Firebrand prophet and General Overseer of Christ the King Rescue Global Ministry, Agbado, Ogun State, Pastor Gabriel Onaolapo, has said Nigerians should prepare for the breakup of the country, as according to him, project Nigeria has come to an end.
The Ogun based man of God, noted for his prophetic abilities, who spoke in this interview with OBINNA EZUGWU, said God showed him a revelation that Nigeria is partitioned and each region went their separate ways.
Onoalapo who celebrated his 30th anniversary in the ministry, and 20th anniversary of his church on Sunday, narrated his experiences through the years, what he said has been challenging but fulfilling journey into God’s vineyard.
You were starting out a career in marketing and management when you suddenly decided to go into the ministry. How did the journey begin?
In 1981, that was 40 years ago, I was given prophetic anointing, so I began to prophesy; I began to see vision. God was sending me to people. I was seen like a boy wonder because I was a teenager at that time. But I continued my studies. I read Marketing and Estate Management. After graduation, I got work with an agro-based firm. So, I was working between 1988 and 1990 with the firm. It was in the process that revelations started coming in from people and directly to myself, that I have the call of God upon my life. Initially, I was hesitant for a number of reasons. Number one, I considered myself too young to come into the ministry, I was just over 20 at the time. Number two, I considered myself as somebody with a brilliant future, because God gifted me academically. I used to be a front liner. I never came third in my academic pursuits. I either come first or I come second. So, I was like the hope of the family. My parents expended so much on me and were expecting so much from me, and I needed to not disappoint them. Therefore, I felt a call into the ministry would jeopardize my plan. But along the line, something happened. Where I was working, I was setup for implication, and for what I knew nothing about I was sacked. That was April 4, 1990. It was on a Friday. When I got sacked, I began to look for work elsewhere and in the process, those who were fathers to me spiritually, and who were counseling me, told me that, Gabriel don’t waste your time, answer the call of God.
Besides, I had seen three key revelations. In 1984, I saw a dream and in that dream, I saw a terrible human being chasing me. He only wore pants with his ears overgrown. As he was chasing me, I was running with all my power. Then, I saw a very lighted compound and I ran into that compound. As I ran into the compound and closed the gate, the man could not follow me to the compound, so he put his finger in his mouth. Then I sat down to take a rest as I was panting. Suddenly I heard a voice saying, “Go and open the gate, go and open the gate.”
As I looked back, I saw the same terrible human being chasing lots of people. I opened the gate and people were rushing inside the gate. As they rushed into the gate, he could not enter the gate. At that moment, I woke up. I started wondering what the dream was all about. God said said he is going to establish a place of refuge through me. That was 1984.
In 1988, I was having a dream again and I was in a law court. I was standing before a judge with his ears white all through. The judge said that the next case file was the case between Onaolapo Gabriel and Satan. As he said that, he asked a question: “What will Gabriel do before you get behind him; before you stop chasing him?” It was then I knew that the man I saw in that terrible dream I saw in 1984 was right behind me. So, when he answered he said, “Until he becomes a salesman for Jesus.” That moment, I looked at him and I saw him. Then the judge just said, “Have you heard?” I said, “Yes Sir.” That was the moment I woke up.
As somebody who is trained in Marketing and Sales Management, I knew the meaning is that I was to be an evangelist selling Christ and nothing else. So in 1990, after I lost my job, the third revelation came that eventually made me to say, OK, I was going to surrender. In July 1990, I took a decision, even though it was with reluctancy and with a lot of weeping and crying, I said I was going to serve the Lord with all the gifts he has given me.
Subsequently, I gained admission into the seminary, the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) seminary. I spent about three weeks in the seminary when my parents, who are not too educated, saw that I had some letters and they brought the letters to me. It happened that I was given employment into the United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Nigerian Custom Service, two employments at the same time. When I saw the two letters, I said I wasn’t going to do the work of God again. I started packing my belongings. But as I was doing so, some of my roommates in the hostel went and told the school authority that that boy was planning to leave because they have given him employment. The Registrar of the school, Pastor C.S.A Balogun then sent for me. He said to me, “What happened Gabriel?” I told him my story. He laughed and said, “Gabriel God made you to see these two employments, to let you know that it’s not that he couldn’t give you a job or that he is not answering your prayers, but that is not your life; do not look back.
