ON Thursday, June 4, 2015, ENCOMIUM Weekly visited the headquarters of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Oke Afa, Ejigbo, Lagos, where we had an encounter with the founder and spiritual head of the church, Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele. The humble preacher of the Word opened up on many issues, including the third edition of his national crusade, tagged, Year of Multiple Surprises, his charity programme and much more…
The third edition of your national crusade is coming up on Friday, July 3, 2015, how prepared are you for the event?
We’re fully prepared. We have started the prayers concerning that. As usual, eminent personalities are going to be there. In fact, everybody coming there that day is an eminent personality. Prominent pastors and prophets, including Apostle Taiwo Akinsola a.k.a Omo Baba Woli ni’Lasamaja, Primate Alase and a pastor from Benin Republic will also be at the crusade to minister, and a host of others. Also, my humble self will also minister. There will be deliverance, drama and prophetic ministrations and a lot of other things that people are going to benefit at the crusade. At the end of the day, I believe strongly that people are going to laugh because all their problems as they are coming will become things of the past. Also, we have a programme for all the Aladura churches in Ejigbo Local Government Area, where we will give people a lot of items, including plasma TV, home theatre and many more. Also, we will give them cash and other materials. We’re also going to have a kind of free health service that day for so many people, especially the less privileged. There will also be a competition among the youths where we will be presenting them gifts. We are inviting some Nollywood stars, including Foluke Daramola, Halima Abubakar, Saidi Balogun and others to counsel the youths and present them gifts. That will be July 3 and 5, 2015. We’re contemplating inviting Foluke Daramola-Salako and Halima Abubakar on July 3 while Saidi Balogun will be invited on July 5.
And of course, there is a programme of all white garment churches in Lagos State. We have seven hour youth empowerment and talent hunt on Saturday, August 8, 2015. We also have a lot of people, including Apostle Taiwo Akinsola that will be part of the programme.
Are these part of the programmes of the national crusade?
No, there are the additional programmes after the crusade. What happens is that people believe there are no elite in white garment churches. Some even believe we’re not existing. So, we’re part of white garment churches, we may not be Celestial or Cherubim and Seraphim. We want to showcase the glory of God in white garment churches. We’re trying to put the old generation aside and begin to come up with something that will make the white garment churches more relevant. A lot of people still believe that people worshipping in white garment churches are fetish. Their impression is that we’re modern herbalists. Even we still have some pastors who don’t understand the difference. There is nothing wrong with white garment churches, it’s just that some people just want to embark on a cheap blackmail. Some people that left white garment churches are usually blindfolded and because of that reason we want to prove to the public that there are white garment churches and we’re not fetish. So, these are the programmes we’re running from July to August. And they are capital intensive. Then, we still have the internal ones in our church here. I intend putting all the white garment churches here in Ejigbo together so that there will be a way forward. I know some people maybe saying whether I am using that to invite people to my church. No, I have enough worshippers here, we’re running three services now. We’re running both English and Yoruba services, and youth ministry is there as well. So, I start services by 6 a.m on a Sunday and up till 8 p.m, we’re still in the church. So, we have enough crowd already.
But that doesn’t mean new people can’t come in again?
No, we evangelise to people but not like hijacking other churches’ members. Anybody who likes to join us, let the person come out of his or her own volition. We run programmes, we do a lot of things that benefit our members.
We learnt you’re embarking on accommodation project for your church members who could not afford to pay the huge rent out there. Where is the site and how much is it going to cost you to achieve this?
It’s beside our church here, not far. What it’s going to cost is not an issue because we save for the rainy day. One thing is that if I have only N1,000, I make sure I save from that N1,000 because of the under privileged. I believe that that is God’s ministry of mercy. To us as a project, it’s cumbersome but we’re not looking at that but the convenience we want for others. How I wish I had much more money, I would have built an estate. And I am even working towards that as well. We have gotten land and we want to build a mini estate for the less privileged. If I can build a house of about N3m and sell it to them at about N300,000 or N500,000, that will be paid within 10 years. This one we’re building now, it’s 11 flats. It’s mini-flat of course, but they belong to my church members. Everything will be built with modern materials, tiles wall to wall, toilets and bathrooms inclusive.
