside the country to the programme, Port Harcourt is full, occupied, all the whole hotels are fully booked, anytime we have that programme. It’s because of this COVID-19, that’s why we’ve not had, because it’s a crowd pulling programme, you do it, shut down, the whole place, both coconut in Akwa Ibom, coconut in Cross River, everywhere will finish. If we are having that programme, but because of the COVID-19, I don’t want to because of my relationship with the current governor of Rivers State, I don’t want to be like oh! ‘This man knows this thing and now he is trying to default because he is close to me,’ I don’t want that situation, they say when you are in Rome you behave like Romans. So let me allow everything to go on its own, once everything is clear, government has removed all those, like this third wave they are talking about, once everything is clear, I will resume the programme. We’ve never stopped that programme but testimonies coming from that programme, a lot of barren women have conceived, sick people have been healed, even people that are wretched have become wealthy through that programme, so I can’t stop it.
Are there occasions, situations when you prayed for people and nothing happened?
Yes, because I am not God.
So, how did you feel at that point in time?
I felt bad. I said well everything, glory be to God because it is only God that has the power to say something and that thing must happen. But as a human being we are all children of God, we are all servants of God, anything, it is, you see eh, one is to pray, it is God to seal it, if you pray and God does not seal it, it doesn’t happen, my own is to speak it, if I speak it and God doesn’t stamp it, it doesn’t happen. Like what I say everyday in the church when new members come, I say it every Sunday, if you’ve come to OPM to see me you will be disappointed, but if you’ve come to see God, you will be blessed, I say it every time in church.
Tell me, what worst things have you heard people say about you, especially the things that you do?
(Laughs) They don’t exist, the most thing is progress, progress OPM is making is even frightening me, the church is growing at an unbelievable speed. The resources that come into the church, the resources that came in this Sunday is different from the one that came in last Sunday, it’s increasing, the membership is, people are flocking, you saw on my gate nah, you see that is how it is every day, because it is changing lives, if it is not changing lives people will not be trooping from everywhere to come. So whether you are talking any negative thing about me, it doesn’t exist, it’s like this, you see picture of Buhari and you carry cane begin to flog it, is it affecting Buhari? It’s not. So, it’s like, whenever you are saying it is like, me I don’t even know whether you exist or not, the most important thing is the progress, the church is progressing, running free hospital, free schools, free restaurant, free estate, for goodness sake.
There was a time that when you talked about the person that was going to govern Rivers State, the prediction actually came to pass, 2023 is by the corner, what have you seen, what have you heard about the person that will take over from Nyesom Wike?
When the person comes I will tell the person.
Must the person come?
Of course, if the person comes to me, I will tell him you will be governor, finish.
So, anybody that comes and you tell him you will become governor?
No, not everyone. If I am led to tell you, you are going to become governor… in fact Rotimi Ameachi, I told him he is going to become governor and he became governor, he came to the church and testified in the church. Nyesom Wike I told him, even before he became governor, he became governor.
Alright, the two of them.
I just mentioned because you mentioned, that’s why I said this state, I am talking about from other states, I don’t want to mention.
So how do you feel that Wike and Amaechi are not in talking terms, does it worry you, does it concern you?
Yes, it concerns me because these are two brothers; if they are united, I think we will progress more.
Have you made efforts to talk to two of them, to reconcile their difference and work together?
No, I’ve not.
Because I’ve not been led. I do things when I am led, everything I do when I am led, I do it, and when I do, I come out with result.
There is clamour for power shift from upland in Rivers State…
(cuts in) I don’t know whether power shift or no power shift, if the right person comes to me, I will pray for the person and he will become governor.
So let’s move to the things that you do for people. I have seen a number of people at your gate, in the compound and all of that, but I know that you have just one child, so how come your place is like a market place?
(laughs) Jesus loves children. Even when his disciples tried to drive away children, he said no, leave them, they are mine. Yes, I have a beautiful daughter whom I love so much, she is my bundle of joy, I love her so much. But I love children generally, but I will not say I love children the way I love my daughter, she is the apple of my eyes. I am someone that believes in empowering people, helping the less privileged, I have more than 260 orphans living with me here, yes.
In this compound?
In this compound. It got filled up so I had to buy another house close by, then moved them because they damaged a lot of things because they were so many. They were all here, some of my flower pots that were very expensive, I bought they damaged, damaged, television everything. I said okay, let me buy a house similar to this house, with swimming pool, in GRA, a luxurious house and keep them. So that’s what I did. Since then, they normally come at night for prayer, after prayer they go.
How do you sustain them?
Through tithe and offerings. They have eight cooks.
You cook for them?
