“The only fear I have is to lose heaven,” the Archbishop of Lagos State, Alfred Adewale Martins, reveals in this interview with FUNSHO AKINWALE, where he bares it all on his work as a cleric, his relationship with God and life at 60.
Alfred Adewale Martins is the Archbishop of Lagos State. He replaced his Eminence Anthony Cardinal Okogie, who resigned a few years ago at the age of 75. In this interview with FUNSHO AKINWALE, the Abeokuta, Ogun State-born cleric speaks on his 60th birthday celebration held on June 1, 2019.
At 60, how grateful are you to God?
This 60 years by the grace of God, I had no cause to feel abandoned by God. Indeed, I have had every cause to feel his grace that has been carrying me on. God has been like a wind behind sea, sailing me all through my life. So the celebration is all about thanksgiving to God who has been gracious to me. I’m also grateful to some people who have been part of my life since the beginning. These people are my family, the church, the leadership of the church and all those who have taught me one thing or the other all these years. That is the greatest feeling I have at this point in time.
At this stage of your life, what do you still expect from God?
First of all, I wish God would still continue to keep my feet on the path of faith, practice of the faith, help people to live in the faith and to chart a path for people to live their faith. That is the greatest thing I will love God to do for me. Really, what is someone’s purpose in life? The purpose of one’s life from the point of view of faith is to know God, love God, to serve Him. All of these is in order to be with him forever and the worlds to come. So the fulfillment of my own purpose in life is for God to keep my feet steady on this earth.
What has life taught you at 60?
Life has taught me that practising the faith is a very important part of life. And no one can live a fulfilled life without having faith in God. I try to live the faith from day to day. Life has taught me that every individual is important. Every human being is created in the image and likeness of God and therefore what you do to each person is greatly important to how you will spend your life after this world. In other words, the relationship you have with people, how you treat them, how you respect them and disrespect them is important. That is one of the things life has taught me these past years. I have also learnt that it is important to do the best possible, to look through the lenses of other people to see their point of view, appreciate their point of view and also help them to realize the position that you have. Life has also taught me to be fair to all as much as necessary. In fact, it is important to be fair to all as a part of justice. All in all, faith, life, religion is very key in having a cordial relationship with God.
Do you have any fear?
Fear about what? I don’t have any fear. But if you say concerns, yes, I have concerns for this country. Insecurity, the future of our youths are some of my concerns. The only fear I have is to lose heaven.
How did you celebrate your 60th birthday?
It was a four-day event. During that period, we visited the motherless babies’ homes that is run by the sisters of Mother Theresa. We did that because we needed to celebrate and pray together. We also engaged with old people’s homes, so as to interact with our elders who are in the homes. We did a special package for Children’s Day on May 27, while we had an evening of music and then on the day of the celebration which is June 1, we had a mass thanksgiving at the Cathedral here followed by a reception.