THE WORLD IS PERISHING FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

Rev. Romanus Dayi is an old time preacher, the senior Pastor and General Overseer, Living Saints Faith Assembly with headquarters in Boji-Boji Owa. In this personality of the week interview he granted Ika Weekly during the week at his residence in Boji-Boji Owa, Rev. Dayi said the knowledge of God is power and key to success.
Excerpts:
GOOD DAY SIR, MAY WE MEET YOU?
I am Rev. Romanus Dayi, the senior Pastor and General Overseer, Living Saints Faith Assembly with headquarters here in Boji-Boji Owa. I was born on June 5, 1957 to the family of late Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Dayi Agborie of Okpe quarters, Abavo Clan in Ika South Local Government Area. I am the last child among the three surviving children of my parents. My parents were good farmers. I got married in December 20, 1981 to former Miss Patience Osabohien of Udomi quarters in Abavo. The marriage is blessed with three sons and two daughters.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND?
I attended St. Patrick Primary School which was directly opposite our house in Okpe, Abavo from 1964 to 1970 and St. Anthony’s College, Ubulu-Uku from 1971 to 1975. Thereafter, I taught at Ute-Okpu Grammar School, Ute-Okpu as an auxiliary teacher for two years from November 1975 to 1977 before I went to Kaduna with Rev. Godwin Iwerriebor to preach the gospel. Because of the call of God to preach the gospel and allow God to order my steps, I forfeited my admission into the University of Benin. The bible says that when you are a child of God and you allow Him to order your steps; He will bring you to His planed destiny for your life and that is what happened in my life.
HOW DID YOU COME TO BE A MINISTER?
Initially I was a Catholic Church member. Every Catholic school student is supposed to be a Catholic Church member. So, I became a baptized Catholic. I received my confirmation in 1969. I belonged to St. Jude Society. In all, I will say that my Christianity at that time was based on religion. There is a great difference between religion and salvation. Salvation is purely by the grace of God through faith and not by works of righteousness which we have done. I received my salvation when I visited my uncle, late Moses Dayi at Ubiaja during one of our midterm breaks. During the visit, he took me to their evening church service which appeared strange to me being a Catholic. I didn’t follow up at all during the church service, but when we got home my uncle opened his bible and preached the gospel of salvation to me. Then my heart was really open and I became more enlightened about the knowledge of God and asked him how one can accept Christ. I knelt down and he prayed asking God to forgive my sins and be born again in Him. After the prayer, I stood up full of joy and peace which signified the assurance of the salvation I just received. From that moment, the joy of the Lord filled my heart and I began to preach to my mates when I went back to school. People were following me everywhere I went except that being a Catholic school; the people were opposed to that kind of preaching. At home, I worshipped with Church of God Mission (CGM) under the pastorate of Dominic Eseka who brought us up in the faith. There is something also called “Holy Ghost baptism” which I received in 1976. It is a gift from God which empowers somebody to live above satanic influences powers and as well be used by God to do his works. One with the Holy Ghost baptism can better hear and understand the things of God. That was my first encounter with God. I was not a born Catholic, my parents were idol worshipers and God used us the children to bring them to His knowledge. They died as Christians. As an auxiliary teacher in Ute-Okpu Grammar School, Ute-Okpu, my closest place of worship was CGM, Umunede where Bishop Festus Udume was pastoring at that time in 1976. It was there that I meet one Rev. Godwin Iwerriebor who during one of our discussions revealed to me his vision to launch out for the Gospel work. From our discussion, I became impressed with his level of faith and zeal for God, even as I also made him know my desire to work for God. We then prayed and fasted over our visions until 1977 when we made our way to Kaduna where we started the ministry work at one Army Children School. It was by the mercy of God that we got shelter on arrival. The first challenge at our worship centre was when we were arrested and later set free by the Army Major who ordered for our arrest warning us not to continue religious activities in the barracks, saying that as Civilians we are not supposed to do so. We were then sent out of the Army barrack. One Mr. Akume who got his healing during one of our crusades provided us a place where we started our ministry work fully with the name, Word of Life Church and by the grace and mercies of God; we were increasing in numbers and built a temporary place of worship in Akume’s compound. The second challenge was the church splitting in December, 1979 and by that time we had returned to Agbor as our leader, Iwerriebor said God spoke to him to come home and continue the ministry work that He is going to use us to do wonders. Our first worship centre in Agbor started at one old building on Aziken Street. The