He counselled me and after some days of being unhappy, I decided to stay. To the glory of God, 31 years down the road, I never regretted answering the call of God, even though sometimes I used to feel that if I hadn’t answered the call, I would have been richer or more successful than I am. But I also ask myself that what if I was dead; what if I became a total failure? So that is the story of my calling in a nutshell.
It’s been 31 years. You said you were supposed to celebrate this 30th anniversary last year but for Covid-19. In these 31 years, what were the challenges you faced and how were you able to overcome?
Challenges were actually not pronounced because my parents were very supportive. While I was giving them little things at the time I was working, when the call of God came, they sat me down and said, “Gabriel, we know your worries. We will be there for you. Anything you need , just ask us.” And I want to tell you that throughout my three years in seminary school they were there for me. They paid my school fees and everything else. They made sure I never felt inferior to anyone of my mates. In fact, it was me who told them in 1996, that Daddy and Mummy, thank you, you have done a lot for me, stop giving me things because now I can stand on my feet.
But like in every other calling or profession, I had some encounters or experiences that shook me. Take for example, my first mission station. When I was to take a station, three offers were made to me; two in Lagos and one in Abuja. I prayed and God told me go to this one in Lagos. He said the one in Abuja is also good, but no mention was made of the third option. So followed the voice of God.
When I got to the station in Lagos, there was no accommodation. I was sleeping under a table on the altar. After about six weeks, my senior pastor felt that this boy has earned a little trust, so he moved me from the altar to his office. So, I was now sleeping under the table in the pastor’s office. This went on for a few months before some members decided that I was too gifted and too dynamic, “don’t let us frustrate him.” So, they decided to construct a pastorium me. I used to tell people that my first duplex was an 8 by 10 room. That was my kitchen, my sitting room, my bedroom and my dressing room… it was everything. But I kept at it, trusting and believing God. I was in that one room when I had my first car. One of the members decided that this boy was just too good and gave me a car.
Then, I had a spiritual mother in Lagos here who is well connected in Christ Apostolic Church. She visited one day and saw where I was living. she said, “No Gabriel not in this Lagos where I live. You can’t live here. I will take you away from here and give you another station.” I was so happy. That very night I was thanking god that He wanted to take me out of this place. But God said to me, “Gabriel, you are not going anywhere; you’re not moving an inch.” So I went back to that Mama and said, “Mama please don’t look for another station for me.” She was surprised and asked why. I told her that God said I shouldn’t leave. But not long after that episode, there was a crisis in that church, and suddenly a church of over 400 members scattered and remained only about 41 members.
I felt I was too young to face this and decided to run to Abuja, the initial second option that God chose for me. I got to Abuja and things were a lot better there. In Lagos, my salary was N1,474, not up to N1500 and there was no accommodation. But in Abuja, my salary was N9000 with two bedroom flat. So after one month of working in Abuja CAC Garki, I decided to come down here to pack my load. But as I got home my parents said said one of my spiritual fathers, Late Pastor M.A Titilayo, came to the house and said I should see him anytime I return from Abuja. So immediately I went to see him. Baba said to me, “Gabriel you have left your duty post. God said you have left where he told you to stay and you have gone to where he did not send you.”
I said to him Baba, but I prayed and God said that Lagos was number one and Abuja was number two. He said, yes, but that number two was a permissive will, while number one was the perfect will. He asked me to return to my station in Lagos, that there might always be challenges, “but Gabriel come back to Lagos.” I did. And less than two years after I left Abuja, the man that took my office in the Abuja church vomited blood and died. The senior pastor I was to work with, few months after, also vomited blood and died. That was perhaps how I escaped death. So I continued my work at CAC Miracle Centre, Ojodu. Then, another of my fathers in the Lord who was instrumental to my coming to Lagos, Pastor Stephen Olusola Aluko, came to me and said, “Gabriel, congratulations. The richest CAC assembly in Lagos, CAC Festac, is looking for a pastor and I have recommended you. The senior pastor there is my townsman, I have told him about you and he said you should come. You will have official car, a flat, access to telephone and all the rest.” I thanked him very much for the offer. I was very happy. That night I prayed, I said, “Lord I thank you for this very opportunity.” But God said to me, “Gabriel don’t go, you won’t go anywhere. And tell the man who told you to come and work with him that his time is up, he should leave that church.” I was surprised, “What kind of message is this?” I wondered. But I went to that my father, Pastor Aluko and said to him, “Baba, thank you for the offer but this is what God has said.” He had known me to be a mysterious person. I told him that God said I should not take this offer, but not only that, that God also said the man who is inviting me to come and work with him, that his time is up and that he should leave that very church. He did not leave, and less than one year after that, I heard that the man lost his son who was working in the Central Bank of Nigeria. His wife became paralyzed and eventually died. The man himself eventually had stroke before the church transferred him to another station. I didn’t go because God said I should not go.
