Bishop Ighele: A man of integrity, philanthropy

…Promoting marriage, family values through advocacy

Cyriacus Nnaji

Bishop Charles Ighele, General Superintendent of the Holy Spirit Mission (aka Happy Family Centre) Akowonjo, Lagos with over 80 branches across Nigeria, is also known to be involved in many life-changing initiatives to help humanity.

Soft spoken but point blank on and out of the podium, Ighele remains one of few men of God who speak the truth especially when it matters most.

He is a minster of the gospel of Jesus Christ who is known for his high level of integrity across the globe. This was attested to by the world renowned televangelist Reinhard Bonnke who went to be with the Lord on the 7th of December, 2019 when he said “Bishop Charles Ighele is one of the top three people with the highest level of integrity he has met in Africa since he has been ministering in Africa,” Bonnke had stated.

Talking about his church’s Mission Statement: “We invite nations and generations to experience God’s love and power.” “Our mission is what we do”. It is a place where Love, Faith, Happiness, Signs, Wonders, Breakthrough, the Word of God is been shared.

He calls a spade a spade, no matter whose ox is gored. During his Christmas/New Year message while decrying the parlous state of the nation, Bishop Ighele called on leaders to care for the common man in the society. He condemned a situation where the nation’s leaders have failed to use leadership to lift up the common man and warned that a third estate is rising. “Instead of using leadership to lift up the common man the way they would do to their own children, they use their positions to lift up their loved ones and children and have perfected the knowledge of the crumbs that will make the politically illiterate masses to be happy. And they call this leadership. But there is a third estate that is rising; they belong to no political party, they are not apolitical; they are not partisan, but they have a measure of political literacy and sagacity,” Ighele reiterated.

He said if government is serious, it should identify, study and provide what this group is demanding.

He also cautioned those that see leadership as a sign of being superior to others. “The typical Nigerian politician, clergy, traditional rulers, business leaders, husbands see leadership as a sign that they have arrived. They therefore see themselves as big men to be respected and served. They see themselves as people to be adored.” 

He insists that the government should sit up to save and serve the people, if not this group will keep getting stronger and stronger until they get stronger than the government. 

The bishop in his love for happy marriage and family life also has a matchmaking agency to end late marriages among Christians in Nigeria. The agency which is called Charles and Carol Matchmaking Agency is co-founded by the bishop and is wife, Pastor Carol Ighele.

In an interview with a reputable media outfit he said “We have set up a matchmaking agency to solve the problem of late marriages. It’s a dating agency. Already people are coming in. We are passionate about it and I can tell you that there are quite some professionals who cannot leave their offices from morning till night. We will not be matchmaking them, but linking them.

“We call it linking Abraham’s children, linking God’s children the Abraham’s way.  Just like Abraham’s son, Isaac, was linked to Rebecca. We carried out some studies and we found out that in those days, my parents and grandparents, all their marriages were through linking and a lot of them survived and they did better than today where we pick people along the road.”

Talking about how to make marriage work, Ighele whose one desire has always been to do the will of God, never hid his formula that has ensured success of his own marriage. “In my own case, I have an agreement with my wife to take her out once a week. We may not always meet up with it. Once a week we eat out, we chat, we laugh and that’s apart from our usual relaxations where we swim together and just having some nice time together. When I didn’t have the resources to do this, I used to take her to some neat local restaurant we could afford. Then once in a while, we would go to a hotel and have a bottle of soft drink which we would both share. We would just sit there, chat and go home because the resources were not there. I knew from the very beginning to learn to take my wife out and I still do that till date. I feel that is what couples should do.

“Couples should not just stay indoors. You can’t keep locking your wife at home and call that marriage. Take her out, enjoy your life, that is what I do and that is what so many people who listen to my teachings do.”

He always says that marriage is the only institution where people go into without qualification. Anybody jumps into it. “This prompted us to start what we call the Institute for Marriages and Family Intimacy Studies which prepares people for marriage. A lady who passed through that institute said that the institute prepared her for marriage. I think that in our marriage counselling, we should make it deeper. I am thinking of bringing up that institute again in Lagos so that it can train people.”

Ighele has been involved in so many life-changing initiatives to help the society and one of it is the multi-million naira ‘African Children Village’ project. In an interview with The Guardian, he explains the idea behind the project.

While disclosing the vision of the Village he said “The vision to build the African Children’s Village was borne out of the need to care for babies intended to be sold, abandoned babies, thrown away babies, babies intended to be killed because their parents do not want them or because their parents wants money or for rituals. Bishop Charles Ighele wants a place of refuge and respite for the innocent children whose future he believes are bright and should not be truncated by the evil acts of their parents or their parent’s parents.

Little wonder he also built what is today known as New Life for Teenage Mothers. A registered organization with government of Nigeria responsible for taking care of teenagers who got pregnant and have nowhere to go and also have lost all hopes because their parents have driven them out of the house because of the alleged shame and embarrassment that the pregnancy has brought to them.

Bishop Charles Ighele is a family centric man. He vehemently seeks ways that families and marriages can be better and sweeter. How marriages can be made to return to how God created it to be. He has been a marriage and family counsellor for so many years. It is the first marriage and family program to go on air in this part of Africa. He has written so many books among which are, But Where is My Daddy?; Understanding the Quarrelling Style of Your Spouse; and How to Properly Apologize to Your Spouse to mention a few.

Bishop Charles Ighele has been given integrity awards.
The Comproller General of Immigration Services in Nigeria personally presented an award to him on behalf of Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria for his humanitarian works.

Speaking on the work of the village, according to The Guardian, he said, “One of the social problems in Nigeria today is that many teenagers, young ladies in particular get pregnant indiscriminately. Some of them throw these babies away. It is so common now.

 “If you take an environmental scanning, you will see that hundreds of babies are thrown away every year. It is a social problem and, based on that premise, we now have to think of setting up an African Children Village to cater for these children. In the first phase, we have to construct a structure of about 30 bungalows. It is like a town, hence, the name, African Children Village. Each bungalow will have a live-in mother – someone who loves children, passionate about being with kids. And someone who might have had experiences about children of such nature or perhaps wants children of her own and maybe has no husband. But they must love children. They will be selected from the African countries.

“Each home will accommodate 4 – 5 children with a mother they know, who will bring them up as a family. At the home they will grow up together, with the woman as their mother and other kids as their siblings. This is different from the typical orphanage homes.

“For the children, this is the only town they know as their own. From here, they will grow up, go to school, learn, become independent and finally integrate into the society. We will get people that matter in the society to pay for their education. This is what we are doing now with the resources in our hands.

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