Dr. Samson Makinwa, the Presiding Pastor of Kingdom of Light Ministries (KLM) Idimu, Lagos, reflects on his life as he clocked 70 years old on February 3, 2021, and remarks that he is a product of grace and hard work. The entrepreneurial pastor, who is also the CEO of Techo-Quip Ltd shares in the below interview with Christian Benefits his journey in life from his village to the global stage. Excerpts.
Sir congratulations on your 70th birthday. Please can we meet you?
My name is Samson Iyinola Makinwa from Ondo state. I am the Chairman/CEO of Techo-Quip Ltd and the Presiding Pastor of Kingdom of Light Ministries (KLM).
How does it feel clocking the proverbial 70 years on earth?
I feel like I am 45 year old. I see 70 as a figure. What you see is what you become. I don’t look at my physical changes. I am driven by the vision I see for the future.
What are you most grateful to God for at 70 years?
I am most grateful to God for my salvation. It is by God’s grace that we have had children, resources and assets; both in the secular and the ministry at 70 years. My salvation is my ticket to eternal life with Christ Jesus. You can lose assets, wealth and other material possessions. But if you have a ticket to heaven you have it all.
What has life taught you at 70?
I have collated 64 lessons that life has taught me. I am writing 52 of the lessons in a book to enable the readers learn a lesson per week. I have traveled widely within and outside Nigeria; from my village to towns, cities and nations. I have garnered different experiences both in business and ministry. My focus now is to share my experiences in churches and at seminars for the benefits of others. Before I leave the scene onto glory I would have raised front line leaders in business and ministry.
Can we have a look at your upbringing?
I came from a polygamous home. My father must have died at 117 years old when I was 11 years old. My mother is still alive at 112 years old. When my father lost his first wife he married my mother at her very tender age. The first three children of my father are older than my mother. I was told that my father was hard working. My mother too is hard working. Hard work runs in our family gene. I inherited wisdom from my father and hard work from my mother. I grew up in our village until I was around 17 years old. I started school in our village before I came to town to complete my primary, secondary and tertiary education. From the age of eleven it was my mother who took care of me. It was easy taking care of village children because we ate whatever we saw. We didn’t wear special clothes except on Christmas when we also ate rice. We wore clothes sown with the sack of salt.
Share with us your childhood memories like naughty things you did as a kid?
Back in those days some of the girls in our village returned from the city and started wearing shimmy (underwear) under their clothes. Other girls in the village started imitating them by wearing underwear under their clothes. Unfortunately, whenever they wore their underwear it would appear outside their clothes. As kids whenever we saw any of the girls whose underwear appeared outside her clothes we would mock her by singing that her Sunday is appearing under Saturday.
How will you describe the kind of training your parents gave to you?
My mother taught and gave us good moral. Though she was religious she was not a church going person. She liked successful people. She always drew our attention to successful people and encouraged us to follow their path. She preferred one builds a house instead of buying a car. My mother would say until you build a house you haven’t made a mark on earth. When I started my business in a small shop my first target was to build a house for the business. I developed the idea from my mother. My brothers farmed to fend for the family since we had no father to fend for us. It was then it dawn on me that hard work is important. If you are hard working you can become whoever you desire in life. When I came to Lagos to work my mother prayed for me. She told me remember the son of whom you are. Your father didn’t tarnish the family name. So, don’t tarnish the family name when you get to Lagos. My mother also taught us to be truthful, faithful, honest and transparent.
While growing up was there any prophecy that you would become a pastor?
There was no prophecy that I would become a pastor. There was also no prophecy that I would become successful because eyes were not on me. So, I was never a target of witches and wizards. I was the last child of my parents. However, there was a particular man who said I would become a reverend. There was a small church in our village led by a reverend. Then there were only seven buildings in our village. That man said my father said I would become a reverend. I loved the reverend. I would take his robe after wearing his inner cloth. I ran errands for him.
Briefly share with us your rebirth encounter by which you became a believer?
When I came to Lagos I had a rough life living with my brother who was a military officer. We shared a room with his girlfriend. The lady didn’t like it, so I moved to a smaller apartment in Ajegunle and started smoking, drinking alcohol and womanizing. I started doing things I couldn’t do in the village. This prolonged my years in poverty because I was unserious. I moved with unserious people. It took me 40 years before I got born again. Something opened my eyes to my poverty condition. I was working for someone as a marketer. I went to India for studies and returned to Ajegunle. Back then the poverty in India and Ajegunle were the same. I engaged in local politics and lived in poverty in one room with my wife and kids. One day a particular man came to our shop to buy an item. I looked at him and recalled that he was my cousin, but he didn’t recognize me. I was young when he traveled to America. I told my boss to cut the price of the item for the man. I later introduced myself to the man. He was very excited to see me. When he was leaving I whispered to him that the guy (referring to myself) he was seeing was wasting away, and I asked for his assistance. He told me to meet him somewhere at Apapa. When I got to the place on a Sunday morning I met a church service. I saw him singing in the service. That place was a cinema hall. I entered the hall. In the course of the service I felt dejected. Something told me this was where I belong. As the preacher, Pastor Tony Rapu, was ministering I felt he was preaching about my life. When he finished his sermon, he made the altar call. I came out to the altar and gave my life to Christ. That was how I got born again in 1987 at the Redeemed Christian Church God, Apapa under the ministration of Pastor Tony Rapu.
How will you describe your walk with the Lord since you became born again?
I am enjoying my walk with the Lord by the leading of the Holy Spirit. I teach people how to hear from God by divine GPS. Holy Spirit as your GPS is the only way of getting divine direction. My walk with God is to understand and hear him.
As a young convert who were your role models in the Christian faith?
We had wonderful pastors back then but I looked up to my assembly pastor, Pastor Jaiyeoba as my role model. He was a grassroots pastor, a worker, raiser and builder of ministers. Every servant of God has their uniqueness. There was another servant of God who impacted my life as a young believer. He wasn’t really of a preacher, but whatever he says you can be sure that it will happen. I looked up to them as my mentors and role models. Today, some parish pastors are not fully baked in Christ.
Can you share with us how you received your call into ministry?
When I was at the Redeemed I carried out my work diligently. I was forced to become a worker because my pastor saw some traits in me so he put me in the ministers team. If you give me a work to do, I love to give it my best shot. From there I was ordained a deacon and eventually a pastor. It is easy to work as a pastor in an already established ministry or church like the Redeemed unlike where you head a church. In 2002 God called me to start a new work for him whilst I was on a business trip. I received the call in the midst of my shuttling between India and China. I was in an aircraft heading for China when I slept off and heard God said to me in my sleep float a church for me. So, when I returned to Nigeria I called some ministers to float another assembly for the Redeemed. I had already floated 29 assemblies for the church. The 30th was closed down before I left the church. So, when returned I got some of my ministers to float another assembly for the Redeemed but God said I want you to raise a fresh altar for me, meaning I have to start my own ministry. This came when I had challenges in my business. I closed my eyes and said Lord, if truly you were the one that spoke to me, in my first night in China repeat it. When I got to China I fell into a trance and the Lord repeated it to me. In that same trance I asked God for the name of the church and he showed me a sign like a Muslim language. I said it wasn’t from God. I asked my host the meaning of the sign in Chinese. He said it wasn’t Chinese. I sensed in my spirit God won’t speak to me in Arabic. I decided when I get to the Embassy of Israel I would ask for the meaning of the sign. When I got to the embassy I showed the sign to the security personnel I met and told him I wanted to find out the meaning of the sign. He said he knows the meaning. He said it means the Kingdom of Light. That was how we got the name of the church, Kingdom of Light Ministries.