•2-Hr Interview With ISREAL OLADELE
Last week, City People Managment team made up of Isaac ABIMBADE, SUNDAY ADIGUN, JIMMY, LAOLU led by Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE and his Deputy, OWOJORI FRANCIS, visited popular Cele Pastor, Isreal Oladele Ogundipe, founder, Genesis Global Parish. During the visit, he granted an exclusive interview about his ordeal at Kirikiri Maximum Prison, Apapa, Lagos.
He told us what led to his being jailed and the story behind his travails. About 6 months back, the Lagos Pastor was convicted by the court and was asked to serve a jail term. He has since been granted Bail. Below are excerpts of the interview.
Can you share with us the story of your Kirikiri prison experience? What do you make of it?
I bless you and I thank you for this opportunity. When it happened it was as if the world had totally collapsed but not too long after the journey started I realised that God arranged that isolation for me for my revelation. Because I discovered many things. What we have in Roman Chapter 28: which says everything works together for good for those that love God is time. This is the case that has been on the ground for the past 12 years. All through this case I never gave up on serving God. I never thought it was going to come that way. I just thought it would be something that would come as a testimony. But sometimes, if you want to go to another level, expect another action from the devil. It was tough in the beginning but as time goes on, I discovered many things and I’m more stronger.
Many thought being away would break you; How come you came out of it stronger?
It was through that journey I realised that God actually called me. And I discovered something like if I don’t attack there will be no defence. And the highest level of maturity is to learn how to ignore. Concerning how people felt, I wasn’t bothered about that; I’m only bothered about the assignment of God at hand. If you don’t know me you can say whatever you like but whoever knows me know I say it the way it is.
When I was in there, I was sure God was in charge of His ministry (church). I handed over everything to God and I told my wife and ministers to be strong. Instead of the church to collapse, things started getting better. When I got in there, I cried the first day, second day but the third day I went for a Yoruba gathering and they handed over the church to me; a church of about 600 to 700 members. The pastor in charge has been there for about 18 years and when he handed it over to me, miracles started happening and God started showing me who to help, assist financially, get lawyers for some inmates. The person who was leading the Yoruba brethren said oh Lord, we thank you (God) for remembering us; that for over one year they haven’t allowed any pastor to visit them, because Pastors usually come but they didn’t allow them because of Covid-19 pandemic. They now said we thank you Lord for sending us your prophet, your servant and that was when I cried! And that was when I handed over everything to God. A lot of people were saying how can 11 million take you to prison and I said that can’t be the issue. That wasn’t the issue. I had even approached the Judge that let me pay this money and I have been trying to do this but you are telling me to do a plea bargain, and I have been warned against that.
When I now got in there, I now blessed that Judge. I prayed for her. The lady is not a bad person. The prosecutor is not a bad person. God only used them to fulfil His purpose in my life. I’m not going to curse them. When I got in there, I saw a lot of people who said they have been longing to meet with me one-on-one. When God started using me inside there for a lot of people, I now realised God has a reason for doing this, because there are many people there who needed good lawyers. Some people are there and they didn’t take them to court. Barrister Ubani later joined me to start assisting people and he didn’t collect anything from me. A guy would be in hospital maybe tomorrow or so. He got his leg broken about 3 years ago and he’s serving his jail term and there’s nobody to assist him. There is a whole lot of people who tried to do that but by the grace of God I took the case up and he would be in Gbobi in a few days.
We were able to build Mercy land there. Some people gave their lives to God while I was there and they aren’t just converting, they are joining Genesis Church. And that’s why I realised I needed to establish my prison Ministry because there are some people dying in the wilderness and we are preaching outside as pastors to the people we are seeing. God actually sent me there to extend the ministry. So God used that lady as the foundation for the manifestation. God used the Judge as one of the pillars for manifestation. And God used the case to prove my calling. Because if it hadn’t been for God the church would have collapsed before I return. Instead of the church to collapse, I met double because of their commitment and loyalty. And that’s why I know God was actually with me in that journey. The day I was leaving the prison people started crying. Even the head of the place. So I didn’t feel bad and I didn’t allow it to break me and instead of it to break me, it made me. And my come back now is greater than my setback. I got in there on November 18th. That was my daughter’s birthday. I even knelt to beg the Judge to allow me celebrate with her but she said no.
