Damina is the General overseer of Power City International, Lagos, a church he founded in 1993. In this interview with Showtime Celebrity, the man of God recounts the story of how his 8-year old daughter, Jaen who holds a lot of promises for her generation in music was kidnapped right under his nose.
He also talks about his ministry, his weakness, and plans to encourage his beautiful daughters’ careers in music amongst other things.
AMADI OGBONNA, Entertainment Editor
You’re a very handsome man and you pastor a church where many beautiful women attend. What’s the major challenge you have doing this?
Well, it’s not just for a handsome man, it is challenging because beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. It is the same thing when anybody does it but choice is the main thing here, you’ve got to make a choice between what you want to do with your life.
And once you’ve made your choice, the grace of God is available to help you overcome the challenges. I ‘ve come across different women across the world because I travel globally to preach the word of God. Whenever they make their passes, I don’t even look at them because my focus is on God.
I know you’d have had embarrassing moment with ladies…
Yes, I had an embarrassing moment with a lady five years ago. One early morning, there was this lady that came my house and knocked on my door. Since I was alone in the house, I went to see who was at the door. I didn’t know it was a lady, I wore a short and a singlet.
As I opened the door, I saw her and asked if all was well that she came to my house this early morning. While I was still talking to her, a brother in my Church drove in, and saw me touching the lady and took off. He concluded that the lady must have slept in my house. That was an embarrassing moment for me.
How did your ministry start?
I grew up in a mission house because my parents were both Pastors. So it was natural for us to serve God.
And every time we went to Church and pastors preach about hell and heaven; it made us gave our lives to Christ. So, only God knows how many times I gave my life to Christ-maybe five hundred times or more (laughs).
Nobody wanted to go to hell. But as I grew up, I started having a true relationship with God. I can’t really say when it started but I eventually gave my life to Christ.
At what point did you know you’d truly given your life to Christ?
I did recognize that I’d given my life to Jesus when my life changed, I had the witness of the Holy Spirit in my heart. Then, I began to go to Church for evangelism, prayer meetings and all. that.
Now, the beginning of my turn around was when we began to pray and God answered our prayers. Then, I just realised that there must be an invisible power somewhere.
Thereafter, I started having communion with God to behold that level of power he demonstrated through my life. And before I knew what was happening, I’d started preaching the word of God to people.
When I also got to School, I started speaking to my friends and they started experiencing God’s divine power in their lives.
Then, I became a fellowship pastor. I enjoyed doing it because I was feeling fulfillment in praying and talking to people about God and getting their problems solved. So, that’s how it continued until I became a preacher.
So, it looked as if God arrested me because I never wanted to become a pastor, having seen what my father experienced while ministering to people. I just wanted to become a businessman; make my money and support the ministers of God.
Did you do it on your own…?
Yes, I did it on my own with my father-I worked with my father in the Church but I was also traveling on my own. Then one day I was in fasting and praying, seeking the face of God to know what he wanted from me. Then he said to me, he raised me to give His flocks quality food. When I heard the voice, I understood the implication of God asking me to feed His sheep.
I knew he wanted me to start my own ministry which I didn’t want to. Then a man of God came to preach at Port-Harcourt.
Immediately I walked into the arena, he said “when are we starting the Church? God has asked you to start a Church? You’ve been running away. He asked me to tell you that he’s the one speaking to you.”
I was shocked because it just happened few days ago and I was still battling with it and I hadn’t told anybody. And here was a great man of God confirming the message.
So, that’s how I started the Power City International in January 3, 1993. I’ve pastored the church from then till date.
You have come across series of challenges and temptations. Would you say the kidnaping of your daughter was the most challenging period of your life?
Yes, the kidnaping of my daughter was the most challenging period of my life. I know what it is like to wake in the morning, and see your daughter prepare for school. Then, she gives you a goodbye kiss, and that was it.
The next thing I heard was my Personal Assistant calling me and asking if I had spoken with Jaen. Then I asked her what for? Then she said she’d been kidnaped. I replied that it wasn’t true.
Before my PA called, gunmen came into my house with AK47. We shut all the doors because we thought they were armed robbers. We started praying before they left. We were still busy celebrating and thanking God that they didn’t harm any of us before I got the call..
Apparently, it could be that my daughter ran into the gunmen while she was leaving the house for school, and she was abducted. The armed men called me later, demanding for a ransom of N50million and I told them that I’ve never seen N50million before in my life. The negotiation continued and they held her for seven days.
Was she hurt?
She was fine. At the end of the seven days, she was released. When they didn’t release her on the sixth day, I was fed up of the whole thing. I couldn’t take it anymore and had to go into prayer and told God that if she wasn’t released the next day, I’d pick up my box and leave the Church for good. Because it would be clear to me that my ministry was over. I was destabilized.
My wife couldn’t take it anymore. She just left her Bible on the TV, watching the TV to distract her mind. I was making up my mind to leave when I heard the kids screaming Jaen. Then I jumped from my bed and it was my daughter. She came in a different cloth and I hugged her.
Who gave her new clothes?
The kidnappers gave her the clothes. She wore her school uniform before she was kidnapped. But they gave her a jean and a T-shirt. She told me that they didn’t hurt her. Rather, she was fed with rice everyday and was ordered to boil her bathing water herself, something she’d never done in her life.
But she had mosquito bites all over her body. She came back a different person, a more grown up girl.
I wonder what kind of a father would want his children to become musicians?
I didn’t want them to become musicians, they discovered themselves. My children were brilliant while they were in school. So, I was thinking what God wanted them to do and we only prayed with them and shared the word of God with them. At the ages of eight and nine, they started writing their lyrics.
But I didn’t take them seriously. Then when they were like thirteen and started singing their songs, I read through the lyrics and asked them who wrote the songs for them. Then they said they did.
And I told them that they had to go into the studio and get it done. We weren’t preparing them to go into music until one of my friends, DJ. Jones a producer, returned from America. When I told him about my children’s talent in music, he stayed in our house for a month, training them until they came out with their first album.
Do you plan to own a record label or some business…
We have a TV station that covers the whole of Africa. For me, as an individual, I don’t have such ambition. All I want to do is to preach, build the people of God and travel all over the place and I’m satisfied.
But for my daughters who are coming into such line, I’m beginning to think of what I can do to create a platform for them because they have a message for their generation.
Have you started any platform for them?
Yes. Elisha Studio 15 is managing them at the moment. They are going to shoot a video in South-Africa in the next few days. We have people abroad who would promote their music.
We’re taking it one step at a time because they’re still in school. When it’s time for school, we make sure they go to school and whenever they’re on vacation, they do their music.