Having laid his hands on many jobs in Nigeria, Brother Samuel Akinbodunse travelled to South Africa for greener pastures and a better standard of living. As a typical young man, he toiled and suffered just for him to have a leeway but things seemed not to favour him at the initial stage. It was so difficult for him that he had to lay his heads under flowers and had to go through severe pains on different occasions. But with his call to the Lord’s vineyard, Brother Samuel soon realised that he was only wasting his time looking for jobs to do whereas God had already prepared him to be His servant. Today, the story of Brother Samuel has changed as his ministry, the Freedom for all Nations Outreach, (FANO) has not only carved a spiritual niche for herself but also won many souls into the Kingdom of God and he is also planning a 50,000-capacity auditorium. In this interview, Bro. Akinbodunse, a native of Ondo spoke glowingly on his experience and how he hearkened unto the voice of God and why he wants to build a 50,000- capacity auditorium.
People believe South Africa is not a conducive environment for Nigerian Pastors to establish a church, what would you say distinguishes FANO TV from every other ministry?
That is a very good question and it is something I should break for you; pastors in South Africa, especially Nigerian pastors, before leaving Nigeria carry heavy anointing but immediately they arrive in South Africa, they attach themselves to things that will extinguish the fire of their anointing. Many of them now have been corrupted, God said to me that I should separate myself. Separation is what distinguishes me, I do not do what they are doing. If you look at them now, they are running after women and rich people, engaging in all kinds of frivolities and vanities, I do not do that. Since I came to South Africa, it has been only my wife, you see pastors duping people, going to clubs and hangouts, engaging in fraudulent activities, I do not engage in all that. When I started, some people knew me then and made comments that I should be a pastor because I have never done illegal things they do there. In my Church now, I can say only 10 percent of my congregants are Nigerians, I have 80% South Africans, 10% from other nationals.
A lot of people raise allegations that all churches are just interested in money, this is a strange one, could you tell us more about your ministry in terms of giving?
This is one of the things I also teach my fellow pastors especially some that submitted to me. Since I started Freedom For All Nations, I have never touched the church’s money, we have some treasurers and there is accountability. What we do is that, whoever is in need, we give and pay our bills. I have a covenant which I do not usually say. About 80% of whatever comes in, I return it to the ministry, I am only left with 20%. If I want to travel or go anywhere, it should be the church responsibility but I do not put burden on anyone, I do it myself and I have Sam Akinbodunse Ministry where we help people. I am giving out scholarship from my personal money and not from the purse of the church. We have very strong welfare committee that takes care of the needy through the accounts of the church.
We learnt there is a programme you do where you feed those who are hungry, tell us more about it.
Operation Feed the Nation came to being when I thought deeply and I saw that in those days when I was hungry and there was no food, there were some white people who brought food to us, bread and tea every morning. There are some people in that situation now, so we are feeding 150 people every week.
In the last five years, your ministry has grown so big and the auditorium is becoming too small, what is your plan for expansion?
Actually, where we are now isn’t the vision, the vision God gave me is to build 50,000-capacity auditorium and you know we have to start from somewhere. The 8,000-capacity we have now, we will start from there. If you come to our church, we put it far extreme so that it will not disturb the main auditorium and where we are now, as time goes on, we will leave it for the youth. The main auditorium is coming soon and we have targeted that by 2019, if it is not fully finished, it must have got to somewhere. We have acquired the land, structures are on it, we are just waiting for the date to start and also support. Actually, the people have estimated it and it cost 300million Rands.
A lot of people are scared when it comes to prophecy and that is why they speak in parables, but we noticed something about you, you say it as it is like the issue of Cape Town and Zuma Prophecy, what gives you the boldness?
I know that people have bastardized the prophetic ministry and actually it has been known to everyone that wherever there is original, you will always see fake. Another challenge is that people cannot differentiate fake and genuine prophecies because devilish people also prophesize, the only thing that can make people differentiate is character. The Bible says by their fruits, you shall know them. I have a logo, I told my people that any prophet without the character of Jesus is fake, if it comes to prophecy and revelation, I am gifted to be sincere. During my fasting, what I asked God for was his power; so my only prayer for those 40 days was his power and he gave it to me. Power of revelation and knowledge, he gave it to me. Like what you just mentioned, it came in the service, I was just ministering and I saw something just flashed on my eyes. I saw flood coming out in Cape Town, I saw flood coming out of the Western part of South Africa and I said we should pray. If we didn’t pray, it could have been worse and Zuma must go, I’m a man who devoted himself for South Africa. If you watch our programme every Sunday, we gather and pray for South Africa and Africa continent. As I was praying that time, God said I should go and warn President Jacob Zuma that he must not re-shuffle or else he will mess up the country. I spoke and told people, he didn’t listen, he did it and up till now, the crisis is still there. We’ve not got over it and that is bringing different problems. I am a man who isn’t afraid of anything when it is spiritualism. You can’t find me in a dirty place; so when I speak and if it’s God that revealed and said I should speak, why should I be afraid. I am not afraid of anybody no matter whom you are.