Sunday, 23 August 2015

Why Aladura Church has not broken in 79 years —Primate Ositelu + Secrets of their Mount Tabieorar

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His Eminence with Senior Ministerial Aides and his media visitors from Asabeafrika & City People Magazine
Meeting His Eminence, The Most Reverend (Dr.) Rufus Okikiola Olubiyi Ositelu  the Primate and Metropolitan Archbishop of the Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide and The Pope of Aladura Communion Worldwide was a miracle last Friday August 21. The encounter held on the eve of the ministry’s annual Tabieorar event, a divine-miracle filled covenant event where faithful congregate every year to celebrate God and derive his immense blessings on August 22.

It all began with my trip to Orin-Ekiti to celebrate the funeral of the father of Late Chief (Mrs.) Dupe Jemibewon, Chief John Bosede Ajajyi between August 6th and 8th. I had shared a Limousine ride with this down-to-earth and spirit filled woman of God, Reverend (Mrs.) Dupe Oshitelu. She is a childhood friend of my host. They all grew together in Ibadan but Dupe Jemibewon calls her “Aunty” because she is allegedly older with some 4 years.
Our relationship grew strong after the 180 minutes journey from Ibadan to Orin-Ekiti. By Sunday 9th August 2015, when I was leaving Orin, she has adopted me as her “son”. On my return to Lagos, the relationship blossomed. I got to know that her late husband, Rev. Gideon Oshitelu is one of the scions of the late founder of The Church of the Lord, Aladura. And that the present Primate/Spiritual Head of the church is her in-law. That fired my journalistic interest. I wanted the man for an interview. One, he is a very quite man who rarely talks. Two, his church seems to be one of the few Nigerian churches with no record of leadership rancor. I told my ‘new mother’ about my passion to speak to her in-law and she promised to make it happen but on one condition “If you will come to Ogere on Mount Tabieorar”. I chuckled even though I needed the interview than the rigors of travelling down to Ogere the ancestral home of the Ositelus. One thing about Reverend (Mrs.) Dupe Oshitelu is her magnanimous humility and networking ability. Unlike many timid Nigerians; this 65 years old calls your phone herself, speaks with you and never mind the cost of the call. Her pragmatism quotient is quite high.

His Eminence Most Rev. Dr. Rufus Okikiola Olubiyi Ositelu on One-on-One with the GDA

The appointment was first made for Wednesday, August 19th but later re-scheduled to Friday 21st on the order of the Primate. On Friday, myself and my Professional Mentor, Dr. Seye Kehinde, Publisher of Nigeria’s leading soft sell brand, CITY PEOPLE headed straight to Ogere in Remo LGA of Ogun state, South West Nigeria. He drove us in his official car and by 10 am we were there but we didn’t see the Primate till 1pm.  It was then and there we discovered that the Primate and his elders have been on a 13 days fasting and prayer session to herald their yearly prophetic Mount Tabieorar event which takes place on every 22nd of August. In fact, they have been in a spirit filled mood since the fasting started and that day was the 12th day. Some of his aides who initially spoke to us expressed fears that the man might open up to us. Why? “Baba has not spoken to anybody since the last 12 days and he will only speak tomorrow during the Tabieorar service” one of his male aides who is in charge of his  media relation rattled our psyche to bits. However, despite her busy schedule in another part of the massive Tabieorar village, Rev. (Mrs.) Dupe Oshitelu personally came to our rescue. After some human relations ritual between herself and the aide who doubted our ability to see his boss, we were finally allowed into the main spiritual area where the Primate resides. There were other activities going on in the large compound in preparation for the event of the next day. We were asked to remove our shoes as we are on a Holy Land. Three hours later, through the grace of God and the humility of Reverend (Mrs.) Dupe Oshitelu, we were invited into the ambience of His Eminence. We became lucky as we were the very first set of people he would be speaking with after a straight 12 days no-speaking-with-anybody prayer engagement. The  encounter was among his aides.    
 Primate Rufus Olubiyi Ositelu a German trained Doctor of Computer Science and Ph-D holder in Religious Studies took over from his late brother the late Gabriel Olusegun Ositelu couple of years back. He is the 4th Primate of the 79 year’s old church which was founded by his late father, Prophet and Superintended General (Dr.) Josiah Olunowo Ositelu, the first Primate in 1925.
The founder was survived by (Dr.) Emanuel Adeleke Adejobi before his two sons came in succession through the dictates of the Holy Spirit.
 Unarguably the longest traditional church in Africa after Cherubim and Seraphim and the Celestial Church of Christ; The Aladura Church has a rich history of spirituality and divine healing.