Church was name, “Word of Faith Church”. From there, we moved to Alisimie Women hall at Osuhon Street in Agbor and later build a big temporary structure at Ojiefo Street as we started increasing in numbers and opened branches in Owa-Oyibu, Owa-Nta, Obiaruku and Abavo. What brought about the church split at Kaduna were the seven deacons who we ordained trying to take over leadership by dictating for us what they want to be done. We demoted them and there was a church split. I will say that the people were prepared for it as they made away with the church equipments. After the split, we went back again for the second time to the Army Children School to start up our place of worship all over and by His grace we were allowed after due consultations. The majority of our members were soldiers and the other of our members who departed from us formed their church naming it Pilgrims Mission and having branches all over the Northern area. It was good pastoring the soldiers as they were very obedient and zealous people in whatsoever they did. God being on our side, we opened branches as well in the north but the incessant Muslim attacks affected the ministry work. When I returned from Kaduna, I pastored for so many years at our branch in Owa-Nta along Abraka road, Boji-Boji Owa. Sometime in October, 2000, after the church convention, our church leader, Iwerriebor passed on after a brief illness. Being his assistant, I led the congregation for ten years before I saw the need to leave the church. I left the church in May, 2010. For a peaceful separation, I invited some church leaders such as Bishop Udume who could not come due to an engagement, Apostle Mike Asiwe of Door of Faith Mission, Rev. Dr. Mgbejume, late Emmanuel Alika of Word Action Team and others were present. At the meeting, the children of late Iwerribor were absent and that made them to ask me what I wanted. I stood on my decision to leave the church and I was asked to go without taking any of the church properties or convincing any members to follow me but I should accept whoever comes later wishing to join me in my new ministry. I strictly obeyed the resolution of the meeting as it was only my wife and children that knew what were happening. I never made any public utterance about my leaving Word of Faith Church and the members who could not see me in the church any longer started asking questions which made them know about the happenings. I welcomed those who later joined me in my new church named Living Saints Faith Assembly just as the leaders of churches that led the peaceful separation advised. I left the church intact and as signatory to the church’s account when they came, I signed the cheque book so that they can withdraw the remaining money in the account. I also welcomed some of the branches that came saying that they will want to be with me. Ever since the split, we have worked together as children of God. We invite each other in any of our programmes. As a man of faith, I do not lose hope in whatsoever I do as I know that my God is a God of possibilities. My journey so far in the ministry work has not been easy but God always have His way and everything has been made possible. I thank God for His grace and mercy.
SIR, WHAT ASPECT OF MINISTRATION DO YOU SPECIALIZE IN?
God called me to teach His words as a teacher, just as the bible made us know. I teach the undiluted word of God.
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION OF THE PREVALENCE OF THE MESSAGE OF PROSPERITY OVER SALVATION BY MANY MINISTERS OF GOD?
Anyway, some cleric said God has given them a particular area of His gospel to dwell on and to me such will not help the congregation as they will surfer spiritual deficiency in other areas of Christianity. What I believe in is that we should touch every area while we pursue the areas of our specialization so that the children of God will not lack. We should invite men of God to teach the areas we cannot teach.
DESPITE THE PROLIFERATION OF CHURCHES IN THE SOCIETY, THERE STILL EXISTS WIDE SPREAD CRIME AND EVIL DEEDS. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS?
One thing is very clear and its stated in the scripture that in the last days, iniquity shall abound; the love of many shall wax cold meaning that sins will multiply in all areas. All evil things happening are signs of the last days. The devil is trying to be furious before the world comes to an end. I am using this opportunity to call my fellow pastors to buckle up and preach the true word of God as it is stated. It is time we deviate from preaching the sermon that causes excitement. I believe that the society will be a better place when we continually warn the congregation of the dangers and consequences of living in sin as hell exist. There are sermon that cause excitement and the one that makes the congregation feel guilty and will not want to hear it or say amen when the pastor echoeds hallelujah. By so doing, people will become more heavenly minded than worldly minded. This will bring repentance and many people will amend their ways for good. The life of a Christian is supposed to convince the life of an unbeliever. But now it appears that there is no difference between the church people and unbelievers. There is sin everywhere and everybody wants to have their share in it. Pray God to help us.
