Mention the name Daddy Freeze at any gathering and you can be sure that heads will turn in your direction. This is because this outstanding broadcaster has, over the last few years, built for himself a scary reputation, attracting a large following of lovers and haters alike. Thousands adore him to no end. They respect his views as a Christian, most especially his courage to call out great and powerful men of God, challenging them to show to him where it is stated in the scriptures that it is mandatory for every Christian to pay tithe. In same manner, thousands loathe him. They despise him and everything he stands for. They are also Christians, but they find it unthinkable that one of their own could come out to question some of the doctrines their spiritual fathers and revered pastors have embraced so fiercely which they consider embarrassing to the church of God. They hate Daddy Freeze’s guts and he knows it. Ordinarily, this intense hatred would’ve bothered anyone. But not Daddy Freeze, whose real name is Ifedayo Olarinde, a native of Osun State. He was born in Cluj Napoca in Romania. His mother, Smaranda Olarinde, is Romanian. Daddy Freeze, one of Naija’s most outstanding On Air Personalities with COOL FM, has proven over the years that he is one man who never shies away from what he firmly believes, no matter the pressure to make him do otherwise. City People’s Senior Editor, WALE LAWAL (08037209290) spent close to an hour chatting with this gentleman with an incredible knowledge of the bible. He opened up on his issues with pastor Adeboye and why his views about the highly respected man of God have changed in recent time. Enjoy excerpts of the interview. We will publish the concluding part next week.
You have been taking on men of God over the years, insisting some of them have not been following the scriptures to the letter. How much progress would you say have been able to make in terms of getting our men of God to be upright?
First things first, I must say that this journey is not a journey I can finish in my lifetime because it didn’t start in my lifetime, it is a journey that is several centuries old. And you’re not going to just wish it away overnight. It’s a long haul. But yeah, we’ve begun to see progress. Many people are beginning to see that the way they were doing things was not sustainable. It’s hard in a world where the top ten richest people in the world are not tithers, they are not Christians yet you’re telling them the doctrine that if you don’t give us tithe you will not make money. The first question is how does a man who is out rightly atheist, practices no religion and doesn’t even believe in God? How is he the second richest man on earth? How did he single handedly make the most money in 2020 during the pandemic? So, you see, the questions start to arise, its no longer hidden. Now, people are beginning to see for themselves that you cannot worship God with money. Secondly, people are beginning to realize that why Nigeria is on the extreme crutches of poverty is because of religion. There’s a church not far from my house that took over a former factory as the parking lot for their members that attend service on Sundays. How do we reconcile this? How do you close down a factory owing to economic reasons but then a church that does not earn any income except from what it gets from the people, it recycles the people’s money, how does that church now buy over the space of the factory and then we are complaining of poverty? What are we producing? Lets look at one of the world’s most dynamic economies and most prolific producers -China. In China, it is illegal to put a child younger than eighteen into a church or mosque. So, it is the most irreligious country or earth. It’s one of the producers of everything on earth, including the phones we’re having this conversation on. Look around you, people who are atheists are not only developing their country but also developing the world. Countries that are out rightly irreligious after China, China is the most irreligious country on earth, after China topping the list, we have Germany, the UK, we have Canada, these are some of the least religious countries on earth and these are some of the places we run to. So now, the essence of religion and spirituality is to build us spiritually for the hereafter. Now, of course, there are promises. The Lord said seek me first and everything else should be added. So, it is seek the Lord and so He would add everything else. You see, one of the problems we have in Nigeria is that we base our faith on ignorance, Hosea chapter 6 verse 4 is very clear, it says my people perish because they don’t know me. So, we base our faith on ignorance instead of knowledge because if you base your faith on knowledge as Christ said in the book of Matthew chapter 13 verse 12, please let me quote this, if you read this from the New Living Translation which explains it in the most detailed, it says, ‘to those who listen to my teachings, more understanding will be given and you will have an abundance of knowledge. But those who are no listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken from them.’ The more you listen to Christ’s teaching, the more you realize that you need to love your neighbor. The more you realize that you need to work and be innovative. The more you realise that for you to prosper, you’re not going to do that by praying. The most prayerful nation on earth is Afghanistan and Nigeria comes second and you can say something about the two countries. Meanwhile, the least prayerful is China followed by Germany, and Canada and the UK. You can see the trend in that direction. So, the more pastors start to preach and say, look guys, let’s help you with your spiritual need, let’s help you with your salvation regains its value, but as long as they’re telling you that they’re apostles of prosperity into this land, then things will never get any better. Nigeria has the largest number of people living in extreme poverty. If there is any apostle coming out of this land, he should be a disciple of poverty. Because that’s one thing we are very good at, we know how to make and create poverty because it’s all we’ve done since 1960. Don’t forget that in 1965 when Nigeria was already a wealthy nation, Singapore barely got its independence amidst a lot of poverty. Today, Singapore rose from p0verty to become one of the wealthiest nations in Asia and their passport is rated as the second most powerful passport in the world. So, if there is anything we are good at, its turning prosperity into poverty.
