On 12th March 1998, almost 23 years ago, Archbishop Benson Andrew Idahosa went to be with the Lord. The previous night in an evening service on Wednesday, 11th March 1998, he preached his last message.
For many years, I had believed the rumour or false opinion that his last message was ‘Benefits of Death’, a powerful message. However, while carrying out a research on my book ‘From Heaven to His Generation: The Life and Times of Archbishop Benson Andrew Idahosa’, I travelled to the City of Benin in 2013 for 12 months (Ruthanne Garlock, Author of Fire in His Bones had spent 7 months in Benin). During this time, I dug all I could and took away loads of documentary evidence to continue my work after leaving Benin. (It was while in Benin that Church Gist was born).
I walked into the bookshop one day to meet with the Staff and authoritatively asked for ‘Benefits of Death’ or ‘Papa’s last book’. Immediately to my chagrin, the elderly lady corrected me that it was not his last book. I swallowed hard. How could I have nurtured wrong information for this long? I asked what his last message was but she couldn’t tell. She however was adamant that ‘Benefits of Death’ had been written few years before his departure. I got all the books of Idahosa and also related journals that day and read every single one over the next one year. Thankfully I soon accessed a video of his last message the night before his departure.
That evening in March 1998, Papa came to the service full of smiles and banters. He shook hands with no less than 10 people before taking his seat. His appearance was remarkable as whistling by the joyous crowd filled the air.
He had returned a few days ago from another fairly long international trip-about 3 weeks. He came dressed all in white. His socks, shoes, trousers, shirt, jacket and bowler hat were all white. When a member commented about his dressing, he pointed upwards, and said ‘’ Look up henceforth’’. As he arrived the service, the song ‘Come let us Praise’ from the ‘Rejoice Africa’ Album by South African Minister, Lionel Peterson rent the air.
A few minutes later, he was welcomed to the pulpit. The following are excerpts of that memorable message (it has been very difficult to edit parts of this message by the way) which remains ever fresh. Please read on…
“Halleluyah…Holy Spirit we worship you. Creator and Possessor of Heaven and Earth we worship you. King of Glory we worship you. Our El-Shaddai we worship you. Tonight, glorify yourself. In every pain and every disease and every affliction of the enemy. In the name of Jesus, may they be healed from the crown of their head to the soles of their feet. Thank you for answering our prayers. In Jesus name we pray. Give the Lord a hand and take your seat.
One of the errors you will make in Christianity is for you to be noisy and wiseless. The rewards of wisdom is wealth and health and the penalty of ignorance is lack. So, if you have become a Christian, it simply means you turn your back to failure and you are heading towards success.
The penalty of ignorance is lack, the reward of wisdom is surplus. When you lack wisdom, when you lack activity, when you lack creativity, your family don’t need to curse you, witches and wizards don’t need to cast spell on you, it simply means you cannot have freedom because only truth can make somebody free.
For example, (stand up ‘Areva), This is our Bishop’s son in Warri; Bishop Avwomakpa, he plays this instrument…inside this keyboard, if he plays it with meaning, houses and cars are inside there. One successful album, one! One successful musical album that can hit a record can give him all he needs for the rest of his life.
Phil Driscoll makes millions of dollars everywhere from trumpet. Many people who pursue a profession with accurate meaning make a living without suffering. If he will improve on it and grow in it and make it a professional thing added to his university education… For the rest of his life when he finally gets married, his wife and children will never suffer through that small instrument, if he puts his eyes on it.
When you are in a church where your pastor is a dundee, all he will train you to do is to clap and sing and pray but when you are with somebody like me with sound mind, an excellent spirit and another spirit, I tell you that unless you diversify yourself, you will be entrapped.
Each one of us is given brain with millions of cell inside and it is said that no one single human being is able to tap up to ten percent of the totality of the wisdom of God given to everyone. I am not sure I have tapped up to 5% of all mine, yet… (Power outage) never mind about light…I told you how to cast out darkness, it is by buying diesel. If you are in the church and all you come here to do…(begins to clap as he sings) Nara Nara, Nar’ekele Chineke ne, Nar’ekele (Receive Receive, Receive all the thanks…).
I think for about 2 years now, I have been telling Osene, the gift you have is enough to carry you for the rest of your life. Get the choir to give you backing, get the praise team to give you backing, make what we call ‘The best of the best of Osene’; anywhere we go in this country, they will rush your cassette, at hundred naira, if you make 1,000 tapes, at hundred naira, how many people know what that one will be? N100,000 (naira). If you make 2,000 tapes at N100, you will make N200,000 and it will not be enough to sell in 5 meetings. Money is just around you, but your cells are captured in redundancy and you are praying…Our ‘Fuada’ (Father)….hian…God is hearing but your brain is not responding and until your dullness bows to your brilliancy, you continue to struggle as if your prayer is not answered.
