By JOSEPHINE IGBINOVIA
The Founder of Christ Mega Church Nigeria & Overseas and current President, United Gospel Churches Association of Nigeria- UGCAN, Bishop Priscilla O. Otuya is an interesting woman who is enviably grounded in all fronts. As an entrepreneur, Otuya handles the administrative arm of Swan Dredging & Marine Limited, a dredging company she co-founded with her husband. As a mother also, she has 12 biological children to her credit; some of whom are already toeing her footsteps in ministry. Otuya who is of Kwale extraction in Delta State was recently consecrated as Bishop at the Chapel of Christ the Light in Lagos. Vista Woman had an encounter with her. Enjoy!
Now that you’ve become a Bishop, what should we expect?
Service, service and more service. I hope to use this office to be a blessing to people. I’m aware there are lots of misconceptions in the society about the position, especially as most people begin to see you as a leader and head. I however believe that your being a leader is to serve others and lead by example.
I understand you’re the first female President of UGCAN; how do you hope to open doors for more women to head the association?
I’m going to work towards that because I believe women are natural leaders. According to the Bible, women have been endowed with opportunity and power to take the church of God to the next level in Christ. The last one year as UGCAN President has actually been very fulfilling. We have done projects that include civic education to sensitize ministers on their rights and responsibilities because when I came in, I realized that there was need for reorientation so that we could be better representatives of God and the people.
We have also had the women’s program aimed at sensitizing them about their role in nation building. One other area that I am passionate about is the future of our youths. In this vein, we did a youth program aimed at mobilizing them about their role and how they can carve a niche for themselves. We are embarking on a campaign crusade for the restoration of the ideals that we stand for, with less emphasis on prosperity. We are focusing more on things that would foster unity and oneness.
But do you realise there’s still controversy over women holding leadership positions in church?
I think it is more of ignorance and misunderstanding. I personally did a research on women and I discovered that God has given women dominion for this end-time. You can go to the book of Micah chapter four. Dominion means power to control, rule and lead. God cannot give one dominion just for her to sit in her husband’s kitchen!
So, I think that controversy is a product of ignorance. In UGCAN, we’re working towards a campaign to create awareness amongst men of God to help them see the truth from the scripture. The problem is that most of us pastors do what I call ‘second hand gospel’- what you hear, you preach; not what you discover by yourself. So, we want to correct that.
You said UGCAN is working towards changing the system?
Yes. That’s why I’m a Bishop today. In fact, you need to see all the men of God that came to consecrate me as a Bishop. The list included Archbishop (Prof)Magnus Atilade, Archbishop George Amu, Bishop J.C.Okose, Bishop Johnson Ibodeme, Archbishop David Robert, Bishop Samuel O. Fadeyi, Bishop Rafiu, Bishop V.O.Okojie and Rev.Pastor Mike Utih. If they didn’t believe, they wouldn’t have been there to perform the consecration.
Can you share with us how your journey into the ministry began?
It was very rough. I had very terrible experiences. My oldest sister got missing, and the one after me also got missing! I prayed and cried to God and He told me He wanted to teach me to understand people’s pain so I would know what they’re going through when they cry. That was how I began getting closer and closer to God until He called me to serve Him as an agent of salvation. Today, I am very happy that I took that call seriously. This is actually the 25thyear.
Let us into your educational background…
I did nursing but could not practice because of marriage. I didn’t have kids on time, so, when they started coming, I had to abandon everything to take care of them. I actually waited for four years before God finally blessed my marriage with children. Now, I have 12 biological children! I had 13 but actually lost one. When I asked God why He gave me so many children, He said He wanted to prove to the world that He’s the one who takes care of children. True to His word, we’ve always lived a comfortable life. Each delivery actually brought me a new breakthrough. Some of my kids were even ordained before the age of thirteen because of the gift of God in them.
Taking care of them all must have been very challenging…
Whatever you have grace for cannot be challenging. Even if you have just one child, unless you have the grace, taking care of that child will still be challenging. My children are my best friends and when you see us together, you could mistake us for sisters and brothers because of the way we relate. Three are engaged and will be married very soon.
How do you cope with taking care of them, running the ministry and playing your role as a wife?
Like I said earlier, if you have grace for something, it will never be challenging. First and foremost, the Lord taught me to work with Him. One thing I first did as led by the spirit of God was to resign my appointment to stay with my kids. The first is now about thirty years old and the younger ones are now being taken care of by the grown-ups.
When I began my business, I put my first son, right from when he was fifteen, as the head of the business and began to mentor him. Right now, he heads the business. My second son is an engineer working with my company, Swan Dredging & Marine Limited. It all has to do with planning and as a mother you owe it to God and to your family to raise your children. God really helped me achieve that.