His Eminence, The Most Rev. Dr. Rufus Okikiola Ositelu Speaks on the importance of Tabieorar

His Eminence Dr. Rufus Okikiola Olubiyi Ositelu who is the only African on the board of Global Forum of Theological Educators (GFTE, UK) an international Christian Leadership organization that measures standards and character of church leaders around the globe opened up to your Africa’s number 1 Celebrity Encounter blog Asabeafrika on his call, the uniqueness of his ministry and the spiritual significance of Tabieorar among other issues of importance; enjoy the excerpts.

Late Founder and 1st Primate, Church of the Lord, Aladura Dr. Josiah Olunowo Ositelu
His Eminence The Most Rev. Dr. Rufus Okikiola Olubiyi Ositelu 4

Your Eminence, can you tell us a bit about Church of the Lord-Aladura?
The Church of the Lord (Prayer Fellowship) Worldwide was founded in the year 1925 by the man of God, Prophet General (Dr.) Josiah Olunowo Ositelu and when God called him, God revealed a lot of things unto him which he penned down. And that is why this church is very well known for being prophetic because that is the foundation of the church; and some of the things God revealed to him as far back as 1928 have come to pass.  Then the Church that started in a village, it was predicted that the church is going to go beyond the seas. People laughed him off, that a church that you cannot even find in Ijebu, not to talk of Western Region of Nigeria; now God is telling you it is going to go beyond the sea. It is unbelievable but as God will have it by 1947,the church became the first African Church to be established in Sierra Leone, the first African church to be established in Liberia and in 1952, it also became the first African Church to be established in Ghana and in 1964 it became the first African church to be established on the European soil in Great Britain. Though it was the same year but few months after Church of the Lord has been established in London that C & S (Cherubim and Seraphim) also was established in London; that was four months later. Since then the church has been growing in leaps and bounds. We give God the glory.

The Most Rev. Gabriel Olusegun Ositelu, Third Primate of Church

We look at African churches today and you will discover that there have been so many leadership tussles but in this church, by the grace of God, I am the 4th Primate. So, that tells you a lot. It is actually a unique grace; here we don’t have that type of problem. But more importantly, the church is so unique. Let me come back a little to the uniqueness of our church. First, I want to let you know that the church is founded on six tenets. One, we are prophetic in ministry like I have already mentioned; two, ecumenical in outlook, which means we allow an interdenominational worship with other Christians. We don’t say, ‘oh, don’t come to us we want to be on our own alone. We are ecumenical in outlook and thirdly, we are Pentecostal in power. Fourthly, we are evangelical in mission and fifthly, we are social in responsibility because we believe wherever the church is, the church should be a blessing to the community around that place the church is situated. And that actually dictated why we have schools, hospitals and many other social facilities for the benefit of mankind, free of charge. Sixthly, we are Biblical in pattern, which means that, everything we do in this church is according to the scripture. You will not find any of our tradition, doctrine or liturgy outside the scripture. 