When I was with that person I wasn’t able to travel. She was trying to do all that for me but it didn’t work out. But when we are no more, God started doing a lot for me, so I’m going to start teaching people to allow the Will of God to be done. Don’t trust people who are promising you things.
Some felt you shouldn’t have allowed the matter degenerate to the level of your being tried and going to prison; Why didn’t you find a better means to handle it?
Yes, I did. When the case started there was no IPO in the case. The way I was arraigned was not proper. It was the Liaison officer who took me to court. We invited the IPO, he said he was not the one who took me to court but I don’t want to judge and I don’t want to conclude. From the church and religious angles, I know a lot had happened. I went to the former PS about 6-7 years back and I told him in his office that it was a case of relationship gone bad. I explained that this is a case that’s known to the church members, family and friends and that’s one of the reasons my church members didn’t go because they are all aware of the case from the outset. The lady in question, I have not set my eyes on her since 2009 when the case started because she denied my mum, my family. The land she said I didn’t buy for her, that property is in Alagbado now. I bought it 1.1 million naira then and I’m still protecting that property so that they won’t encroach it. I gave them the document of the land and when they investigated the document at Alagbon, they saw that I didn’t steal. The police at Alagbon exonerated me. The property I bought for 1.1 million naira then is still there and it is worth 15 million naira now. But up till now, I’m still praying for that lady, because I was blessed and gifted but what I needed to be lifted financially wasn’t there then. If you say you don’t want to eat the food of your enemy, what would you do if your friend didn’t cook at all? She was the one who was actually there for me, and my mom. She would buy clothes for me from the UK, so it’s not possible for me to hate or curse her. Because that Genesis Church you are seeing today, the said lady was the person who gave me 1 million naira to deposit to pay for the land, though I paid the balance. How would I pay with curse somebody who God used for the foundation of His glory? Even if I should have Damask now, I should be able to remember when I was naked that I had no cloth. So I would not go against her.
It was said that when she wrote invitation letters to me around 2004 that I used a pistol to force her to write the letters. Why would I force her? And she still wrote another invitation letter around 2006! I took the invitation letters to the court so that the court would know there was a relationship. She gave me power of attorney and how would some one who you gave power of attorney dupe you? And later she said I hypnotised her. So many issues surrounded that case but to the glory of God, it’s God’s arrangement.
But I’m still saying that if God wants to use something to prepare you, He will use even your friend and turn him against you to achieve His purpose because I know I’m still going to meet with the lady and the judge one day.
Can you tell us the ‘genesis’ of the whole saga?
There is no way I want to talk about the case that I would not mention certain things and I don’t want to be defensive. Even if I should say everything that happened, those that would not believe won’t still believe. I don’t want to create enemies for no reason. The lady we are talking about, when we were together, she’s not a talking type. She was not a fornicator. She was so calm.
There are so many things we do that is wrong. I have realised that. I learnt a lot inside there. If a person didn’t tell you he’s coming to your house, don’t let him in. He should go and lodge in a hotel because you never can tell maybe they monitor that guy to penetrate you. Somebody gave a friend Alabukun drug to use because of a headache and the guy died after taking the Alabukun and they said he killed the guy. That guy is still crying till tomorrow. If a small girl wants to hug you just greet her afar because there are lots of old people there. You would not know how they would use the small girl to set someone up. They can take your picture where you carried her and say later you have defiled the girl. And anything defilement or rape they won’t grant you bail. I met a guy there. He went to greet his friend and he was arrested along with other friends and when they got to court the other friends confessed that he knew nothing about the robbery. But this guy has spent 16 years in prison. He would soon come out. What about a woman who doesn’t want her husband to come out because she’s dating her husband’s best friend. So many cases.
How did your mom take it when it happened?
My mom would have been dead and I would have been dead, as well. But you can’t shine more than the light that’s available inside of you. Instead of her to start feeling bad, she started praising God. And she told them to tell me that she is aware. Maybe I would have been dead now because I love her so much. For the fact that she’s aware of the story from the beginning, my siblings didn’t tell her but some people told her. She was just busy praying and she told me, she sent someone to me because she was unable to visit me but sent someone to tell me that the Bible says, many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord will deliver them in all. Yesterday we had a small family get together meeting and when I asked her to pray, she was just praying for that lady, the prosecutor, the Judge.
My wife has been excellent too. Then, when I was growing up I was looking for a lady who can be fasting, praying, a lady without earings. But sometimes if a lady does wear earings doesn’t mean she does not love God. God bless me with that lady.
