Apostle Dr. James Idong, general overseer of Alive Tabernacle, Lagos, has explained the importance of good character and integrity in the lives of believers and nation building. Idong, in the below interview with Christian Benefits on his ministry and the 2023 Nigeria’s presidential election, appeals to Nigerians to reject godfatherism to vote a candidate with good character and integrity as Nigeria’s next president in 2023. Excerpts.
Please, can we meet you sir?
I am Apostle Dr. James Idong; an apostle, prophet and teacher of the word of God by calling; and the general overseer of Alive Tabernacle, Orile Agege, Lagos.
Briefly share with us about the beginning of Alive Tabernacle
Alive Tabernacle started in 2004 after my exit as a district pastor under another ministry. Before my exit, one particular night I had a dream in which God took me to a forest and showed me two different races of people; the black and the white. While I was teaching the white the Lord said I had stopped teaching the black because they were no longer listening to me. I saw the white followed me out of the forest. When I woke up I shared the revelation with my bishop, he said it was time to start my ministry, and he released and supported me to fulfill my ministry.
From that encounter or revelation what is God’s mandate to your ministry?
The mandate is to go into the valley to bring the captives out of the dungeon of the devil and make them giants for Christ. When the Lord gave me this mandate, He referred me to a “drama” between Him and Ezekiel in the valley of dry bones. So, with this mandate every of my messages is centered on taking the captives out of the dungeon of the devil and make them giants for Christ. The ministry started with minnows, but to the glory of God today we have raised giants for Christ out of the nonentities. This makes me unperturbed about what other ministers preach.
What are the gifts God endowed you for this mandate?
As I said, I’m an apostle, prophet, teacher and preacher of the word of God.
How will you describe your experience in the ministry over the years?
David said in the scripture that His rod and His staff comfort me. The rod implies punishment or troubles while the staff implies support. Over the years I have had both the rod and the staff experiences in the ministry for my own growth. No minister will deny not having experienced both the rod and the staff in ministry. In ministry, the rod aims to either correct or frustrate one while the staff aims to restore one.
What is your motivation at the moments of the rod experience in ministry?
The motivation is each time I face the rod the staff appears to relieve me. Calling is not about enjoyment. The proofs of calling are the reliefs in the times of pains.
Tell us about Alive Tabernacle’s yearly conference every January
Alive Tabernacle annual conference every January is the yearly starting point of the activities of the ministry for the new year. The theme of this year’s conference was: A great Catch, established in the scripture where Peter toiled all night fishing but catching nothing.What occurred in that scripture has to do with character. Peter had every reason to get angry for the fact that having toiled all night fishing and catching nothing yet here came a stranger asking to borrow his canoe. Instead, he accepted to borrow his canoe to the stranger. And the stranger (Jesus) bountifully rewarded him with a great catch after all night toiling without a single catch. The purpose of this year’s conference is to win more souls for the Lord this year 2022. So far this year, to the glory of God we have caught (won) more souls for Christ.
Aside working as the general overseer of Alive Tabernacle, you are notable for your service to the body of Christ, working in the security arm of the Lagos state PFN. What is the motivation behind your service to the body of Christ?
I believe ministry is service and vice versa. My service both in my ministry and in the body of Christ offers me greater opportunities to further serve the Lord. Service gives me joy. One benefit of service is sound health. I’m unstoppable in service.
What’s the place of character and service in the life of a believer?
If you are gifted do not depend on that alone to bless or profit you. Gifting without good character is unprofitable. Nathaniel Bassey, for instance, is highly favoured by Pastor Adeboye for his good character. It is not just about his gifting and grace of singing, but his good character he portrays that brings him before the great and the mighty. It is good character that sustains gifting. Some people are unaware of their poor character until people tell them. Those who are aware of their poor character must be humble to acknowledge it in order to be delivered from it. Many people may pardon immorality but can’t pardon bad characters like pride and arrogance.
Who are those you look up to as your mentors in ministry?
I am very careful in choosing or following mentors. The father who consecrated me made some unpleasant requests that discouraged me. I have been embarrassed by lots of fellow minsters who looked down on me as an ordinary security officer in Lagos state PFN. Many of them were shocked when they discovered I head a larger church than them. The table turned and they started worming themselves to embrace me. While I respect elders and leaders in the faith I submit to Jesus alone as my mentor.
What are your expectations from the 2023 Nigeria’s presidential election?
On the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria, I expect all Nigerians to finally break from the chains of godfatherism in the Nigeria politics and vote a candidate with good character and integrity as Nigeria’s next president in 2023. Nigeria’s major leadership problem is godfatherism. This is now worsened and worrisome that the political godfathers in this country are now flagrantly putting their family members; wives, children and relatives in political offices or establishments. The so-called political godfathers now make their wife or children as their successors. They don’t want to leave government, so they put their family members as their successors. They want to entrench their family influence and control of government by putting their wives, children and grandchildren in government despite the fact that they lack good character and integrity. They only have ill-gotten wealth to throw round. In the coming presidential election, I am praying and and the whole church is praying because there is a man called Peter Obi. If given the opportunity of becoming Nigeria’s next president in 2023, with the good things we have read and heard about him, he would be able to manage our resources and economy effectively. I believe God will do something positive about the election because this is the first time most Reverend fathers in the country are motivating and directing all their Catholic members to vote this one man as Nigeria’s next president in 2023. Almost every genuine Christian in the Nigeria is looking at bringing this one man to be voted Nigeria’s president in 2023 because of his good character and integrity. He has a very good character.
Good character and integrity aside, there is a view in some quarters that he lacks the needed structure nationwide to win the 2023 presidential election
Of course having physical structure nationwide influences elections but looking at the massive human structure of the Peter Obi movement nationwide can be the game changer. I know that lots of people, mostly Nigerian youths are establishing his presence nationwide massively. They are building and mobilizing millions of youths in all the states of the country as his supporters. So, left for many Nigerian youths and others who are deeply disenchanted with the failures in power of both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), are massively supporting Mr. Peter Obi and the Labour Party to win the 2023 presidential election. I think the grassroots have been settled. Let us see what the Lord will do. The grassroots may not be settled but God can intervene. When God is involved He can turn things around for Nigeria for good through Mr. Peter Obi.