Charles Awuzie is a South African based Nigerian pastor, a Cyber-security expert and the CEO of Gemsbok Group Pty.Ltd. in this interview with Ugoma Johnson, he talks about business/ministry. Excerpt.
Can we meet you, sir? Tell us a bit about yourself, and education.
I am a Nigerian, a pastor, a software engineer, an ethical hacker/Cyber-security expert and I studied Biochemistry at the University.
I am the CEO of Gemsbok Group Pty. Ltd, a South African Technology company located in the South of Johannesburg. I started preaching at quite a young age and served under seasoned ministers of the gospel.
My dad couldn’t have a child after several years of marriage. I remember him telling me that he promised God that the first child God gives him shall be returned back to God as a minister of the gospel. So when I was less than 9, my dad took me to a prophet whose name was Chichinta and that was my first exposure to the work of the ministry.
At the age of 9, I preached my first sermon at Iheorji Secondary School, in Aba but you know, growing up into my teenage years was challenging. Teenage exuberance dimmed my passion for the ministry as I started pursuing secular education. It was in my second year in the university that God arrested me again and since then up to today, I have been burning for Jesus, travelling from nation to nation, city to city, preaching the Finished Work of Christ.
You run an IT firm in South Africa, what exact services does the company render to clients?
At Gemsbok Group Pty. Ltd we provide the following services:
Web Development. Mobile App Development. Business Software Engineering. Information Security. Networking and Branding.
As a Nigerian, what is it like doing business in a foreign land, and looking at the way Nigeria is going today, do you think that
the Government policies here makes it harder for new businesses to
rise compared to the foreign land?
Well, doing business in a foreign land has been challenging, especially in a politically sensitive country like South Africa. Competing against locals is daring but with strategic Corporate Social Responsibility policies and practices, our company have been able to smoothly integrate with our host community.
With regards to doing business in Nigeria, I have been there. It is not easy. The Nigerian Government economic policies are actually not harsh on start Ups but the Nigerian system does not provide a flourishing environment for the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises.
A system that operates by corruption and nepotism will only favor a select few at the detriment of the emerging millions. Take for example, in 2010, I brought investors from Canada to Abuja. They wanted to establish a precision tool manufacturing factory in Nigeria but government officials frustrated that project because we refused to pay bribes to facilitate necessary processes.
The system is the problem. If we fix the Nigerian system through mental re-orientation, things will start working well in the country.
What would you say to that Nigerian youth who is desperate to leave the country for greener pastures?
Before you leave the country, empower yourself with hands-on skills. Life outside Nigeria is not as rosy as it appears on Instagram. Make plans for one-year accommodation in the country you want to travel to. Don’t go on a visitor’s visa – secure a long-term resident permit. You don’t want to keep hiding from immigration officers in the country you are travelling to.
As a pastor/entrepreneur, what has the experience been like?
It is fulfilling. I always say that God gave us knees to pray and hands to work. So our knees are for ministry and our hands are for business.
When I say that God gave us knees to pray and hands to do business what it simply means is that we as ministers of the gospel have the ability to multi-task. It is not possible for a pastor to always be on his knees praying 24 hours a day. When we are not praying, what else should we be doing? We should be working with our hands to earn our own living, rather than depend on the flocks that God has put under our care to disciple in faith.
As a major voice in the ongoing Apostolic Reformation, where would you say the church got it wrong and what is the way forward?
The church missed it when we took our eyes off what Jesus did on the cross and started focusing on materialism, code-named prosperity. Mammon crept in and before you know it, the gospel was hijacked by hirelings. But we thank God for the impact of the ongoing apostolic reformation. Truth is prevailing.
Over the years we have seen some pastors abandon their jobs/businesses in the name of going into full-time ministry, we have even heard some say that God frustrated their efforts in business because He wanted them to go into full-time ministry, based on this mentality, what is your advice to the up and coming generation of
My advice to the upcoming preachers is to follow Apostle Paul’s ministry model. Paul is my role model. Follow him, study him, work like him and teach like him.
Having lived in South Africa for years now, do you have any plan of relocating to Nigeria soon?
Well, I have a strong passion for Nigeria. I want to set my people free from religious, economic and societal slavery. I can do so much through the internet but I can do much more when I am on the ground. So yes, one of these days, I will be home to contribute to the development of my nation.