WHAT DO YOU SAY ABOUT A SITUATION WHERE MINISTERS OF GOD LIVE FLAMBOYANT LIFE STYLES IN THE MIDST OF ABJECT POVERTY AMONG MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH?
We may not be able to judge people correctly, especially when you are far from them because one may observe something different. Some clerics are doing their best to encourage members even when they are living a luxurious life style. What I am against is pastors exploiting members in the name of God to live big. That is oppression. When God gives money to a pastor, it is to be used to do his work, as well as to reach out to the needy and not necessarily spend it on oneself. There is nothing bad giving to your pastor, but when he or she is so full of blessings should try as much as possible to share it with less privileged persons in the church and around as that will go a long way to encouraging the church. It is a wrong thing for a pastor to be living big amidst poor people around.
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION ABOUT MEN OF GOD WHO PARTAKE IN ACTIVE POLITICS?
In the Old Testament, there was a division of responsibilities between the priests, the prophets and the kings. They were all anointed by God for positions of leadership and their responsibilities defined as well. For example; King Saul was the first king God raised upon Israel when they said they wanted to be like other nations. Because King Saul over exercised his power by entering into the office of a priest to offer sacrifices which he was not qualified to offer, God rebuked him and never allowed him to continue as a king. I don’t think it is very common for God to separate a priest and send him into politics. The responsibilities of a Cleric are big enough. Pastors should not because of money lose focus of their calling. In some rare cases, God can send a pastor into politics to bring correction or sanity to an area. But the best thing is for pastors to be focus in their ministry work, offer prayers and give advice to the politicians for the betterment of the society.
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE PREVAILING UNDER DEVELOPMENT IN IKA LAND?
Development is gradually coming to Ika land. Underdevelopment of Ika land I may say has spiritual undertone. Now there is revival in the land as our forefathers has built Ika land on idolatry. From bible points of view, idolatry is a major setback for individuals, families and societies. If our people can do away with the things of idol, Ika nation will experience drastic change. There will be a new dawn in Ika land. The developmental changes today are because of the prayers of the churches. I can remember when we gathered to pray that God should raise a leader from Ika land and Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa emerged as the governor of the state. That we have the governor today is not by our own making, but God, despite his coming when the economy is very bad. Nothing is impossible for God to do. It is just that people lack His knowledge. It is God who re-writes the story of any nation for good. Ika nation will not be an exception. We will keep praying for the revival of Ika nation. Thank God for prayers answered.
HAVE THE TRADITIONAL AND POLITICAL LEADERS OF IKA NATION LIVED UP TO EXPECTATION?
I also may not be able to judge them correctly, but I appreciate the little ways the political leaders have affected Ika nation. I thank the Obi’s in Ika land for the existing peace in the land which accordingly drives development. We thank God for the peace. I am using this opportunity to call and equally appeal to our Obi’s to stop encouraging the herdsmen from encroaching into our lands as they are now threats to our well-being. Our women and female children who go to farm alone are being raped, just as killings by unknown hoodlums are becoming rampart. If they cannot be cautioned, they should leave our land rather than we living in fear in our own land. I once overheard that the plans to Islamize the country was the reason their presence is increasing; wondering why they should be going about their cattle rearing with powerful guns and other dangerous weapons instead of sticks. The happening is enough for us to prepare for if they plan an attack everybody will suffer it. Indirectly, it can affect a traditional ruler as they do not know who is who, because when they start killing, they have no respect for human beings. That is one major area I will want the traditional rulers to look into with all seriousness.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION OF GOVERNOR IFEANYI OKOWA IN TERMS OF INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT?
For the fact that the economy is not good at this time, Okowa is doing his best and I know him not to be a bad person. From his past records, he has not done badly. When he was a council chairman in Ika Northeast, my wife was a teacher then; he didn’t owe them as there was money at that time. In terms of infrastructural development, he has done well in road construction touching all the areas in the state. We should be grateful to him for the few roads he has constructed in Ika land and pray God for the economy to be stable so he can do more. Okowa has the heart to do something tangible. For me, I don’t think Okowa is telling lies when he says that there is no money. What we are experiencing now is a national affair and not just Delta State.
