“I was exposed to booze, women, drugs, and cultism” – Apostle Anselm Madubuko confesses his past
by Akan Ido
Apostle Anselm Madubuko is the General Overseer of the Revival Assembly. In this Punch Newspapers interview, the man of God speaks about his early life, his university years, and his late wife.
Read excerpts below:
Were there inklings while growing up that pointed to the fact that you will end up a pastor?
Yes, I remember my mother once told me that she had three children before me and all of them died. While pregnant with me, she unconsciously made a vow to God to return me to Him if I didn’t die. I was named Chukwudi. We were Catholics and I was a mass server. During the war, I stayed with the village parish priest but I didn’t have a personal encounter with Christ. When I was to go to the university, my parents advised against joining any cult. But I did. At the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu campus, I went in search of the pirates’ confraternity. I went through the grueling interviews and eventually became a member. In my last year in school, I became the capone of the secret cult. I was also a club DJ; I used to work with Radio Nigeria, presenting musical programmes. I got into the university at 17. By 18, I was already the director of socials. I beat an older opponent to clinch that position. God showed me life too early; I was exposed to booze, women, drugs etc. I was a rich student with a car on campus. In my fifth year, I found out that a Christian fellow would be my roommate and I simply stayed off campus the entire year! That was how rebellious I was to the things of God. But by my youth service year, I was already getting tired of all the vices I was involved in and I didn’t know what to do. A young man, who worked at Tom Ikimi and Associates, an architectural firm, where I also worked after my youth service, spoke to me about Jesus. No one had ever spoken to me about Christ because I didn’t give anyone a chance. Eventually, I gave my life to Christ.
As a pastor, are there peculiar challenges in running the ministry?
I haven’t encountered anything that I couldn’t deal with or which gave me sleepless nights. I didn’t beg for this job, in fact, I never prayed to be a pastor. Yes, I love the Lord but my plan was to be an evangelist- keep my business running and do crusades. My late wife, Connie, wasn’t a people person; she was an introvert and it didn’t look like it was going to work. But God assured me that He was going to take care of everything and He has been faithful. I have had problems, no doubt; betrayals and all sorts but not one was strong enough to make me think it was the end.
How did your parents feel when you eventually toed the pastoral line?
They felt quite disappointed that I ended up carrying the Bible around instead of pursuing the bright future that was ahead of me. My father was a very strong Catholic and he disowned me. He wrote me a letter saying he has only one son as against the two he has. My sisters, whom I tried to convert, were afraid because of my father’s wrath. But I wasn’t moved because I figured that if I was doing what was right, time would tell. Eventually, they understood me and got to know the Lord better.
What fond childhood memories can you recall?
I had a most memorable childhood. I grew up in GRA, Enugu in those days. My father was the registrar of the College of Technology before the war. My mother used to work with the Agricultural Development Authority. They made sure they gave their children the best. They made sure we didn’t lack. Life was good at that time.
As a very stylish pastor, what does style mean to you?
Well, I am an architect, so it is inevitable. I have no particular definition of style.
So what determines what you wear?
I do not plan what I wear until I am just about to dress up. But I am most comfortable wearing Kaftan even outside the country. Suits make me look too official and I found out that most times, people are more interested in me more than what I am saying. They want to know the brand of suit I am wearing. But with Kaftans, no one really cares.
Outside of the church, what would you say has been your greatest regrets?
Not having time with my three children as they grew. I was gone most of the time. It is only now that I am getting to know them; if I had my way, I would have turned that around but I thank God that they turned out well.
How soon do you plan to experience marital bliss now that your wife is late?
I can’t tell but of course, one of these days. I don’t want to say too much about my eventual marital status because a lot has already been said.
How have you been able to cope with widowhood?
Well, God has been faithful. I am immersed in my job and the good thing is that I am usually very tired by the time I get home. I do miss her though.
How do you unwind when you aren’t shepherding your flock?
I like to just stay indoors. I am either at home or ministering somewhere. When I’m at home, I like to watch football, surf the Internet, etc.
You said you studied architecture; why the preference for the course?
I found out that I liked technical drawing and designing since I was in high school. It was only natural that I followed that path. Besides, I was also good at drawing. I like to build. I didn’t have a second choice and I’m glad I studied it. Initially, I tried running the business alongside the ministry but I realised they were both too rigorous to handle at the same time. I miss designing but I still do some designs for close friends.