Now, I remained in my station. I was in that very station for almost eight years. The station eventually prospered me. I had my first car, I had bought my first land which I eventually sold to buy this land on which this church was built. I also published my first book in year 2000, “Humble Beginnings.” I bought my first computer in 1999, when desktop computer was not that common. It was in that station that I got married. It was there that I had my first set of twins who are now graduates by the grace of God. So I felt I had arrived. The church which I told you had about 41 members at some point, eventually grew to 800 in membership and I was for long periods, the only pastor there. At some point, I got two to three other pastors working with me. Then one night God said to me, “Gabriel your time is up, move.” I was surprised I said, “Move to where?” He said, “Remember that dream you saw in 1984? I said yes. He said, “You remember the dream I showed in 1988? I said yes. Then he said, “You recall the one that I showed you 1990” I said Yes. He said, “The time to start is now.”
This was July 2000. I went to the prayer mountain with my wife and children and a cousin living with me, Shola Morufola, now a pastor in this ministry. We spent seven days seeking the face of God and when I confirmed it was time to move, my wife asked where we were going to start from. I told her I had an idea. The book I wrote, I decided to publish and launch it. I did and the proceeds from the book was to be the first seed that birthed this ministry. I think I realised about N300,000. With that I started looking for a land to start the church.
Then there came the challenges. First was the challenge of location; the challenge of finding a place to locate this ministry, Christ The King Rescue Global Ministry. I started looking for land, but I made up my mind that I wouldn’t start in a place that is less than two plots of land. But all the lands I saw were put at between N800,000 and N1,000000. Then one woman told me that she knew I was close to the Oba of Isheri Olofin- that’s actually where Lagos started, but most people don’t know – Late Oba Ganiyu Eyadewa, “You have ministered to him and you people are close.” I said Yes, but he is a Muslim. She insisted that it didn’t matter, that I should go and meet him. So I went to meet the Kabiyesi. I said to him, “Kabiyesi, I need help.” He asked what it was and I told him. He said OK, that it was time to repay me for what I did for him. He offered to give me two plots close to his place in Isheri, and said I should just give any amount I have to the community and take over. But I said there was a problem. The church I was leaving was just two kilometres away from there, “and I wouldn’t want to leave and cause crisis in that church.” The land he gave me then is where you have DMT Mobile Toilet now, opposite Kara. That was the exact spot this church would have been located.
So, when I turned it down, he then asked if I would go to Oke Aro. He directed me and told one of his chiefs, Chief Balogun to accompany me to come and inspect this place. We came and inspected. When we went back to him, he asked if I liked the place and I said I did. But I told him that the price Chief Balogun gave me was outrageous and that I couldn’t afford it. He asked me how much and I said N400,000 per plot. Kabiyesi then said, “How much can you pay?” I said, Kabiyesi, I can pay N200,000. The chiefs said No, No, that the amount is too small. He told them to listen, that I was his prophet and that anything I wanted he would do for me. He asked me to pay the N200,000 per plot. But I told him there was still a problem, that I needed two plots but I only had money for one plot. So, I will pay for one plot today or latest tomorrow, then pay for the second one three months later. He accepted my request. I left and was thanking God that I have secured two plots to kick-start the ministry.
When I got home that very night, one of my spiritual sons who was working in Chevron, drove down and said to me, “Prophet you didn’t tell me you were leaving.” Actually, I didn’t want to announce it because I didn’t want to cause crisis in the church. He asked me what the plan was and I told him. He gave me N120,000. He is still in Chevron today. He is one of the top people in Chevron. He joined the company in 1996. After, another spiritual son came, that one was working in NDLEA. He came and said, “Daddy, you are leaving but you never told me you were leaving?” I explained to him and he said OK and gave me money. The two sons gave me N200,000. This one is a pastor in MFM now.
