When their Church Service began on Sunday, 21st January, 2018, members of Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), Genesis International Parish, Alakuko, Lagos, under the Shepherd ship of Pastor Israel Oladele popularly referred to as Genesis, knew they were in for a special service on the day. And the reason was that they were expecting an unusual guest: The newly installed Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Chief Gani Adams. The expected visit of the iconic man of culture to the Church after he went through a retinue of rituals in Oyo town, few days before, where the Alaafin, HRM Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, Iku Baba Yeye, installed him into the new lofty position among the Yoruba race, a position soaked in deep Yoruba mythology of extreme eerie dimension, and considering the apparent ‘occultist’ regalia he had to wear in the pictures that broke the internet shortly after his decoration and installation as the new Grand Commander of the Yoruba Traditional Armed Forces, not many modern religious bodies would ordinarily want to be seen associating with Gani Adams. So, when it was made public that he was visiting the Genesis’ Church after his installation for Thanksgiving, a section of the Celestial Church in Nigeria condemned it in its totality, mostly, on the social media. Notwithstanding, the new Aare Onakakanfo still visited the Church and SAHEED OJUBANIRE brings you the details of all that happened there.
THE ATMOSPHERE WAS PERCEPTIBLY CHARGED
For anyone who was aware of the criticism from a section of the Celestial Church in Nigeria against the planned visit of the Aare Onakakanfo to Genesis, the atmosphere at the Church that Sunday would be perceived as somewhat charged with mixed feelings amongst the members. Naturally, some were at home with the visit, while some, deep in their hearts were apparently feeling that such aberration of a presumed occult figure coming to visit should not be happening to their Church. Hence, from a newsman perspective, security at the Church was not left to chance as stern looking bouncers with the tag Israel Guard manned strategic places where access into the Church existed. As usual, the Church was massively attended by the members many of whom could not get access into the main auditorium due to lack of space within, and had to worship under the tents provide outside the Church.
PRAISE AND WORSHIP SONGS WERE GENEROUSLY DELIVERED BY THE CHOIR
While their Shepherd and apparently, their special guest of the day whose banner adorned the wall leading into the Church were still being expected to make their entry, the Choir of the Church kept entertaining members and visitors who came to witness the event of the day many sonorous songs in praise and worship. And the inside of the Church which had worshippers most of whom were in their white garments with some in their mufti of choice, brimmed with excitement occasioned with singing and dancing which seemed to suggest they were less concerned with the criticisms that had greeted the event about to happen at the Church. And in-between time, one of the pastors at the Church came on the alter to announce the schedule of the events for the day which included the visit of Aare Onakakanfo for thanksgiving, Celestial International Merit Awards, and 50th birthday prayer for one of their members.
GENESIS AND GANI ADAMS MADE THEIR ENTRY 15 MINUTES APART
When the Shepherd of the Church made his entry at 11:14 A.M., his arrival was greeted with excitement and applause from members who obviously were anxious about seeing the planned main event of the day unravel right before their eyes. And the diminutive pastor springer straight to the alter from the entrance where he hopped briskly on his toes around the space before taking time to take some snapshots with some Church elders who had been in waiting too. Afterwards, he waltzed to the alter and kept singing with the Church Choir in preparing the ground for his sermon. Gani Adams made his entry amidst his entourage as he had his long staff of office in the firm grip of his right hand at 11:29 A.M. And his entry attracted frenzy of excitement from the members of the Church.
GANI ADAMS SHOCKED THE CHURCH
When he entered, many expected the Aare Onakakanfo would go straight to one of the 4 high exotic royal chairs provided for him and 3 other people from his entourage just beside the alter to sit, the Church was shocked when he handed out his staff of office to a man in his entourage and made straight for the alter. When he got on the glossy tiled surface, he knelt down in his all white agbada attire, touched the floor with his forehead about 7 times before he started to roll on the floor vigorously to the extent that his big neck beads’ thread gave way and the beads rolled all over the alter. He did that in his own way of thanking God Almighty and not in front of the Shepherd. And while his beads were being picked for him by his people, he stood up and went back to sit beside his wife who was already seated.
ABOUT THE PASTOR’S SERMON OF THE DAY
Pastor Israel Oladele whose ears were obviously filled with resentments from some sections of the Celestial Church against the visit of Aare Onakakanfo to his Church could hide his displeasure with his critics as his sermon was filled with ironies and innuendoes meant to reply those criticising him. The pastor who continually emphasised that he never collected a dime from any of his Church members for prayers and miracles like many of the pastors out there are wont to do, added that he never went for any occult powers to perform his miracles. He asserted that he got anointed by God through prayers and fasting only. And at a point when he could not longer really hide his disappointment in some of the Celestial figures who also criticised him publicly instead of calling him to seek explanations, Genesis said none of those pastors would have resisted a visit by a towering personality like the Aare Onakakanfo if the man had chosen to visit their Church for the thanksgiving. And he further placed a curse while putting the Holy Bible on his head that, if ever did anything occult to get to where he is today, he should run mad as a consequence sooner or later.
GENESIS SHOWCASED SOME BENEFICIARIES OF HIS MIRACLES
During the course of his sermon to further demonstrate that he is a true man of God, Genesis recounted some of the miracles God has used him for to change the story of some Church members. And that included that of a woman diagnosed to be suffering from fibroid but that he told he was seeing twins in her belly and the woman went on to deliver twins. The woman later came forth with her 2 beautiful girls to the admiration of everyone at the Church. And a man who also got unusual God’s favour by which he bought about 5 cars in 2 months was also around to show up when his case was also hinted at by the Shepherd.
AARE ONAKAKANFO SPOKE TO THE CHURCH
To begin his thanksgiving service proper, Aare Onakakanfo was given the microphone to address the Church and he thanked the Pastor and his congregation the grand reception despite the criticism from different quarters. He said rolling on the floor had been his own way of praying and appreciating God from time and not because he came to the Celestial Church. He told the story of his growing up with his Christian mum through whom he learnt to pray in a Christian way despite being born by a Muslim father. He thanked the Pastor for being the one who saw the vision that he would become the next Aare Onakakanfo in spite of the keen competition that occasioned the selection amongst the 25 personalities that were considered notwithstanding him being the least rich. He then concluded that if the pastor insisted on not collecting anything from him as he emphasised in his sermon earlier, he would give something to the Church which he did with a cheque. He left the Church immediately after the thanksgiving service.
AWARD CEREMONY TOOK PLACE AT THE CHURCH, THEN 50TH BIRTHDAY
Right after the Thanksgiving Service, the Church programme went into the scheduled award ceremony and many of the Church members from home and abroad were presented with plaques for what they had done for the Church. The Shepherd was presented with an award too amidst singing and dancing by the choir. The event culminated in a 50th birthday celebration by a female Church member for whom the Shepherd exhibited his singing talent for some time before food packed in takeaway plates were handed out to people to eat.