interviewBy Ruth Tene Natsa
Pastor Frank Asuquo is an Architect, businessman and philanthropist who runs a Non Governmental Organisation (Homes and Helps Ministries International), an organisation focused on teaching the principles of wealth creation and keeping a united home. In this interview with Ruth Tene Natsa, he speaks on how he is able to mix religion and business to be a success.
How are you able to mix God and business?
God himself is a Business man, so the principles in business are drawn from the scriptures, there is nothing anybody can do and succeed outside of God, so when you believe and recognise that, then you are at a position of advantage in that, if you are on God's side. He makes things easier for you to do than others that do not know what the real principles are.
How did you get into business?
I am a civil servant, but do other businesses because, as we all know in Nigeria today, if we are frank with ourselves, nobody can survive on salary only, except the people in oil and gas, I am an architect by profession involved in building, renovations and anything that has to do with housing, amongst others in partnership with my wife, who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). I also have a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) - Homes and Helps Ministries International which we use in empowering people.
We have what we call the wealthy hands, telling men that every man that God gives two hands must have something to do. We have been able to, with the help of God achieve to a reasonable level trying to tell men it pays to do things right, it is just like in construction site, it is cheaper to do the right thing the first time than doing the wrong and having to correct it again, so we try to teach that a man is the symbol of God in the home unit, so when he follows God's principles and recognises that he is accountable to God and begins to uphold principles and to function as he ought to, the society will have less problems and there will be peace.
When you look at the problems we face in the society, it is mostly because of failed fatherhood, men because of the pursuit of money have not been able to give their children the foundation they are supposed to have, so that is where the whole problems in the society starts.
What do you see as the reason behind collapsed structures in Nigeria?
Collapsed structures are as a result of people wanting to cut corners and not using the correct professionals, particularly in supervision, which could be where the problem is. The design may be perfect, but there are specifications for materials and how these materials should be put together, and if the specifications are not adhered to. It is just like water, if you are supposed to use clean water, but use dirty water which is muddy, some of them may have specified chemical ratios needed for particular reactions.
Again, some of them collapse because of sharp practices, For instance you will charge N16 million for a building project, but somebody will want you to use N12 million to bribe the supervisor who eventually turns his face on the job. So another reason for buildings collapse is the lack of supervision, because one thing is to decide on what one wants to do and another thing is to follow it up and ensure it is done properly.
What do you say about the recent alarm on the importation of fake steel rods and other building materials into the country?
They are everywhere because our Standards Organisation is not working the way, they should, we don't even have standards, when you talk of electrical cables, Nigerian cables are the best, but people will want to cut corners because they always want to maximise profit and from the entry point, people that are supposed to check these things one way or the other compromise things, so the problem extends to all other sectors.
Many say there is no money in Nigeria how are you able to keep a business and an NGO running?
No money? There is so much money in Nigeria, it is only those that want to pretend that will say there is no money, but you know, by reason of the life we live and looking at our creator that others may not see, if you go out, you hear no money in Nigeria, yet people are driving around in the most expensive cars, so when somebody says there is no money, he fails to understand that money is only a reward for solving a problem, so in as much as you identify a problem and then solve it, money comes.
It is different, between how we as Christians look at money and how the rest of the world see money, because there is a difference between wants and needs. Our problems are our want, somebody wants at the age of 30 to own an aircraft, what do you need it for, just because somebody else has it and that brings us back to the same thing, which is why in my business and work, we emphasise on purpose.
When you discover the assignment that God has given to you, you know that that is where you will be judged. I do not need an aircraft to fulfil your purpose, so we begin to teach people first to discover the reason why they are created and once they discover that, then God provides for that assignment that He gives to people, if you are doing another man's assignment, that is when you hear complains of no assignment.
Tell us about the NGO?
We have a group called marriage covenant keepers; those that have made up their minds that no separation, divorce will deter them striving to bring healing to their troubled homes.
The NGO empowers men greatly, because once a man functions well in his position every other thing functions well in life. If you do not want to make money and your children are wayward, you cannot count yourself a success, we learn from one another, because once a man and his wife live lovingly, it will extend to the children and we take care of the needy.