Everywhere you turn to in the country you are bound to see a house of worship. Churches have sprung up in every corner. The land is awash with thousands of men of God of different shades and hues. Sometimes, the average Christian says he is confused, he doesn’t know which church to attend or which man of God to trust. Many have been dealt with by false prophets who claim to have been called by God. But, like the discerning Christian would say, by their fruits, we shall know them. Prophet Emmanuel Adetunji Adeonigbagbe is one of the outstanding men of God whose calling has stood the test of time. Testimonies of the manifestation of God’s powers in his life abound.
Prophet Adeonigbagbe is the founder of Celica Church of Christ in Ibadan. Mention the name, Celica, and you will be surprised to find that the church is hugely popular, not just within Ibadan where it is headquartered, but even outside of the ancient city. The church, which became fully established in 1992, has been led by the spiritually gifted and unbelievably humble Prophet Adeonigbagbe. And it has grown in leaps and bounds ever since, with branches springing up in different parts of Europe and America. And it’s all down to the visionary leadership of the award-winning Prophet Adeonigbagbe who has remained steadfast and undistracted from doing that which he was called to do, which is God’s work, despite his accomplishments since he left the fold of the Celestial Church of Christ almost 30 years ago. Last week, City People’s Senior Editor, WALE LAWAL (08037209290), had an exclusive interview with the revered man of God who is loved by all. He opened up on the circumstances that led to his leaving the Celestial Church of Christ and how the journey has been so far for Celica Church of Christ.
Congratulations, sir, on the occasion of your prophets anniversary that’s just around the corner, share with us your feelings at this time? How do you feel?
I always feel happy and fulfilled each time the anniversary approaches. It is an annual event in the church and anointment exercise usually takes place during this week. It was during this period that my call was fully established over 40 years ago and the church was also spiritually established in 1992 at this period. The Lord has been good and faithful to me. His covenant with me has been kept and the Lord Jesus Christ has never failed me since he called me. There have been challenges though but he has kept his promise. I am grateful to God for his mercies in this spiritual journey. At the prophets anniversary this year, we will spiritually meditate on Nigeria, Africa, the world and Covid-19 pandemic to seek spiritual solutions to the various challenges confronting the world. A communique will be issued after the anniversary and sent to the authorities to take necessary actions. If the steps to be recommended are taken I believe Nigeria and the World would be better for it.
Share with us a bit about your background, sir. Where were you born, where were you raised? How was growing up like for you as a child?
I was born on Christmas day December 25 over six decades ago to a royal family from Ilesha, Osun State. I was born in Oke Odan, Egbado/Yewa Area in Ogun State. My father died when I was very young. He pampered me a lot as I was told by family members, maybe I would not have become what I am today if he was still alive. I moved to live in Ayesan in Odigbo Local Govt Area, Ondo State with my grandmother. I enjoyed my childhood in the rural area and my grandmother’s modest house till my elder brother came to take me to Ijebu-Ode. I attended Anglican Primary School, Ayesan, Muslim College, Ijebu-Ode and Bishop Phillips Academy, Ibadan for my secondary school education. I later proceeded to the Apostolic Teachers Training College, Ilesha for my grade II certificate.
Were there prophecies before you were born or while you were young that you would become a renowned man of God?
My mother was a virgin when she was brought to my Dad. During the cause of the marriage, she looked for the fruit of the womb for 18 years. She had an unknown visitor one day, an old man who told her that her first child would be male and a great instrument to be used in the Lord’s vineyard. She was given a prophecy that that child would be a great prophet of God. She was strictly warned that nothing fetish must be used on me. She went inside the room to give the old man a gift but the old man was nowhere to be found again. He had disappeared without any trace.
She kept to these warnings and made sure no herbs or incisions were used on me. My grandmother also kept to these warnings religiously. I am grateful to both of them for this spiritual oversight over me. This prophecy started manifesting greatly from age 7. An incident happened which changed the entire course of my life. My grandmother was at the point of death and I was weeping bitterly because I loved her so much. Surprisingly, I heard a voice talking to me and asking me if I wanted my grandmother to be healed. I asked the voice who he was and the voice replied I am the Lord Jesus Christ. I answered Yes, I want my grandmother healed and the Lord then told me that I must never bow down to an idol or engage in occult practices. That is the covenant between myself and the Lord Jesus Christ till eternity. My grandmother was healed after this event. This formed the foundation of my call. I was 7 years old at this period.
From the 70s till date I have been visible as a prophet of God particularly within Ibadan and its environs. In the Celestial Church of Christ then my parish known as Km 7, New Ife Road, Ibadan was very distinct. The power of God was in full display at the parish back then.
I, Emmanuel Adetunji Abiodun Akanji Adeonigbagbe, son of Alice, the Founder of Celica Church of Christ Worldwide, have never and will never associate with any secret society, cult, fraternity or occult gathering worldwide.
How has the journey been, sir, leading the Celica Church of Christ since November 1992?
It has been full of challenges. It has not been an easy task administering a church. You know the church is the sanctuary of God and the church must be run in line with the tenets and doctrines of God however since it is a divine call the Lord has been faithful to me since he is the owner of the church. I thank God the Holy Spirit is waxing stronger each year. The work of God is going on despite various challenges. There are many things we wish to do but we have to do them bit by bit. We are not where we want to be but I know by the grace of God we will get there.
There have been a lot of miracles and healings by our Lord Jesus Christ in this church right from our days in the Celestial Church that this auditorium would not have accommodated the number of people that have been healed from different ailments, delivered from the clutches of darkness and oppression. All glory goes to our Lord Jesus Christ who is the Alpha and Omega.
