General Overseer of Revival Assembly Church, Lagos, Apostle Anselm Madubuko, speaks about what it is like to be a father and a man of God at the same time. He talks about his experiences when he lost his wife in 2012 and had to remarry. He says he married a Kenyan who was a single woman and people felt he was having a secret affair with her even while his wife was around because he remarried one year after his wife died. He says he received several text messages from some ladies in his church saying God told them he should marry them. Read this interesting interview he granted to PUNCH.
What has been your biggest challenge as a father?
The biggest challenge any good father faces is when your kids are not living up to your expectations. Everyone, including God, has expectations from people. God expects us that at a certain age, we should be able to do certain things. I believe that when we are not doing all those things, He is not happy.
How many children are you blessed with?
I have three kids, but spiritually, I have many kids. My first child is a boy, followed by two girls. I have two grandchildren.
I have always prayed to God to give me good kids. I didn’t care about the sex. This is a thing people should know about. For me, the important thing is for the kids to be taken care of because they are God’s gifts.
Were you scared when you wanted to start a family?
I got married quite early at 26. I was 28 when I had my first kid. At that point, I wanted to get married. I was not bothered about anything because I knew God was in charge. I have learnt in life never to worry about things I cannot control.
Why did you marry at 26?
I cannot really say. I had completed university education and I became born again. If I was not saved by God, I am not sure I would have married when I did. When I gave my life to Christ at 25, everything about me changed completely and I had nothing else to do but to get married.
How did you meet your wife?
My late wife was working in a computer firm in Ikoyi, Lagos. We ran into each other on a particular day and we became good friends. After I got saved, she became my first convert to Christ.
Did your wife play hard to get when you showed interest in her?
Those days, women were not a problem for me and I had a very good relationship with women.
Were you in the labour room with your wife during the birth of any of your children?
I always didn’t want to experience it and I tried to avoid it. I couldn’t even follow my wife to the hospital to get an injection; I couldn’t imagine seeing her go through pains. I made sure I was not around whenever she wanted to give birth.
How did you feel while carrying your first child?
It was a mixed feeling. I was thankful to God for the child but I also knew more responsibilities had come too. When she gave birth to our first child, I was in Lagos but not in the hospital.
How do you reward your children anytime they make you happy?
It depends on what is happening at that moment. When my kids were in the university, I made sure they were comfortable and promised to get them a car or other things once they did well. I tried to keep to my own part of the bargain.
How did you punish them for wrongdoing when they were young?
I did not punish them but their mother did. She was the person who trained them and she was strong enough for them. Most cases, she would have dealt with them before telling me what they did wrong. I didn’t always punish them because I felt children should not be punished twice for a crime. Though there were a few cases I talked to them, I cannot remember using the cane on any of my children. I do not say it is good or bad to discipline children, but I didn’t do it.
How do you manage your roles as a pastor and father?
I have not done it well. I ended up leaving my kids with their mother while they were growing up. I was always travelling to one place or the other. Growing up, they knew their mother more than their father. That is my regret. I was busy working for God. Given another chance, I would wish to balance things in a way that my children would not suffer my absence. I have tried my best to correct my mistakes as they grew older and they aren’t doing badly now.
What did you learn from your father which is now useful in training your children?
My father taught my siblings and me how to be satisfied in life. That is why we are not greedy people in my family. Growing up, we were happy with whatever God gave us. We didn’t covet others’ blessing. I have inculcated this in my kids. I always tell them to be thankful to God and never to get too anxious about the next day, as God has promised to take care of tomorrow once they work hard.
How would you describe your father?
He was a nice and quiet man. He didn’t drink, smoke or party.
When was your happiest moment as a father?
That would be when my first daughter gave birth in the United States of America three years ago. I couldn’t explain the excitement and I cannot forget that day.
What event do you consider as the low moment of your life?
I have had many low moments in my life. I felt terrible when I lost my father and mother. My father died at 70. I didn’t expect him to die when he died. For me, I consider anyone who dies at 70 a young person. Ninety is the best age to die.
My father was there for me all my life; he sacrificed a lot for his kids. But before he died, I was not in a position to do much for him. However, my mother lived above 90. She had a good life.