“The most important significance of Tabieorar are two folds; number one is for the people to receive blessings from God because when we started, God told the founder that on the 13th day, let the congregation come over to Tabieorar to be blessed and they will enter into a covenant with God because the God of Tabieorar is a covenant God, and you tell God, ‘God, this is what I want, if you do it for me, next year, this is what I will do”
His Eminence tells the GDA something about the unity of the Church of the Lord, Aladura

A signboard of their Tabieorar 2015 event which took place a day after the encounter

The History of Tabieorar
 In 1937, the Lord told the founder to go to a secluded place where he was mandated to fast and pray for 13 days and on the 13th day, the congregation should come to meet him and he should bless them. That is how Tabieorar started. It started in 1937 and that is why we are celebrating the 80th anniversary of Tabieorar next year by the grace of God.  I was talking about uniqueness of this church and I can tell you as a theologian that you cannot find this kind of doctrine in any church in the world. The only tradition that is similar to it is the 25th of December Christmas celebration. When God told the founder to come to this Tabieorar, He told him that it will be celebrated on the 22nd of every August irrespective of the day of the week. So, since 1937, Tabieorar has always been celebrated on the 22nd of August. That is the uniqueness I was talking about. There is something wonderful about this church that is beyond human’s reasoning. Today, to God be the glory because the Lord said don’t put on your light and hide it under the table. Every Church in Nigeria is running to the Express (Road) any available express (Road) mostly Lagos-Ibadan Express Road and we even have them outside Ibadan along the major express roads. This is the only church in Nigeria that express road came to meet in the 1980s; there is no other church in this Nigeria, this is the only church that an express road came to meet on its own location. While other churches are running to take a space on the various express roads, the express road came to us and we return the glory to God Almighty. There are many other things God gave to us. If we are talking of membership in the World Council of Churches, it was so miraculous, while other churches name it, Methodist, Anglican, any church in this world; they all filled a form and applied for membership. This is the only church that the World Council of Churches invited to come and be a member in 1975. It is a rare honor and privilege. 

“They said ‘ok, tell us, who are your friends in the army who want to topple our government’ but he said ‘I don’t know anybody; I don’t know any General that is what God told me’. They said ‘Okay, when we torture you, you will talk”

His Eminence, The Most Rev. Dr. Rufus Okikiola Olubiyi Ositelu and Senior Ministeria Aides with the GDA and Dr. Seye Kehinde

Sir, today, we see a lot of white garment churches like C&S and even Celestial Church of Christ having to battle the pangs of multi-pastoralist challenges among several other crisis of wits; how did your church escaped such leadership crisis that is rampart in other churches?
There is no really big secret about it but if you want to know much, I will tell you that the secret is just because this church is being directed by the Holy Spirit. We do everything by the dictates of the Holy Spirit-“The Lord Says” and not by human knowledge because that is the foundation of the church, it is not by human knowledge though we have a constitution and in that constitution, everything is also guided by the Holy Spirit. For the emergence of a Primate, there are two possible methods. It is either the incumbent as directed by the Holy Spirit proclaims his successor while he is still alive but in the absence of that, if the incumbent did not proclaim anybody and death come along, then all the Arch-Bishops, all the Bishops, we call Bishops and Arc-Bishops in our church Prelates. They will come from all over the world, come to this mount (Tabieorar), pray and fast for 7 days and ask God; it is a little bit similar but also different to that of the Catholic Church but I think it is only the Catholic Church and our church that has such a similar doctrine. But we are a little bit different because the Arch-Bishops will pray and ask God, it is not a question of voting. It is not having two or three names. Nothing like that; you go to God in prayers without having any name; ‘God, tell us who should be the next Primate’ that is the prayer point. In the early years of this church, the Primates were always proclaiming their successors. My father proclaimed Emmanuel Adejobi as his successor and Adejobi proclaimed my brother as his successor but my brother died without proclaiming anybody and that was how the second part of the constitution came to bear. So, all the Bishops, Arch-Bishops were here on the mount, praying and fasting for 7 days and on the 7th day, they all came and because it is a very sacred prayer, you don’t discus with your colleague; the Board of Trustees just gave them a paper with an envelope, whatever God has shown to you, write it down and put it in the envelope; when the Board of Trustee comes, hand over the envelope to them, they will open it, have a meeting, analyze it and come out with a verdict.  There is no election or anything like that and if there is any election, it is the spiritual election. It is not about ‘Oh, who do you want among this three?’ there is nothing like that in our church. In my own case, that is what happened but when people hear Ositelu it is like it is hereditary. Adejobi is not Ositelu, he was another person entirely; that is Emmanuel Adeleke Adejobi. So, there is nothing hereditary about the church. In my case, when the people prayed and submitted their conviction to the Board of Trustee, the Board of Trustees opened it and discovered that it was only my name; there was no other second name. I want you to remember that I was not even in Nigeria then; so; most of those who wrote my name don’t even know me. Because I was based in Europe at the time, I was in Germany. So, in absentia, without knowing anybody and maybe two or three knew me among the entire sixteen people that congregated; the rest didn’t know me. So, that was how I emerged, also in a spiritual manner according to the constitution.