I’m here with you, I am not envious of your success, I am not jealous of your upward life but you will have yourself to blame if of all I teach, you end up in bankruptcy, not because God didn’t favour you or I didn’t teach you truth; it’s just that your IQ was zero outside zero and from tonight, you are to be anointed for the Spirit of excellence and wisdom (Amen) so that what God says will come to pass.
These ones (pointing to the Choir stand)…Oziegbe, what are you studying? Come here..and Victor, you and Osene, I give you one month to produce your own album, one month. I will sponsor the cost of it…(back to Oziegbe) What are you reading? (English Major)…English Major final year. The people you see here singing and playing…I don’t allow her to give anybody microphone if he is not promising God future, not one. If you cannot go to school because…you can’t go to school because of money, I sponsor you. Most of them are all on scholarship. To graduate and have a future. The tithe this one will be paying very soon and this one, will be more than the school fees I am paying for them now. I am sowing ahead of time. I am not a fool, I’m sowing. I know what I’m doing. Do you hear me? Because this is the time they need help…you are hearing what I’m saying. I’m planting.
All those Dundee, gagool teachings you inherited traditionally and by tribalistic effort, you have to bury them to enter Christianity in reality. This afternoon, I was telling the children that came to visit me…corn is in this compound, coconut is in this compound, pawpaw is in this compound, mango is in the compound, every food you can think of. Only few that is out of season (that) we buy. All other ones are within my compound. Creativity with great objectivity can detach you from poverty list.
Wisdom provides you quicker result than lottery and planned work. Men who don’t know the God they serve try lottery.
The District Governor of Michigan State was holding a seminar with all the counsellors of the state two months ago and he gave a breakdown of every lottery that has been encouraged to come to the State of Michigan. He proved to all of them and pastors were there like Gilbert and his dear wife Bishop Corletta (Vaughan) who gave me this report that until they make 30 million dollars, nobody wins 1 million dollars.
So for every ten million dollars that they give as big prize…times…thirty; 300 million dollars before they give 10 million dollars. So if you are playing lottery, only one smiles while the rest cry. But if all of us apply wisdom, all of us can smile together. The Bible says it is God’s wish to give all of us wisdom. Do you hear me? Hear this; and the man that getteth understanding, for the merchandise of it.
In English, to be merchandise means trading in something.
A man that has wisdom can make many businesses out of it… Every wealthy aspect of this county; banking, medicine, law everything. When they have anything special to do, my name is one of the first on the list. They want to see me. It is the same bible that you are carrying that I’m carrying. Some of you…the head that God has given to you, he put brain inside and I can see your neck complaining ‘what am I carrying you for?’ A big head without brain is a heavy load to the neck.
Where is the Editor of Idahosa magazine…are you there? Change the word (book title) to 1001. You understand? Change it to 1001 sayings of Idahosa. The book will be out next week.
Many meetings in this town that Idahosa family hold, they don’t call me because they know it is not what I can attend but if there is anything good in this town, president is coming, swearing in of commissioners, swearing in of judges, just name it, when they list the VIPs and the fore kingmakers of this town, I am one of them. Political king makers too, you ignore me, you ignore success.
The career that I chose is not a curse to my life. I did my best with it to put God’s name in world map. You cannot take excuse because you are a Christian, that’s why you don’t take bribe, bribe will bridge your future or relegate you but clear wisdom, can improve your life. Is anybody hearing me?
You are in a school here. Oyedepo will stand and tell anybody anywhere in the world my teacher is Archbishop, Wale Oke, any successful minister traces his or her life to me or the day they came in contact with me. In Ibadan, you praise team were there when Wale Oke said for eight years, he was living in bankruptcy until he came in contact with me and I removed him out of that. How much more you by my nose and eye?
Find out, here in this country, from Cairo to Calabar in the countries of Africa 73% of successful ministers are my product or product of my product.
Then you are sitting by me here, every word I throw drops to your head and your brain refuse it. And this anointing will take you from that place (AMEN).
The two people I asked to prepare their songs now with the backing of the choir, every tape they sell, 50% will be my own… How many of you agree? I already know what I can make from that. If you can do what I said, each of you can buy a car in three months.
90% of those who supply sand and granite to CHRIST FAITH UNIVERSITY (now Benson Idahosa University) are unbelievers.
Some people (believers) will come to me that they want to supply sand but will ask for money to do it. How will I give it to you who are asking for money to do it, when the unbeliever is borrowing money to do it? You see the mathematics?
How many women are here tonight? Mama said I should tell you that from where she is, she is with you. She has told me to join you in prayer tomorrow. I will be there. Something different will happen in your life this year. Any place you were called ugly, the same people will rejoice on your behalf. It is your year… Part 2 of what I taught you today, I will teach you again tomorrow…then you will be anointed. It’s your year of goodness and mercy, please take your seats.”
Culled from the soon to be released book: From Heaven to His Generation: The Life and Ministry of Archbishop Benson Andrew Idahosa by Leke Beecroft.