Every year, February 14th to be precise, the founder and spiritual leader of INRI Evangelical Church in Lagos, Primate Ayodele Elijah, marks his birthday. Traditionally, he celebrates his special day by empowering the needy, the aged, the widow and the unemployed youths. But this year’s event appears to be the biggest so far. The primate gave out about four Keke Napeps, several television sets and mattresses and cash gifts as well.
This year’s event had in attendance His Excellency, World Peace President from Denmark, Ambassador Per Stafsen (JP), George Ojadi, P.A World Peace, President, Amb. Dr. Emmanuel Nkweke (JP) International Spokesman, World Peace, Amb. Dr. Chinedu Tony, Country Director, South Africa, the Maiyegun of Yorubaland, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, Prince Anofiu Olanrewaju, Elegushi, Hon. Comm. for Home Affairs, Rev. Bukola Adeleke, Special Adviser on Religion (Christianity), traditional rulers and several other distinguished guests. Music was supplied by the very versatile church choir of INRI.
Clearly, the high point of the celebration was when the Mayegun of Yoruba land, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, arrived at the event. He was the last person people were expecting to see at the Primate’s birthday. For one, not many knew he and Primate Ayodele were friends. His arrival charged up the mood within the party and everywhere came alive. Elegantly dressed in a royal regalia befitting of his traditional status as the Mayegun of Yoruba land, King Wasiu stepped into gathering majestically, acknowledging cheers from the crowd and giving a slight bow to the elders who were all seated under a separate canopy. You didn’t need anyone to tell you that nearly everyone present was excited to see this legend of Fuji music in person. Things got even better when the king of Fuji music gave the icing on the cake when he obliged to give a few minutes performance which delighted the guests to no end. He must’ve performed for well over 30 minutes and the crowd present just could not get enough of him. When he was done singing, he requested to speak for a few minutes before taking his leave.
Hear him: “Many people would be surprised to know that Primate Ayodele and I have been friends for many years, as a matter of fact, for over 35 years. I have known the Primate long before he became this big and popular. Even though I am a Muslim, a practicing one at that, I do not distance myself from the Primate. Whenever he had a spiritual message for me and he wants me to get the message and act on it through prayers, he would always find a way to reach me. Sometimes he will come to meet with me back stage wherever I’m having a show and pass his message across to me. Mind you, he wasn’t doing it for monetary gains. Most times, he will give me the message, tell me exactly what to do with it and how to go about it, and he will disappear. Primate never asked me for money. Sometimes, I won’t even see him for more than a year or two. But whenever there’s an important thing he needs to discuss with me, he will get in touch with me and we talk. And that’s why I don’t joke with him. Primate is a good man. A friend in whom you can trust. In fact, let me say that, even though I have always been a practicing Muslim, this man helped me develop my spiritual life even more. He brought me closer to God. He taught me the essence of constant prayers and I will always be grateful to him. As a Muslim, I don’t believe in not embracing Christians. When I am invited to a church, I go because it is a place of worship, a place where God is worshipped. And that is what I like about Primate too, you will find around him both Muslims and Christians. I appreciate him a lot and I wish him a very happy birthday.”
Before he left the stage, the Mayegun of Yoruba land showed his generous and compassionate side when he pledged a donation of N2million naira for the treatment of a young girl with a hole in the heart. The little girl was brought forward by the mother. Primate explained that her treatment required about N3.2million and the church has been able to raise a little less than a million. The mother of the ailing child couldn’t believe her ears when K1 announced a donation of N2million for her child. He also supported a couple of other elderlies who were aspiring to travel to Israel and Mecca for the holy pilgrimage with the sum of N2million to augment their travelling expenses.