While the pandemic was raging in Lagos and places of worship were shut down, a lot of pastors were calling the government all sorts of names, which led many to conclude that they were unhappy because they could no longer make money like they used to…
(Cuts in) Yeah, because they closed down their businesses as far as I’m concerned. I run a church and we ran our church throughout the pandemic without having any issues whatsoever. So, as long as you keep seeing the church as a business, you keep wanting to have it open, but if you truly care about the welfare of the people, you’ll be the first to shut down your church. Israel and Mecca, the headquarters of Christianity and Islam were shut down throughout the pandemic without any noise, so how come we were carrying it on our head? If truly Christianity is about winning souls for Christ, we will not be bothered if we’re shut down, we all have the internet and Instagram. And this also gave some pastors the opportunity to show that they have online dexterity. So, some people dominated the airwaves. And this shows that if really church is not a business for you, you go online and you continue doing what you’re doing, and any day the church is opened, all well and good.
Let’s talk about your church, tell us how much the church has grown. I know that a couple of years ago when you started, you had lots of young people gravitating towards your church, how is that trend now?
Yeah, you see, the trend is, everyday there are new people and sometimes you lose old people. There are some people who believe my job is to attack pastors, so the moment I slowed down on attack and started more of dialogue, I lost a lot of members. Now, I believe there are people who are in the church who need to hear the message. Those of you who are outside, you don’t really need my message. Let’s also talk to the ones inside. Let’s show them the scriptures, let’s discuss with them. Let’s help them keep an open mind and see maybe they’ll be convinced about our message. But nobody’s going to be convinced about our message if you insult their spiritual leaders. So we adopted a more conversational approach if I can put it that way.
I think you have partly answered my next question. I was going to ask, why has Daddy Freeze slowed down on taking on men of God, is it age that’s slowing you down or pressure from people?
To be honest, when you have the zeal for the work of God, like Christ describes in John chapter 2, sometimes the zeal overtakes you. You know the way Christ walked into the temple and started flogging people and all that, there’s a space in Christianity for a harsh approach and there’s also a space for discussing and dialogue. You cannot keep using the same methods and expect to get different results. To tell you the truth, I’ve noticed a slight change in the approaches of many pastors and churches. You can tell now that within the last one year, no pastor has come out publicly and say come and sow your dollars. I don’t even need to say anything. If you come out now and say to people come and sow your dollars, people will bash you for it. Daddy Freeze doesn’t even need to say a thing. So, our work in that regard has been done. Some pastors even ask for normal things like support, because whether you like it or not, supporting the church is scriptural, and I’m not talking about tithes and offering here. I’m talking about support and support is scriptural. Luke chapter 8 teaches us about how Christ’s ministry was supported, so there’s nothing wrong in asking for support. There was a pastor who, during the pandemic, came out and asked for support after he finished his sermon. People just posted the last part of that sermon and everybody just came down hard on him, criticizing him for asking for support in a time like this. But the man hasn’t done anything that’s out of order, this is what churches normally do. So, our intention is not create hostility. And you must agree with me that for a very long time, people refused to see any form of wrong in the dealings of their pastor. So, we also had to show that these people are human beings. Paul and Barnabas brought the gospel to the Gentiles and by the way, we are Gentiles. They had to tell them that, look, we are human beings like you, we are not Gods. There was a time in the book of Acts when people wanted to start sacrificing to Paul and to Barnabas, and Paul and Barnabas had to come out and say, look, we are just people like you, no need for all these things. Unfortunately, the average Nigerian believes his man of God is either a God in human form or a direct son of God, which isn’t a narrative Christianity should be selling because it’s the disciples that brought the message to us.