SIR, WHAT WILL YOU SAY ABOUT THE RECENT HAPPENINGS WHERE IT WAS ALLEGED THAT GOVERNOR OKOWA BOUGHT A CAR WORTH 17MILLION NAIRA WORTH CAR FOR EACH OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT CHAIRMEN IN THE MIDST OF ARREARS OF SALARIES OWED THE COUNCIL STAFF?
Laugh! I must say I am not aware of such unwise expenditure. If it is true, it is an unwise decision of him, as there would have been other ways to appreciate the chairmen of the council in the state and not at a time like this when money is needed to solve pressing issues like the backlog of salaries of council staff. He would have appealed to them to be patient till when the economy improves then he will do something to put smiles on their faces. The issue of unpaid salary to the staff needs more and better attention than that of the council chairmen.
WE SEE SOME MEN OF GOD GO ABOUT WITH HEAVILY ARMED SECURITY MEN. IN YOUR OPINION, IS THIS THE RIGHT WAY TO GO?
Actually, when people are growing and becoming prominent, people’s eye are on them. They take such measures to give themselves security. But as many, who believe that God is their shield, He sends His angels to guide them and it works. Christ said be it onto you according to your faith. So, we may not blame any pastor going around with security men. Maybe, that is what they are led to do to help themselves, as long as they have the money to pay for the service. As for me, I solely depend on God for my safety and security.
HOW HAVE YOU IN YOUR OWN WAY CONTRIBUTED TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF IKA NATION?
Through spiritual contributions; through my prayers and that of other clerics in the land, God is re-writing the stories of Ika land for good. The light of God is shinning in Ika land. Our prayers for revival to take place in Ika nation is gradually coming to manifest. Spiritual contribution should be appreciated as it is more than financial or material contributions. There is a lot of difference when one is interceding for the land. We are praying for the good of Ika land. Through our preaching of the gospel, souls are being won for Christ. By being born again and turning away from doing things that are bad, the society will be crime free and development will thrive in the land. One with the fear of God thinks right and if everybody fears God, the society will experience speedy growth and there will not be setback. I have used what God has blessed me with to also bless my people.
WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE?
My philosophy of life is that life is spiritual. God is our source of life. For us to succeed and live happily, we should stay with God. His blessings endure forever and add no sorrow. So, whatsoever a man sows, he shall reap. Life is just sowing and reaping.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE CHURCH IN NIGERIA SHOULD DO TO STOP THE PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS BY EXTREMISTS IN THE NORTHERN PART OF NIGERIA?
Prayer is a powerful force. So, we the church (Christians) should keep praying. Nigeria as a country needs healing as never before political, social and economic. God can fight for us. The same way He fought for the Israelites and they were victorious; He will do the same for us at His own time. Worry not but continue praying as it is what holds the key. God is our strength.
WHAT ARE YOUR LIKES AND YOUR DISLIKES?
I like dealing with people who are honest. In all I hate lies.
WHAT IS YOUR DRIVING FORCE?
The word of God is what drives me. In the word of God, we have direction. I fear God because whatever He says must come to pass.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE IKA DELICACY?
I enjoy good egwusi soup with pounded yam or akpu.
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE MARRIAGE OF THE SAME SEX?
It is a sign of end time, because any right thinking person should not conceive such an idea that a man marries man. I believe that those who do such are under the manipulation of the devil. I see no attraction. The demon has possessed them. Any pastor who partakes in such marriage is of the devil. All pastors are not for God. As people join politics for money in the same way, some people enter ministry work for money. But God said by their fruits we shall know them.
CAN YOU RECOUNT YOUR BEST AND WORST MOMENTS IN LIFE?
My best moments appear to be my wedding day and when I think of the lovely children and every other good thing God has given to me in life. The day I lost Rev. Godwin Iweriebor can be regarded as my worst moment.
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO YOUTHS OF IKA LAND AND THE GOVERNMENT?
The youths of Ika nation should take it easy in their quest to make money as the dangers in making it in a wrong way can never be equated with the money. They should look up to God, just as the bible also admonishes that they should remember their creator in the days of their youths. God is ready to bless the works of their hands. They should engage themselves in skills. Our loophole is that Ika people appear not to be the struggling type. I am also calling on Ika political office holders to fear God.

IMG_9806 THE WORLD IS PERISHING FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
Rev. Romanus Dayi and family

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