Ah! Ah! (laughs) what will they eat? They have eight cooks, as they finish cooking breakfast, immediately they start cooking lunch, because you cannot give gap because it takes time to cook, after finish cooking breakfast, going to launch, after lunch, as they are cooking lunch, go to dinner, they cook round the clock. It’s amazing. That aside, we have militants I rescued from the streets, collected guns handed over to the Nigerian police. If you can go to the commissioner of police and verify, the guns OPM recovered is unprecedented. No one has ever recovered that amount of ammunition, no, none. So, we’ve recovered the gun, then rehabilitated them. We have more than 500 of them who I’m feeding twice a day, but the ladies own, we have another estate I bought. If you know how much I can generate from that estate if I rent it out, I will make a lot of money but I put them there, feed them three times a day, breakfast, lunch and dinner, with their kids and everything, all these are people from the streets. I’m used to accommodating people, that has been my life. Like when I was in Lagos, people in Lagos are also watching they know this. The first house I rented, I had almost seven people living with me who are strangers that are not related to me. I’m used to people living with me. When I married my wife, she came to see me even in the shop, she saw people living with me.
How do you cope with all of these?
Because it’s my life, I don’t know. It’s just me. When you are emulating somebody that is doing something you get frustrated but when you are doing something that is flowing naturally, you get excited. The more you are doing it, you are getting excited. So, that is it, I am not frustrated, God has been providing resources for it and sustaining it.
What’s the age bracket of these children you are talking about?
(cuts in) One year to to 21.
How do you pick them to your house?
Before I pick them, some of them are homeless, like now, when I’m led, I just go outside, pick, select, interview them, know the ones that have genuine cases, then they will go and investigate. Like there were some boys I picked, which day? I can’t remember, about five of them, they were cleaning wiper in traffic and they were frustrated, they just came to my gate and said they want to go to school, they all lied down saying they want to go to school. So I brought them in, they are here with me and they are going to school.
What about their parents?
Yes, we have to go and investigate, we went into their houses one by one. This one said I’ve not seen you for two years oh! I’ve not seen this one for two years oh! This is, ok, OPM carry, carry, carry, all of them know OPM. Some of them are living in waterside, when you go there, ah! This my pikin you run away since we never see you. We go with our video crew because I cannot go. So I need to get the feedback. The video crew will go, video it and bring it back to me so that I can see the reaction of the parents, to know whether maybe they planned it so that whether they can come and stay with me, or whether it’s real. I stayed on my own they wrote me a letter from remand home, some boys; they have been there, they were arrested for pick pocket, they are here.
You can’t release a minor to the public, so, these ones nobody came to collect them because they don’t have father or mother, so because of that some of them have spent extra five years, six years. So, they wrote me a letter. I drove down myself, I didn’t send anybody, I drove down to Port Harcourt remand home. I am calling Rivers State remand home and I said please oh! I received a letter from so, so, so and so, and most of them are just Rivers indigenes, none of them are from Igbo. I said this thing, they called the people out, they wrote me a letter, this, this, this, I want to sign for them. Can they come and stay in my house? In fact one of them now will be travelling to US, we’ve started processing his papers, he passed his exam, he has taken WAEC he passed, he is going to US, some of them are here.
There are many of them like that that I’ve heard that you have taken outside the country.
A lot of them, not related to me. There is a particular case, this boy, somebody came and dumped him in the church, he was quarter to go, quarter to death, quarter, just about to die, they dumped him in the church and disappeared. So normally, when a child comes, we normally go to the police. So the CSO carried the child went to the police. What the police normally do is this, they will take the child to remand home, so they took the child to remand home and they say he was vomiting blood, he was quarter to go. So they rejected the boy. When they rejected him, they took the boy to hospital, the hospital too they rejected the boy, his name is A-boy, he is from Akwa Ibom. They rejected the boy. So the police said look oh, look oh because the boy has HIV one and two and tuberculosis. They were rejecting him everywhere, I tried to say no, I cannot take this boy, because there are other children here. The police said ah, you brought him to us, I said it’s not my job to take care of this boy, it is the duty of the government. When I saw that this boy will just be frustrated, what I did now, I had to move this boy, got a house, employed a girl to take care of him, take him to hospital, go through the training and all that. After that, when he recovered, I sent him to Dubai, yes, to go and do shopping.
How old is he?
A-boy is seven, eight years.
You sent him alone to Dubai?
How can I send him alone. I sent him with our people just to go and do shopping, because I normally send the children that live with me, the same thing my own daughter is enjoying, they are enjoying. My daughter goes for shopping, sometimes I just send her to different countries, though she is in Canada, sometimes I just pick the children and they go, most of them have gone to Kenya, they’ve gone to Dubai, they’ve gone to US, they’ve gone to different places, I sponsor it. They just go and enjoy themselves, but because of me, my programme is so tight, so I’m not able to travel, even Israel.
Okay, so how do you rest?
