By Josephine Agbonkhese
A Muslim by birth, US-based Apostle Faith- Eden Osakwe is the President, Kingdom Redemption Outreach Center International, an organisation with headquarters in the USA and branches across the world.
Perturbed by the rate of youth restiveness in her motherland, she recently came home to Nigeria to establish “The Citadel”, a home designed to cater for the education of less-privileged children and youths from cradle to university level. In this interview, Osakwe tells more.
Was your conversion to Christianity by fluke or ambition?
Maybe you’ll decide which when I tell you the story. I was born a Muslim as Mariam Sahidu but got born again November 1, 1990. Before then, I tried to get born again but the attitude of the Christians around me really put me off; a lot of hypocrisy, going to some churches where members cover all parts of their body but they are full of wickedness inside, and all sorts.
But in 1990, the Holy Spirit Himself arrested me. I was crying to God to reveal to me whether Islam was the true way or not because I didn’t want to waste my time being a Christian. I come from a village surrounded by Imams and my mother was a princess of the village king. In fact, I am from a royal family. On that day, November 1st 1990, while I was in Kano in the midst of Muslims, the Holy Spirit visited me and I gave my life to Christ.
Since then the zeal to serve God in totality consumed me and within a week of being born again, the Holy Spirit took me through the entire Bible and taught me all that I know. I left for the USA in 1998 and the journey began from there.
…and how has the journey been?
Today, I have a ministry called Kingdom Redemption Outreach International. We build schools in several cities, set up hospitals, clinics in villages, Bible schools and vocational schools where we teach people how to be handy so that when people finish school and cannot secure a job with their certificate, they have something to trade with.
This is not a religion-centred ministry as many would have expected; what’s the inspiration behind it?
The inspiration is to empower youths in skills acquisition. Currently, I am planning to build a school with vocational centre. The satellite campus in Ibadan is under construction and we are going to have a clinic on the campus, a supermarket, a farm for fishery, rearing animals and for growing crops.
It is more of a technical college. We are also going to encourage sporting activities of all kinds, so that Nigerian youths can compete with their contemporaries from other countries. Missionary children and orphans will be put on scholarship in this school and the aim is to reduce crime rate and youth restiveness in our nation. I believe that when we keep the youth positively engaged, then crime rate will be reduced and the nation will be safe again.
What exactly is motivating you into doing all of these?
The Nigeria I am seeing now does not look like the country I was born into. In those days, there was free education, but nowadays, the rate of crime in the country has become something else. If you go abroad and you mention Nigeria, you are tagged a criminal. It’s as if the name Nigeria is synonymous with crime.
So, we want to change that internationally. Nigerians abroad are excellent but many of them don’t claim they are Nigerians because once they mention Nigeria, the cloud of crime will just fall on them. But I am proud to be a Nigerian; anywhere I go, I tell people I am an African woman and a Nigerian in particular.
What do you think has contributed to the rot in the country?
The church has deviated from the will of God. The church has become corrupt, the body of Christ has become worldly; they are no more spiritual. We are the ones that supposed to set the pace as to what goes on in this country but we have missed it already; the giants are sleeping.
We wait for problems to come before we start praying; you begin to see them calling for national prayer, asking Christians to come together and pray. Let’s repent of our evil ways before we talk of coming together to pray.
Nowadays, the world is more godly than the church; that is why you hear people say they prefer doing business with an unbeliever than with a Christian.
Your advice to Nigerians in Diaspora?
Let us play our part to make our country great again; Nigerians should support those in the Diaspora that want to bring true change to the country. Most Nigerians in the Diaspora are afraid that when they come home to make positive changes, they might get killed. We have heard stories of people that came home to do something different and before you know it, they are dead. So, most Nigerians abroad are afraid of coming home
To government also, my advice is that people with genuine intent to change the nation for the better should be supported and not frustrated.