The following day, I went back to Kabiyesi to pay for the second plot. But when I was to pay, I told Chief Balogun that yesterday, I told Kabiyesi that I needed two plots, but that I would pay for one. But now I need four plots, but I will pay for two. He said there was no problem, that it was the same thing. They brought me here and measured four plots. But when they measured four plots, one problem arose. There was one hectare here; six plots. If they give me four plots from the back, there would be two plots at the entrance and if they sell it to another big person, he will block the church, so how are we going to be entering the church? On the other hand, if he gives me four plots from the front the, the church would block the two plots behind. So, he asked, “what do we do?” I said, “Chief, now God is talking. Since God needed the whole place, He will take the whole place.” That was how God situated us in this place and by His grace, we started service and started construction.
However, one day, while the construction was going on, I came here and Police came and arrested me. They said I encroached on another person’s land. I said No, that I bought the land legitimately. They insisted and took me to area command at Sango Ota. They locked up the people working for me, but I said you couldn’t lock those working for me and I’ll be outside, so lock me up also. They locked me up also. Meanwhile, I had sent for my lawyer, Barrister Chris Owayema. When he came, he asked them why they had to lock me up, what crime I committed and whether land transaction had become a criminal matter.
But within the three hours I spent there, I learnt a lesson. I understood the meaning of “Rescue”. When the Lord gave me the name Rescue Camp, I never understood the practical meaning, but after experiencing incarceration, I saw the condition of Nigerian prison. Inmates ate, urinated, defecated and slept in the same place. After that experience, I said, “So this is what people in bondage experience?” I got fired up to do something for mankind and humanity.
Eventually the man who took me to prison said he wanted settlement out of court, because he had taken me to court and got a lawyer. We went to settle out of court. He insisted that he bought the land before. I said OK, that I will pay you another money, but that I wouldn’t pay you the real value of the land. We negotiated and I agreed to pay him N1million. But I had no money. That was what prompted me to go and sell the original land I bought in 1999. I sold the land so that I could defray some of the cost incurred in this place as part of the second purchase.
But something happened while the court case was going on. We were praying and I said God who did this? Later on, Alhaji Y.S. Layeni, who called for my arrest, told me in the law court that, “Prophet, I did not arrest you. It was Christians like you that arrested you.” I asked him how, but he said he wouldn’t say more than that.
Over one year later, after we have settled here, somebody came and introduced himself as a pastor, but I have forgotten his actual name. He came and said he needed to see me. I asked him to sit down. He said, “Prophet do you know I was the one who orchestrated your arrest? I was the one who made Alhaji Layeni to arrest you.” Alhaji Layeni is the one that built a mosque in Mushin, Alhaji Layeni Mosque. I told him fine, “So, what did I do to you?” He said I didn’t do anything to him but that when I started building this place, the Redeemed Christian Church of God House of Prayer nearby said they never knew this kind of land was here, that they wanted this place. So they came to him and contracted him to orchestrate problems for me, that how can somebody that has no name come and take a place like this. It’s one of the challenges we face in the church. I told him, “Are you kidding me?” He explained that they told him that he if he succeeded in chasing me out of this place, they will buy the land and give him full commission. He said that was why he went and instigated Alhaji Layeni to come for my arrest. He told me he had been coming every two days to find out when I’ll be around because at that time I was living in Ojodu, I had not moved to this area. He said he was trying to find out from the people working here when I would be here. They were the ones who told him that I’ll be coming at a certain time on a certain date and he went and alerted Alhaji who then brought the Police to arrest me.
He went on to say that the reason he had come was that his only son now had leukaemia, and his own church had collapsed and his wife had run away. He said when he prayed, God told him that he offended the pastor of Rescue Mission, that he should go and apologize to him. He then said he came for two purposes: that right now he had no money and number two, that he needed me to pray so that his son does not die. I shook my head and said the damage had been done because I prayed naked for 21 days over the person who saw to my arrest and put me in prison; that I didn’t want the person to go scot-free. Regardless, I told him to go home and beg God for mercy. I gave him some money. His son eventually died.