Normally I go for check-up every January, but for the past two years, I’ve not gone for check-up, I normally go, just relax, no stress, I travel out of this country, my phone will be off, no communication, nobody will see me. But for the past two years I’ve not been able to go because programme is tight. But I know that this January, I will force myself and go.
So, you can admit that things are very, very rough in Nigeria, there is poverty in the land.
There is poverty, lots of poverty. I don’t know whether you know, whether you’ve watched the video, this girl is 18 years old, 18years old, but she has never been to the four walls of any school in her life. Since she was born, she has never entered classroom. The parents locked her in, she and her younger sister inside a room, telling them that everybody outside are evil, that they should not mix up with anybody. So, they were locked in. The father happens to be a pastor. So one day, they just decided to do fasting, on the prayer and fasting the man died, as they were still on the fasting the mother died, so two of them were inside the room, the two children were with the corpse for more than a month, getting to two months, the corpse was smelling, neighbours were perceiving odour, they don’t know where the odour was coming from until the children came out. When the children came out, they said ah, ah, and they told the neighbours and the next thing police came in, saw the corpse, decomposed corpse. It was police that buried them because no relation. They’ve not seen TV, in fact the first time they ate egg was in my house, they don’t know what egg is. The first time they watched TV was in my house. The first time to see, the only thing they had in their house was radio, so they normally hear OPM, so when they were with the police, the police were confused, they didn’t know where to put them. So, the daughter said take us to OPM, we’ve been hearing about OPM and the police brought them and I received them. As I am talking to you, Redemption is studying Mass Comm in Turkey while the younger sister is here. Then, I saw again there are a lot of potentials, a lot of young men that are gifted, they can play football.
In fact, the most expensive land in the world is the graveyard, the most expensive land because there you will see so many undiscovered stars, so I said okay what do I do to help the youths, yes I’ve helped people, I’ve sent doctors abroad, I’ve sent nurses, I’ve sent labourers, people that go to go do different jobs, I’ve sent students, then another way that can really touch this thing is football. So, about two or three months ago I started thinking towards that football, though I am not a footballer, I don’t know anything about football but I have the resources to put into it, so I started going into it, and by the grace of God now we are making arrangement. There is an international scout that God has used to expose so many footballers around the world. In fact, I saw some pictures of some players he has sent abroad in Europe, so that was what moved me, to say if I can partner with this person he can also help these other people.
What will happen to all these things that you have done when you are no more…as it happened at the Synagogue church?
It have laid a foundation for it to flow. It’s flowing automatically. It’s like auto pilot and I don’t think I am going to die right now because I know that I am going to live about 120 years.
You will live for 120 years?
Yes, because God is happy with me. God has used me to touch millions of lives, and He has told me I am going to live so before I go. One thing I tell people, OPM is not a family business, the reason why you see Redeemed is still running, waxing stronger is because the founder did not carry and hand over to family member. I think maybe they made a mistake in that Synagogue, though I am not a member of Synagogue, but I am just saying on my own, I don’t think it could have been a family thing; it should have been the most qualified. I believe in the most qualified. By the grace of God when it’s time for me to go and meet the Lord, the church will be handed over to the most qualified, because it’s not a family business, that’s my own reasoning. A lot of pastors don’t reason the way I reason, a lot of persons, they just have succession plan, their children take over, I am not into that kind of stuff, no.
I like you to talk to the governor of Rivers State. I like you to talk to the president of Nigeria; things are difficult, children are on the streets, people cannot eat. What do you think they have to do to redeem the situation?
They need to do something, they need to do something about it, if a church that is just 15 years can run a free hospital, run a free school, it is real, this can be done. First, I want to talk to my fellow pastors, you can do, there are churches that can comfortably run 1000 free schools, it won’t even shake them, it won’t be like they are spending anything. But they are not doing it. Government can do this, government can run free hospital, if you know the rate of maternity death, people are dying, on daily basis, you will be frightened, but, no, the hospitals are so expensive, schools are so expensive, these things are things they can do to help the common man, let them think of the people first. Like now if I wanted to buy a private jet, I could have bought a private jet, but that is not my priority. My priority is the people, I want to see how I can help as many people as possible.
What’s your target?
First, it was one billion souls but now it has climbed to two billion souls.
That you want to help?
Two billion souls.
Before you turn 120.
Gbam. Go to our website, you will see it. I don’t know whether they have changed it, I put one billion souls, but I changed it to two billion.
Why did you change?
Because I needed to add more people, because the more you are doing this, the more I’m adding more crowd. It will amaze you that the kind of house that God is preparing for me to stay in heaven.
Because each time you do this, each time you change lives, it adds more things to your already blessing. It adds more crown to your crown. So, the more you do it, you are adding more crown. There are people that are going to stay in boys quarters in heaven; there are people that are going to stay in duplex, there are people that are going to stay in mansions.
Which one are you going to stay?
Mansion, of course.