Some people have also criticised you, that perhaps your problem stems from the fact that you are too nice, accommodating to people. That perhaps that is why people take you for granted. What do you think?
I think what happens is that when God blesses you with what you aren’t expecting, what you never bargained for, so when people start praising me and see me like a big thing, I said that is not me. Sometimes when you put something huge before me I would just cry. The first day I flew the first-class, I cried. From Nigeria to London and another day I flew from Nigeria to America, I also cried. The flight attendants started coming to me inside the plane if I was fine because I remembered when I used to go to Afijalo in Oshodi; where they used to drop remnant from the plane. I would pack these expired foods like butter and the rest and I would still go and sell for my mom at Oju-Irin. My mum was a pepper seller at Bolade Bus Stop. She was a Gbure (waterleaf) seller. Sometimes, I looked at myself, said who am I? I still want to be friendly, Godly and I won’t allow the situation to change me. It’s been through the grace of God I survived all through. And I don’t want to change that.
While in prison, we noticed that there are a lot of people who kept supporting you on Facebook by posting your photos. What do you say to them?
I didn’t know about that. It was when I came out I saw those things. You know that when I handed over, God took over. God used it to confirm my calling. The first day I came out, they took me to one of these 7-star hotels on the Island. The first set of people I met were all over me, saying thank God you are back! They started praying for me. I didn’t know them and they are not members of the white garment church. They were having a party there and asked me to come inside and join them. And the woman said she’s been looking for a way to see me in her life. And they started spraying me money. And that was how they posted the video on Instagram that I had a welcome party, but I didn’t.
Some people were against you and they didn’t try to help you while you were away? How do you see their role?
God just used that to reveal people to me. Don’t take some people as your pillar. Don’t take some people as your defender. Don’t say some people are connected so they would stand for you in time of storm. All I’m going to say is that God doesn’t want them to take His glory. I’m not blabbing, I’m well connected but God didn’t want them to do anything so that He can do everything. Because if they had done it, maybe all the glory would have gone to them. When I came back after my birthday, I met the 2021 Landcruiser Prado Jeep, which I never brought. When I asked the family who gave me the car, they said they are angry with their spirits. That they know 11 million can’t hold me down.
Can you tell us your relationship with the Celestical Church. Some people said you have been suspended by the Celestial Church and some people are saying you left the church willingly. What can you say about that is the true story?
I have graduated from the school of ignoring. That story was heavy in my heart. They twisted my sermons. But I believe God allowed that to happen for my good. Some of these people cut some parts in my sermons and used them against me. When Alhaji Ayinde came to our church there was another attack. When I met him, (K1) he said Genesis, I’m coming to your church to sing. He said I would sing Christian song with Fuji music. So when he came to the church it was another thing. I’m not sure though if what I did was actually wrong or right but I had a conviction inside of me that I haven’t done anything wrong. Because right from when I was young, my mother likes Wasiu Ayinde. If Alhaji Ayinde was singing then from TV and you know my own name was also Wasiu before we converted, my mother then would now be praying for Wasiu Ayinde. So I don’t know why many Christians are so rigid and anywhere I see Wasiu Ayinde I will still greet him. And no one can make me not to love him. And that was how the saga started. When the Otunba Gani Adams came to our church, people also complained. When I had a book launch at Sheraton Otunba Gani Adams came and donated money. I went back to his office to thank him and we prayed. I saw in the vision that one office was coming for him in the Yoruba land and it was going to be a big office. The way he would get there, I couldn’t explain but I told him he would get there. It was after 3 years he called me about the Aare Onakakanfo. When he told me about it I thought it was even for only the kind of people of MKO and he said he’s the smallest among those who were shortlisted and if God should do it that he would come to my church and roll on the floor. He had never stepped into our church before and when it happened he said he would come and fulfil the promise. Why should I tell him not to come? This is the same man who had Christmas carol! But I don’t want to believe they don’t love me. They only want to teach me not to make some mistakes. It’s better to be corrected than to be ignored. So, I’m not seeing any fault in what they have done and I’m not leaving the celestial church for anyone. They call it the celestial church of Christ, not the Celestial church of anyone. Nobody can send me out of celestial, only God can do that.
What is your message to your fans, members and friends all over the world?
I saw a lot of Muslim brothers who were praying for me which I didn’t know. All Christian brothers, sisters, mothers, I want to say thank you. I want to appreciate them.