Another challenge came in 2004. One day, somebody came and said that I snatched his wife. I read the story in the newspaper, The Sun Newspaper page three. The story said that I snatched somebody’s wife with five children. At the time, the Sun had just started publication. The story appeared on the January 30, 2004 edition. If they can go to the archives they will see my name there, the story that Prophet Onoalapo Gabriel snatched someone’s wife with five children. I remember there was a woman whose husband wanted to kill; the husband wanted to assassinate her because he accused her of being a witch bewitching his work, but by the grace of God we foiled the attempt, because our mission is to rescue.
So, when I saw the story, I was surprised. I was wondering who was the person that wrote this and who was the woman in question. But it was not until one year later that somebody came to see me. The day he came was not my counseling day, so I asked them to tell him that it was not my counseling day, that he should come back another time. I thought he probably had come for counseling. But he sent them back to me and said he was a friend of the house and needed to see me urgently. I had to bring him in. He came and introduced himself as Eniola Oyelani, a journalist.
He said that there was a publication about me in the newspaper over one year ago. I told him yes, that I remember. I asked him what about it and he said he wrote it; himself and his friend, but that his friend was now dead, while himself, his marriage had just scattered. He asked if I knew how it happened and I told him I didn’t. Then he said it was one prophet around here, three buildings away from this place, that called them to do the story. They call the name of the church Tetragrammaton. He said his wife was looking for the fruit of the womb, so he went to the prophet who promised to do it for him, but under one condition. He said the prophet told him that there was one pastor who came around and took over the whole community from him and overshadowed him. He said the prophet asked him to use his media platform to destroy my ministry. According to him, it was the prophet who gave them the assignment to scandalize my name and the church. And he did it. But he said now they are in trouble. He said that as he was talking, his landlord had given him quit notice, and he had nowhere to move his loads. And that any help I could render besides spiritual help was welcome. I said to him, “So you published that Sun Newspaper story against me? He said yes. I said, I also prayed against you.
But like I said these are some of the challenges that we face in the ministry. The other challenge is the challenge of loyal followers. As it is in the political and the corporate world, it is also in the church. I am a person who trusts easily. Because I wouldn’t lie to you, I don’t believe you would like to me. But I have had unpleasant experiences with some of my associates. One ran away with N10 million in 2007. That money would have propelled this ministry to a higher level. Somebody called him and said God had answered his prayer, that he wanted to donate this N10 million to the church, but he said to him, “No don’t donate it to the church, donate it to me I’m about to start my own ministry.” That was how he took the money and left. He has been wanting to see me now for close to five or six years now, lobbying for people to bring him to me when he had issues.
Regardless, I thank God today that I have a number of reliable associates. We have about 30 pastors working in this ministry, both at the headquarters and the branches in Nigeria and South Africa. And by the grace of God, I can now say that I have hands that I can trust. But we also have the challenge of finance. Actually, I shouldn’t complain because I am a favoured person. People always want to go all out to help. However, the magnitude of the vision swallows up whatever little money that come in. This is part of why I’m establishing other businesses. And I’m saying it because of other ministers. Indeed I have written a book about it, ‘The Levites Streams of Income;’ ‘The biblicality of combining business with ministry,’ that’s the rider. I discovered in the Bible that the Levites had up to nine sources of income besides the church. But we were not taught so in the seminary. So, many pastors are struggling today on account of lack of funds. Some are down with hypertension, some are dying of frustration; of poverty and lack because nothing is coming in. That is why I laugh when I read journalists write that pastors are living large. What is the percentage of pastors that are living large? In this country we have close to 500,000 pastors. Those that have jets are not more than 10. So it is not good to generalize. And even as we agree that there are few fake pastors, it is not a reason to generalize, because you cannot say you saw two fake doctors and therefore all doctors out there are fake. And by the way, I have put over 30 years in this ministry. The musician Davido may not have been born when I started, but he has jets. To the world, that is acceptable and can only mean that God is blessing him. But if tomorrow God blesses me and I buy a jet, they will say he is a pastor and he is living large. Bishop Ayo Oritsejafor put in 44 years in the ministry before he bought a jet. Davido was 27 years old when he bought his first jet. To the people of the world Davido’s jet is fine but Bishop Oritsejafor’s own is not. I call it misplacement of values. A boxer can earn N120 million in one fight, that is fine. But if a pastor who has worked for 30 years buys something of N20 million, people will start saying that he is living large.
