IN this era of inelegant entitlements and overdose of corruption, Nigeria, like a drunken sailor, is bound to mistake vices for virtues and hysteria for history.

Because of the unprecedented corruption in the land, our collective redemption, hinges on the few who are unblemished and visionary enough to give hope to citizens mired in the present self-inflicted maelstrom.

One such person is Dr. David Olaniyi Oyedepo, who is 56 years old today. Dr. Oyedepo, has within this span of life, garnered an intimidating record of achievements.

Now let us take a snapshot of his profile: a man of humble beginnings, raised like any other folk in rural Kwara State, went to public schools all his life but by dint of hard work and dogged pursuit of vision has successfully powered himself and thousands of others out of want and self doubt.

To those who know him, Dr. Oyedepo is a dynamo. By today’s count, he has authored more than 60 life-transforming books, sits atop a ministry that has branches in all continents of the world; and specifically with parishes located in about 40 nations of Africa.

He is Chancellor of the young, visionary Covenant University, and he is about to inaugurate a similar institution, Landmark University, in Omu-Aran, his home town.

He is Chairman of Dominion Publishing House, reputed to be one of the busiest press houses in sub-Sahara Africa. He has won accolades both at home and abroad as a gifted and an uncommon Bible preacher. His exploits in ministry have provided employment for thousands of people.

And Dr. Oyedepo has a great family, whose quintessence is his wife, Pastor Faith Oyedepo.  Dr. Oyedepo is also an epitome of generosity as he is continually giving to individual, community, local and international causes. An enigmatic character, who in spite of his contributions and open door policy, remains an intriguing personality to many people.

While many admirers see him as a personification of piety, hard work, integrity and love, he is a butt of rabid criticisms in the hand of cynics and skeptics; who just take delight in faulting him to gain cheap publicity.

However, no matter the side of the tossed coin that comes up, the truth remains that only fools will doubt the proofs of his influence, power, position and the worldwide popularity of his ministry, a.k.a., Winners Chapel.

Again, what these cynics and skeptics do not know about him is that he is humble and is a great servant of God, unwavering in the pursuit of his divine vision. That is one area Dr. Oyedepo does not comprise. Consequently, the vision has birthed sprawling organizations that make him look like an emperor in the eyes of do-gooders.

I have even read, in the time past, a newspaper write up that cynically compared him to a Chief Executive Officer of a multibillion naira corporation.

Although, what many of these people do not know or appreciate is the fact that Dr. Oyedepo’s vision is the kernel of his success. His message, derived from the word of God, forms the transformative power of his exploits. The truth is: the Word of God is the fire of his power.

To the uninitiated, and the so-called enlightened critics, it should be told that Dr. Oyedepo’s purpose in life is not just about making money, though money is a defence, his goal is to empower believers through the word of life.

The life in the word of God is so powerful that when fools or failures come in contact with it, their lives begin to have meanings. And until life begins to be meaningful, it is a waste. Until it is focused on a vision, life is in a blind alley.

Take it or leave it, visions are what made great people and great nations. There is no great nation without an enduring founding vision. Vision is the powerhouse that generates the energy with which to excel. It is the engine room of achievement and excellence. No wonder, the sacred book, the Bible, states that without vision the people perish

Herein lies the lesson of the power of vision. Can we say the same thing about our dear country, Nigeria? What is the vision that is driving Nigeria for the next 50 years?

Is it oil or corruption? Do I hear you say, zoning? Where do we want Nigeria to be in the next 50 years? What country is Nigeria modeling after? Saudi Arabia? Or is it South Korea or France? The truth is without a vision Nigeria goes nowhere.

A nation without a vision is like a passenger at the popular Iddo motor park who does not know his destination. He is at the mercy of “agberos” and “bolekajas.”. Could that be the reason why kidnappers, armed robbers and kleptomaniacs are having field day in the nation? Your guess is as good as mine.

For Nigeria to move confidently forward in the 21st century, it must have a vision; not the paper load, called Vision 202020 that is periodically dusted off from the cabinet in Aso Rock.

The vision that powers great nations is a mantra of core beliefs, articulated in clear terms that the man from Kano, Maiduguri, Calabar, Badagry and Abakaliki can proudly key into. Nigeria therefore has to emulate her citizens that are doing extraordinary exploits through the passionate pursuit of vision. Vision is a force that coalesces diverse groups into a powerful pool of energy. That is the roadmap to development and national integration.

Today, Ijoin millions of people world wide to say: Hurrah! Happy Birthday! to a great alumnus of my alma mater and our own Akanda Eledumare, Dr. David Olaniyi Oyedepo.

Happy birthday Papa!! !

*Segun Olanipekun, a former political editor of NAN, writes from Howard University, Washington, DC.

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