His Eminence, The Most Rev. Dr.Rufus Okikiola Olubiyi Ositelu after the encounter

Why Tabieorar is Powerful
Can you tell us the significant of Tabieorar which you are presently celebrating and what is the spiritual significance for Nigeria?
The most important significance of Tabieorar are two folds; number one is for the people to receive blessings from God because when we started, God told the founder that on the 13th day, let the congregation come over to Tabieorar to be blessed and they will enter into a covenant with God because the God of Tabieorar is a covenant God, and you tell God, ‘God, this is what I want, if you do it for me, next year, this is what I will do. So, there will be a time during the course of the program people will make vows and I want to assure you that if you come you will witness it yourself and see that you have never seen anywhere in the world where testimonies abound in leap like Mount Tabieorar because when people come to redeem their vows, it is nothing but testimony, that God has done it because if God has not done it, they wont come to redeem their vows which is normal. You will see hundreds of thousands redeeming their vows on the mount year in and year out. It is just in the last few years that we started allowing 3 or 10 people to come out and give testimonies because if we allow a hundred thousand persons to talk and express themselves we will be here till the end of the year. Even if we give them two-two minutes, people will still be talking till the end of the year and wont even take a holiday for it but because it is between them and God, we just allow them, redeem your vow and if you want another thing, pray to God again; enter into a vow with God, make a covenant with Him and He is going to do it. So, He is a covenant God that has been performing miracles year in year out and those who come to redeem their vows are enough witnesses to that event. That is one; number two, during the course of the 13 days fasting and prayer, God always reveal to us what is going to happen the following year, in Nigeria and other countries. That is the second significance of Tabieorar. Because we always intercede for all the countries of the world and the revelation is always a printed matter. On the Tabieorar day we only read for the world and Nigeria and people can buy the pamphlets. Being a printed matter, we always send the revelations to embassies of concerned countries and they always acknowledge our mail and thank us for our concern even though it is not all the time we have the acknowledgement coming. But we will always send it to them no matter what.

His Eminence, making a point to Asabeafrika

How revelation of Buhari’s Coup led to my predecessor’s arrest
God has revealed so many things on this mount that is beyond human comprehension. One of my predecessors said God told him in August of 1983 on Tabieorar day as part of the revelation for Nigeria that the government was going to be toppled before the end of that year, he was arrested. Immediately after the Tabieorar service, he was arrested.  They said ‘ok, tell us, who are your friends in the army who want to topple our government’ but he said ‘I don’t know anybody; I don’t know any General that is what God told me’. They said ‘Okay, when we torture you, you will talk’. They tortured him, they did everything but because there was nobody that discussed with him but God Himself through the manifestation of the Holy Spirit and that was the time of Shagari, today we all know the story because December of that year, Shagari’s government was toppled. We all know the event of 9/11 in the history of America; a year before that event God revealed to me that a small country, small in terms of power is going to attack the United States by using her terrorists. As God will have it, we sent two copies of that prediction to the embassy of the United States in Lagos then, like I told you earlier, it is not all the time they acknowledge our mail but as God will have this particular one was acknowledged and American Embassy thanked us because I still have the letters in my file. There was even a time we published it; and unfortunately, it came to pass, and that was how we had 9/11. So, that is another significance of Mount Tabieorar, God talks to us concerning different events, different vocations and different countries on what is going to happen. In fact, when the Ooni of Ife passed on, somebody just called and said “Hey, look at the revelation of last year” because there is a revelation for every month and it is there that a prominent king is going to die in that particular month; and he said ‘Ah, this God of Tabieorar is a mighty God’ but because we are just vessels in God’s hand; at times we don’t even take cognizance of the fact that we have said it because the only part we read is the revelation for the month and the prayers, because we always say the prayer in our churches all over the world every month because there is a revelation for every month and a prayer for the month.