If I had enough money, I would have equipped and furnished the house for them but that maybe too much for me because of the running cost and maintenance of the structure. I will give it to each of the beneficiaries at the rate of N1,000 per month. By August this year, we will commission the project. You will be invited to the programme. Also, we’re going to have a small clinic in order to help the under privileged who can’t afford all these huge hospital bills. When people go to hospital, they go with not less than N10,000 at times, and it’s not as if it’s easy for them to get the money. I believe when they’re going to the hospital sorrowfully, they must return happy and sound. So, I just want to do this to alleviate people’s suffering in the community. If any pregnant woman wants to deliver, the highest she will be charged is N3,000 so far there is no complication. It can even be less than that. They will undergo all the necessary tests they normally undergo in all other hospitals and we’ll make sure they’re in perfect condition.
Don’t you consider the funds involved in running this?
That’s why I said we save for the rainy day. Besides, that’s part of what I was called to do in this world. And I believe in leaving good legacies not the number of cars or houses I acquire, not the number of clothes I buy that matters but how many people have you helped. That’s the ultimate. We’re all talking of change, how many people have you changed for the better? How many have you transformed physically, spiritually, financially and even behaviorally? These are my visions and I believe the reason God brought me to Oke Afa, Ejigbo is to help the less privileged who can’t even eat three square meals daily. Everybody is aware of the fact that economy is very bad at the movement. We’re still running our free food programme which comes up every first Sunday of the month. We have even improved on that. Now, we’re also planning a farm because of the under privileged so that we can embark on food processing to help them more.
Concerning the housing project, why not leave it for them out-rightly free instead of collecting N1,000 as rent?
It’s just to make them responsible. It’s only N1,000, there is nothing like agreement fee or commission as in the case with the normal rentage in the community. It’s just to let them get committed as tenants. And they will be using the money to take care of the house.
Ramadan is some days ahead, and usually it has been your practice to put smiles on the faces of Muslim widows during the period. Do you still have that in your plan this year?
Of course, yes. We have already prepared for them. And I will personally join them for the first three days and the last three days of the month because I cherish those widows a lot.
That means you might have budgeted a huge amount for that also?
Definitely yes, but it’s only God that can do it. He has been helping us all this while. We will continue to do our best and we believe God has never disappointed us. So, He won’t disappoint us in all our endeavours.
How do you feel when you hear feedback from the people you have put smiles on their faces?
That’s my greatest joy and that’s what I love so much. I don’t party. I don’t believe in being a socialite. I believe in working very hard and be determined, courageous and focused to surmount all the challenges ahead. I don’t believe there is anything you can’t achieve if you’re determined. God has never disappointed me. I appreciate God a lot because He is awesome.
Let’s talk about your popular book of revelations, Warnings to the Nations (WTN). When is the new edition going to be unveiled?
That’s coming up on Friday, July 3, 2015.
Can you lead us into some of the predictions therein?
We talked about the new government, US, UK and other countries. It’s a global thing. Then, what Nigerians should expect.
Is it going to be sold or given out free?
It all depends because a lot of people have already subscribed for it. But anybody who calls us that he or she needs it, why not? We can give it out though they can also give us a token because it’s very expensive.
Can you also give us examples of some of the predictions contained in the previous edition that have come to pass?
Yes, a lot. Some of them include the killing of foreigners in South Africa, change of leadership in FIFA, the ship that capsized in China, change of government in Nigeria, some states where surprises happened during the last general elections. Even that’s why we tagged this year’s national crusade a year of multiple surprises. Also the fraud in Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the American blues musician man that died at 85 and a lot more.
Anything about the new government?
Yes, the new government will face challenges. And let’s be very watchful because there is going to be a lot of actors and drama as the government proceeds. We warned Buruji Kashamu before his challenges. We sent a letter to him to have a one-on-one meeting with him in 2013. We don’t like to be publishing anything we consider personal on the pages of newspapers or magazines. We believe in telling you in private. But some of these big men always ignore us. Then on Buhari, if they allow him to rule properly, he will turn the country around because he has good intentions. But the point remains that we must pray for him to be able to proceed very well but he may not go for the second term. And expect a new party coming up in the APC. There is likelihood of CPC pulling out of the alliance in two or three years because there is going to be power tussle in the APC. There is going to be a lot of drama in the party. Let’s pray that the party won’t have very serious problems like PDP.
– TADE ASIFAT