Would you say that your views about Pastor Adeboye have changed a bit?
Well, I must say that Pastor Adeboye has really impressed me over the last one year, especially with how he handled the Covid. Now, Pastor Adeboye is like my Dad’s age, there’s about two years between them. I think Pastor Adeboye is older or my dad is older but I know there’s two years between them last time I checked. I know how hard it is to convince my dad when it comes to issues. , so I know that it is not going to be easy to expect someone like Pastor Adeboye at his age, to be able to just accept another idea ort doctrine, especially since all he’s life, he has practiced the doctrines he’s practiced. But I saw the willingness to accept change with the way he handled the Covid-19 pandemic. There are things that we will not agree on and we can never agree on. But I see the willingness to extend love and he’s doing what he’s doing in love, I can see that, it’s clear to me. And he’s also seeing that the way this Christianity is going, if we’re not careful, it will not last another generation. Definitely, it won’t last two generations. I personally can see, I may be wrong, my judgement might not be accurate, but I see a lot of accepting the way the world is now. He made a lot of efforts to show his conformity to the realities of the Covid- 19 pandemic. He wore his mask regularly, he cancelled so many public events and moved them online and I appreciated that and gave him credit for that. It shows that he knows there’s a situation out there and he’s not putting himself or the church first, but was putting humanity first. There were so many pastors who refused to li8sten to the government, they were calling the government all sorts of names. Fine, I know that the government too, sometimes they don’t try, we saw what happened with the palliatives and all that and the people don’t trust the government anymore. But at the same time, some of us can tell that some of these pastors are angry over this Covid because it’s affecting their business, not because the government is right or wrong, it’s simply a business discussion that is affecting their enterprise. And I saw that pastor Adeboye was not one of those people. So, there’s no way he would not earn my respect. Would you also describe him as one of the least materialistic pastors, considering that he has enormous resources at his disposal and yet he doesn’t get on the altar flaunting designer gold wristwatch or designer suits like many others do, except of course for the fact that he has a private jet which he has explained is necessary to accommodate his hectic traveling schedules which he would not be able to achieve flying commercial airlines, what would you say in that regard?
Personally, I don’t believe a pastor needs a private jet. I have friends who are pastors who have private jets and that is where we tend to disagree. They believe that it’s a necessity, I tend to disagree. I think its still a luxury. But nonetheless, Pastor Adeboye is a simple man who doesn’t come out and brag about his wealth or show off his luxury items and all that. Yes, I agree with you, he has a lot of resources at his disposal and he’s humble about it. But the private jet issue, I don’t really buy into that philosophy.
Considering his heavy flying schedules in which he has to be in two continents same day within a space of hours, something he probably would not be able to achieve via flying commercial flights, that was his explanation I remember…
Hmmnn….do I buy into that explanation? Maybe not. But it is explanation and he’s entitled to it. I respect him other things that he has said and done and where he has really, really impressed me, I just have to say it, especially the way he handled his church during the Covid pandemic and the way he has interfered in issues of late, I definitely would give him credit for that. But on the private jet issue, I find it hard to be convinced.