Why didn’t you take your wife’s death as the low point of your life?
As stated before, I have many low points. But when my father died, I felt worst than my wife’s death. I cannot explain why it appeared so.
When did your wife die?
She died in 2012. I didn’t expect her to die when she did and I was not in the country. I left Nigeria on a Wednesday night and we still spoke when I got to the airport. The next thing I heard on Friday was that she had passed on.
What caused her death?
She was not sick; it was a sudden death. If she had been ill, I wouldn’t have left her. As a strong woman that she was, she didn’t show signs of weakness as well. Our family doctor of over 25 years did his best but told me there was no life in her any longer.
I was more confused than annoyed when I heard the news of my wife’s death. I was too shocked to feel anything. She was in her 50s when she died; we were age mates. The only time I felt bad was the day of her burial as it dawned on me that she was really dead. But before then, I kept thinking she would wake up because she was really a strong woman. I couldn’t go to the mortuary to see her, but I had to see her during the lying-in-state.
How did you comfort your children during the period?
My children are strong kids. They had all finished their university education in Canada when their mother died. We are a free and happy family. Whenever we are together, they don’t relate to me as their father.
How did your children react to your decision to remarry?
My children were happy when I told them I wanted to remarry. They knew I would be in the hands of a good woman. When my wife died, they didn’t want me to be left alone; they were always checking on me. In a way, I was disturbing them because they couldn’t live a day without worrying about me.
But it was God who told me to remarry even though I did not take another wife. I even said it on the pulpit that I would not remarry. But God, who saw things I didn’t see, told me I must marry and marry fast. Now, I know why He said it and I thanked God I followed His direction.
Were you not worried that people could condemn you for remarrying a year after your wife’s death?
Of course, my decision to remarry generated a lot of attention from the public but I don’t care about such a thing. When my heart doesn’t condemn me, I don’t care. I don’t need to impress everyone. I don’t need to prove anything to anyone because I owe only God my life. Those close to me knew I was led by God.
When my wife passed on, every woman wanted to marry me. I was getting text messages from different women, who were telling me that God told them I was their husband. I got messages from members of my church and other women. If I had stayed unmarried for two years, I cannot imagine what would have happened to me. When I finally remarried, many single women and even married ones left the church. This is not a joke; it happened. I thank God I didn’t promise anyone marriage or was dating anyone; I didn’t owe anyone anything. Also, I didn’t need to marry anyone recommended to me.
Why did you settle for a Kenyan when you had many options?
I knew the lady many years ago when I went to preach in Mombasa, Kenya. Then, my first wife was still alive and I told my friend that I liked the way she sang and carried herself. They spoke well about her and told me her father was a bishop. Later, I invited her team to Nigeria to sing in my church and people loved them. At that point, there was nothing between us.
But many people believed we were having a secret affair even when my wife was alive, but I didn’t go out with her or touch her until we married. I also admired the fact that she did not trouble me for marriage like many others.
How did she react when you told her about your marriage plans?
When I told her I wanted to marry her, she felt it was strange. I was yet to know her well too. She told me I was too old for her. She said I was more like a mentor. It was God who convinced her and her family. How many fathers would allow their daughters to go to Nigeria for marriage? They read many negative things about us daily. Also, she was a single and young lady while I was a widower with three kids. There are many things that didn’t make sense naturally. But her father is a man of God and God touched him. I thank God it was her because I couldn’t have chosen anyone better.
What comes to mind when you read negative things about you?
I don’t bother myself about what people say about me because it is part of life. It was reported that I was having an affair with an artiste’s wife but he is my son and still worships in my church. Nothing can break me; gossips mean nothing to me. They are people who do not like me for reasons best known to them and they will always look for opportunities to tarnish my image.
How do you advise children without fathers?
God has plans for everyone. If you don’t have a father, kindly take God as your father and look for a mentor. When your biological father dies, you should pray to God to give you a good father that will love and guide you. When you have good parents, it is hard for you to join cultism or pick up other vices. These things are devil’s ways to destroy destinies. If you look around now, most kids are into one bad society or the other. If your parents are not godly, it is dangerous.