The GDA listening to His Eminence as Dr. Seye Kehinde of City People jotted down some facts
The Most Rev. Apostle Dr. Emmanuel Adeleke Adejobi, Second Prim

Can you tell us how your dad the late founder of this ministry raised you? What was the biggest philosophy he inculcated in you?  
To be candid, my dad did what is in the scriptures. Teach your children the way they should go and when they grow older they will not depart from it. So, we were well disciplined even thought my dad himself will not beat you but he will call his Secretary ‘Oya give that boy six lashes, give him three lashes’ and any other punishment you deserve. He has never raised his cane against any of us but he will tell his secretary to do that for him. So, he disciplined us and we were well disciplined and I benefit so much from him, to be candid. I can say that is the bedrock of my philosophy; discipline and I still believe in it that if we discipline our children, we are just preparing a better tomorrow for them, the Bible say no discipline has ever killed a child. It will only refine that child and that child will become a better citizen in the future. And I just give God the glory because I have always been interested in the things of God. I told you jut now, I was not into theology even though I was familiar with things of God but I was not a pastor, I was not a full time pastor when the calling came. I was a computer scientist while I was in Germany. Although I pioneered the branch of our church while I was in Germany until the call came. It never crossed my mind because I was deeply involved in my career and other things abroad not knowing that God has a bigger assignment for me at home.

His Eminence, The Most Re. Dr. Rufus Okikiola Olubiyi Ositelu in a historic pose with Asabeafrika's Gbenga Dan Asabe and Dr. Seye Kehinde

(Cuts in) Did you try to run away from the calling?
(General Laughter) it is a pity our former secretary is not here now, I mean my predecessor’s secretary. He was the one that placed the call. See how God works, around that time I have not attended Tabieorar for a long number of years. it was that very year I planned to attend Tabieorar and I know how difficult it is to get ticket because it is an holiday period in Europe but miraculously I was able to get one; I had already arranged for my ticket until about three or four days to Tabieorar, the call came from Nigeria ‘You are wanted sir, you are wanted in Nigeria, you must attend this year’s Tabieorar sir’ etc, he didn’t tell me the reasons. So, I didn’t know; there was no cause for me to run away because I didn’t know. Everyone was surprised including myself; it was on Tabieorar that it was proclaimed. Nobody gave me a hint, even some of them who knew kept me here; they kept me away from people, they said I should come straight to the mount and they kept me somewhere here at the mount and still not allowed people to come close to me so that people might tell me something. Although not many people knew, only the prelates and the Board of Trustees that knew. Other ministers did not know. So, on that very day, 22nd of August when it was proclaimed we were taken unaware including me.

The GDA and Dr. Seye Kehinde of City People listens to His Eminence with rapt attention

Were you afraid when the huge lot fell on you?
I was not afraid but I was overwhelmed because something that never crosses one’s mind could be so sudden. Can you imagine, it never crossed my mind, it was never my wish to become a full time minister it was never my wish. So, I was overwhelmed. Look, God is truly awesome. He is awesome.
His Eminence with Senior Ministerial Aide and The Media Guests
His Eminence Speaks to Asabeafrika as his aides listens

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