By Chris Onuoha
Victoria Praise Abraham is an author, motivational speaker and media expert. She has authored many inspirational book totaling 12 and the latest is a highly rated masterpiece about the General Overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, titled, “ICONIC LEADER-PASTOR E. A. ADEBOYE-LESSONS ON LEADERSHIP.” As she marks her birthday today, Sunday October 11, 2020, she reflects on her life as an author.
Having come this far as an author, how have you weathered the storm synonymous with book publishing, reading culture and sales?
As you know Nigeria is a very tough terrain to be creative writer and entrepreneur because of all the many challenges including poor governance, lack of basic infrastructures including good roads, high cost of doing business, because one have to provide power supply to get things running in the office and also pay all kinds of taxes especially as a resident of Lagos State. Through these myriad of challenges, difficulties, turbulence and instability within our body polity, I have been greatly helped by the living God to weather the storm.
I started writing over 20 years ago and I published my debut book titled, “TREASURES” in 2011. Since then God has helped me to write and publish a total of 12 books, and I must say that this is no mean feat. But for the grace and mercies of God and some key persons who God seasonally bring my way to help support my endeavor, I have forged ahead despite the challenging terrain.
Would you say the reading culture of Nigerians have improved, looking at the chunks of prints that grace our shelves including the digital space?
I would say that there are more writers and self -publishers within my industry not necessarily that the reading culture has improved. The age bracket of readers in our country would be from about 40s to 70 who are educated. These crops of people got a good grounding in the foundation of reading and writing and have maintained this singular habit till date.
Our younger generation from 30 to our teenagers really do not have a strong enough reading culture because of the falling standard of education within the last 20 years. The millennial amongst us have imbibed the digital culture and do not spend a whole lot of time reading but surfing the net for every kind of information possible with the advent of social media.
Do you often get calls from your readers on how your works impact their lives?
I do get calls from my catchment market and audience sometimes. They call to share testimonies of how my book greatly helped and transformed their lives. As you know, my books are mostly practical books that help solve life situations, particularly, 8 of my titles; 100 Life’s little lessons, Blessed Not Cursed, Creative Force of Faith, In Pursuit of Happiness, Hope on the go, and my latest book on Pastor E. A. Adeboye, “ICONIC LEADER-PASTOR E. A. ADEBOYE-LESSONS ON LEADERSHIP.”
I remember that a young woman read my first book, ‘TREASURES’ in 2013 and gave me a very powerful testimony how the book got her to take massive actions about her life. She was able to learn computing and become a fashion designer all in one year.
Another testimony is with my book on procrastination titled, “THE TINY BIG FIRST STEP.” I gifted the book to a young man who was newly married and some months after, the young man told me that after the wife read the book she completely changed from being lazy and slothful to being proactive and very hard working. He said that she became very proactive after reading the book. These two are just a few of some of the feedback I have received from people reading my books and giving me feedback.
You recently published a book on the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG) Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye. What is the book all about?
My new book is titled, “ICONIC LEADER-PASTOR E. A. ADEBOYE-LESSONS IN LEADERSHIP.” I sat under the teachings of Pastor Adeboye for over 20 years and in 2018, I got a strong leading from God to write a leadership book about him. I immediately reached him to get approval for the book and got approval on the 9th of January 2019. I spent the entire year writing the book and had to interview the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, Mrs. Tomi Somefun, the Managing Director of Unity Bank and one of Pastor Adeboye’s son who is an American Dr. Sturdivant in the book.
I also interviewed Pastor Adeboye in the book as I highlighted 12 of his leadership attributes including visionary, courage, integrity, strategic planning and organization, humility, wisdom, hard work, compassion, discipline and diligence, timekeeping, effective communicator and spirituality.
I wanted the whole world to glean the leadership attributes of this great son of Africa who God has used to develop many leaders both in the secular and in the Church world. Pastor Adeboye is a leader of leaders and I desired that young and upcoming leaders would be able to glean from his leadership style and also learn some well tested and tried leadership lessons and tips that he has imbibed and practiced over the years in the course of his stewardship of the Redeem Christian Church of God mission which has spanned over 5 decades.
The need for real leadership is the quest for the 21st century and all over the world there is a cry for real and true leadership. Adeboye is a man who has lived and is living to the billing of a real and true leader. As we know no human being is perfect so Adeboye is not without faults but he has proved to be an iconic and global leader of note. The message of the book is simple; it is possible to be a real and true leader in the 21st century.