Share with us, how did you get the inspiration for the name Celica? Were you led to it by the Holy Spirit and what does it really mean?
Well, thank you for this question. The Lord had been consistently showing me in a vision since 1980, a golden cup which was full of dirt inside and outside. The Lord told me to wash the cup, as I washed the cup, it became dirtier each time I washed it. The Lord told me that if I was not allowed to wash the cup, I should ask for a new golden cup but I continually declined due to my great love for Papa Oshoffa and the Celestial Church until 1992 when my mouth was opened spiritually to ask for the descent of the new cup. That was when the Celica Church of Christ was established. In one of the visions I had in 1992, a dove which spiritually signifies love, purity, peace and humility brought two leaves, one dried and one fresh, on the fresh leaf, it was written Celica Church of Christ. The Lord gave me the meaning of the name as the Most Glorious Church of Christ from Heaven. The Lord also told me it could also be translated as Holiest of the Holiest among the Celestial bodies.
In extra research on the name of the church, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), London programme on Africa made the world to understand that the word CELICA has its origin in Hebrew, Latin and Greek languages. From Latin, it means heavenly or Celestial. I have always said I am not the founder; our Lord Jesus Christ is the founder of the church. I am only his representative.
When you first set up the church, what sort of challenges did you encounter in the early stages?
In every human endeavour, there are bound to be challenges when a new thing starts. You know we had to start afresh but if you truly have a divine call no matter the tribulations and challenges you will surmount them all. It was not easy leaving the Celestial Church where I was well known but I had no choice since it was a direct spiritual call to establish a new spiritual ark. I had no fear because I know that God that called me would never forsake me. In 1992 we started with just one parish at the unveiling of the church on the 15th of November, 1992 and within a year we added three more parishes. We thank God today the church is moving. We have parishes and presence across Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, United Arab Emirates, Canada, United Kingdom, United States of America among other places. The church is a member of ecumenical bodies such as the All African Conference of Churches, Nairobi, Kenya and is in a working relationship with the Christian Council of Nigeria. We are also working to join global ecumenical bodies by next year.
When you founded Celica Church of Christ, what did you set out to achieve?
It is simple, to preach about our Lord Jesus Christ, call people to repentance, show people the way of salvation, release the oppressed and free those in the bondage of Satan in order to enjoy the blessings of God. My spiritual call can be found in the book of Isaiah chapters 60 and 61. Isaiah 61 vs. 1 says the spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed, me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. That is simply my mission.
What difference did you want to make within the Christendom?
To have the kind of worshippers the Lord desires for his kingdom. Those with a pure heart, whose hands are clean and who have denounced the occult. As part of the tenets and doctrines which God descended for us in Celica Church of Christ, we were told never to affiliate with the occult. This is what I have always emphasized anywhere I find myself and I have always reinforced it that you cannot serve God and Mammon. The spirit of God operates in an environment where there is Holiness, light, love, joy, purity, faithfulness and orderliness. Also to let people know the Holy Spirit still exists and should still guide our affairs. The Holy Spirit is the basis of Christianity, unfortunately, we have let worldly knowledge take precedence over spiritual knowledge. To let people know that God still speaks loud and clear to those who are ready to listen to him.
Sir, what would you say makes Celica Church of Christ stand out from the many other white garment churches?
Physically our song is Hosanna and our garment can be distinguished by a blue cross on the left-hand side of our garments. Spiritually, the power of the Holy Spirit is fully manifested in all our affairs. The Holy Spirit is so visible for all to see because the establishment of the church was not an idea but by spiritual injunctions. The Lord Jesus Christ is the head of the church, the Bible is our sword and the Holy Spirit is our Guardian Angel. Where the spirit of God exists, the doctrine is immaterial. The only doctrine is to serve the Lord Almighty faithfully without wavering.
What is your association with other churches?
Celica Church of Christ is in constant and permanent unity with other churches that have no affiliation with the occult.
What is the significance of the cross?
It is the mighty symbol of God’s love to humanity. At the cross, our past is wiped out, our present is extracted and our future brightened, our hearts are regenerated and our nature is renovated, the old man’s sin is cremated and the new man is created.
The logo of the church what does it stand for?
The cross stands for belief in Jesus Christ as our saviour, the Bible for belief in the efficacy of the words of God which will never change for generations to come and the eye signifies that the eye of the Lord is everywhere and watching you in all you do. Our song of Praise Hosanna means save me now Oh Lord!
You knew the late Rev Oshoffa while he was alive, what sort of relationship did you share with him?
He was a father and spiritual mentor to me. He used to call me “his friend” whenever I visited him in Ketu. He would tell me to sit and he would discuss at length with me. I used to ask him a lot of questions and he was always happy to answer me. I recall a particular visit to Papa Oshoffa, I gave him money and he (Oshoffa) emptied his pockets and asked me if I knew he had no money on him. Papa Oshoffa removed his cap and placed the money on his head and prayed for me saying you will always be blessed and people will pay homage to you as they pay homage to me now. I would say a lot of people walked with Prophet Orimolade, Apostle Babalola and Rev. Oshoffa but many of them never gained from them. Though I had been ordained by our Lord Jesus Christ at age 7 but I gained a lot from Papa Oshoffa spiritually when I was under his tutelage.
A lot has been heard and written about the late Rev Oshoffa. You were close to him while he was alive, in a few words, sir, what kind of person was the late Oshoffa?
He was a faithful and powerful prophet who was used mightily by our Lord Jesus Christ for the glory of his kingdom. He was a man who was truly dedicated to his call and worshipped the Lord his God till his transition to glory.