Secondly, I hear from a reliable source that an influential personality in South Africa purchased this particular book and equally commended it. Tell us about it?
This is very true. A day before this happened I had been very discouraged and distraught about my writing career and I was almost bitter with God on the matter. I felt that I had put in so much work, time and energy and was not as celebrated as I ought to have been especially in my country Nigeria. It was a very emotionally challenging day. To my amazement that same day I got a phone call from a close professor friend of mine. I was amazed at his timing of the call. He asked how I was and I told him what I was going through.
He counseled me to hold on and be patient with God’s timing. He shared the word of God with me and also prayed with me fervently on my issue. To my amazement, I got a call from South Africa from a highly placed government official requesting to buy copies of my latest title, ICONIC LEADER-PASTOR E. A. ADEBOYE-LESSONS IN LEADERSHIP. I was blown away at the power of God Almighty to answer prayers. The incident helped to reinforce my faith because that was the first time I would get a call like that from outside the shores of Nigeria making enquiries about my book.
As you celebrate your birthday today, what are the things you want to reflect on, and say, ‘this is what the Lord has done for me’?
My journey of clocking another birthday today is a great journey of God’s love, power, grace and mercy because I would have died a thousand deaths if not for the great love and power of Christ Jesus who daily helps me, fights for me, keeps me, delivers me and anchors me.
Certainly clocking over 50 in this age and time is no mean feat. Life has not been rosy and the road has been very challenging but I have a never die spirit that keeps going forward and upwards by the special grace of God. The Church where I worship, the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Court of His Majesty Parish in Lagos has been a hiding place and a sanctuary to my soul because of the teachings of my pastor, Pastor Fred Odekhian who God Almighty has used to help reinforce of faith and confidence in God these many years. I have attended Redeemed Christian Church of God now since 1998.
I have many testimonies to share and if I was to list them they would certainly fill up 3 volumes of more of another book in the nearest future. Is it my deliverance from severe depression in 1998, or my decision to become a writer in 2009, or my great rise and rise in my field of writing and publishing or my excellent health and soundness and sanity of mind since 1998 till date.
I took time to write out a list of some of my major blessings, breakthroughs and victories since 1998 and I wrote more than 25 Pages and wrote more than 55 major testimonies. I am living proof that God is alive and that He still answers prayers. My testimonies are great, glorious and past finding out.
How do you advise youths of today based on your life experience, and the evolving fast-lane lifestyle they engage in?
I would tell them to ‘CALM DOWN’ like our amiable and effective governor in Lagos State always tells Lagosians. Also to ‘FARABALE’ this is a Yoruba word made popular by the Vice President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo. Farabale means take it easy! The fast lane route is a destroying route. The younger generation needs to discover their purpose in life early and earnestly begin to pursue it. They need to always keep good company because evil communications corrupt good manners. They need to shun evil and flee the path of wickedness. They need to love God deeply and honestly and obey His commandments and keep his decrees daily. They need to become creative, innovative, proactive and live a wise and knowledgeable life.
They need to say ‘No’ to drugs and yes to a life of No to sex before marriage. Finally they need to obey their parents and live a life of purity and honesty. This is the sure path that guarantees greatness in life because to fear God is to be wise and to be wise is to be great!
What is your message to Nigerians in this post Covid-19 period, as well as the country marks its 60 years of independence?
My message to Nigerians in this post covid-19 period is the need for every Nigerian to have the fear of the living God and to shun evil at all cost. We also need to rethink, re-strategise and reengineer our lives, businesses and communities and nation. This is why there is now a call for Restructuring in the Nigerian political space. Nigeria needs to be urgently restructured so that every citizen of Nigeria can properly feel a strong sense of belonging; a country that has such large number of citizens, wallowing in abject poverty because its leaders, both in the political and religious space have failed woefully. We are in dire need of sacrificial and transformational leaders whose concern is for the wellbeing and welfare of its citizens not to feed on the ignorance and poverty of its people.
We need to become self-reliant as citizens of Nigeria. Our present government needs to think outside the box and really diversify our economy so that we are not a mono-product economy. The government of Nigeria needs to do more to gets its people out of abject poverty going forward. A lot of Nigerians are pushed to the brink of crime because they cannot find any other way to survive.
Nigerians need to be prayerful, hopeful and work at their strengths and gifting from God. I followed the path of my dreams and worked tirelessly at my writing craft and God helped me. This too can be the testimony of any Nigerian because when we work hard, pray hard and believe in God success will eventually happen if we do not quit in our game.