But don’t you also think that that may have to do with what society expects of people who represent Christ on earth, given the kind of life Christ lived? I mean, are you not supposed to emulate the modesty of Christ?
Yes, I subscribe to that, you are very correct. But Christ also rode on donkeys. I tell you donkeys were the best rides at that time.
But he didn’t buy them?
Yes, he didn’t buy them, but he rode on them. He had access to them, and he also boarded ships to preach.
Yes, but didn’t he also walk on water?
Yes he walked on water, Luke Chapter 5. But for me it is an aberration for people to think that after putting 30 or 40 years of serious work – and you need to see what pastors are going through – and if you eventually manage to get something, people feel that you are living large. Let me tell you one of the things that made me to shed tears and caused me to see the need for me to have other sources of income. It happened about 10 years ago. One family, a well-to-do family, wanted to organise a wedding ceremony for their son. They came to me and said, “Prophet, which of the girls will be good for our son?” I prayed and prayed, and told them that this one is okay. Again, they brought three dates and asked me which of the dates they should fix the wedding such that there won’t be any problems. I gave them a date to do the wedding, that was six months away. They still said OK, that they needed my prayer support. I gave them three pastors who prayed for them every week. The pastors would go to their house and keep vigil with them every week. After the wedding ceremony the family gave me N50,000 in appreciation. That was fine, it was not the problem. But what I found surprising was that they invited Yinka Ayefele, the musician and they gave him N7.5 million. So, Ayefele put in a day’s work, he only came to sing at the wedding reception, but earned N7.5 million. Meanwhile, I put in nearly one year of labour, fasting and praying but they gave me N50,000. And after giving Ayefele N7.5 million, they were the ones who actually told me. By the way, they still sprayed money on him at the reception. And the bride’s father also gave him a land in Lagos; a plot of land in Lekki-Ajah axis. So that is the reality which many people don’t know.
The truth is that many people don’t value ministers of the gospel. This is a challenge, and that is what is making some pastors to become diabolical; to become liars. That is why some pastors resorted to lying. Of course, I don’t support them, they do so because they don’t know who called them or because they are not actually born again or were not broken down before they came into the ministry. If they were broken down and they were actually called, it is either they quit the ministry or the find another way of supplementing the meager income from the church.
This brings us to another point. The issue of fake preachers. I mean, there is often this concern that many people share. Many find it contradictory, if not even strange, that while the church is expanding, evil is also expanding. Could the preponderance of fake preachers explain this?
I have answered that question in one forum before, and I will repeat the answer. There are things people don’t take into cognizance, that is the pluralistic nature and the multiculturalism of our society. The nation of Israel people often use as point of reference is largely a monotheistic society; monocultural and mono-tribal. But in today’s Nigeria, you have the Muslims, the Christians; you have the agnostics, the atheist and so on. So in our society, we have multiculturalism; we have pluralism. Another point is that you have to ask yourself, how many days do people spend in the church? There are seven days in a week, the average serious minded Christian goes to church only twice in a week. The normal Sunday service and the midweek service. Yet even in those two days, how many hours do they spend in the church? On Sunday, maybe they spend a maximum of five hours, if they are workers. But if they are just worshipers, they go home after one or two hours. Midweek service, many don’t even attend and for those that will attend, if you stay too long you won’t see them again. The time when people spent longer time in the church is long gone. So, in any society where evil is to be tamed, it shouldn’t be the responsibility of the church alone. The first primary place where the shaping of children begin is the home. That is where they spend almost 24 hours a day. The second place is the school; that is where they spend 8-10 hours 5 days in a week, that is when they start going to school. But people, for some reasons I don’t understand, will just say that the church is spreading but evil is spreading.
I told somebody who asked this same question that we should indeed thank God that the church is spreading. The spread of the church has ensured that there are not too many criminals in Nigeria. In my church here for example, I have hundreds of youths. Among these youths I can bet that 95 percent are decent people. So, through this ministry, I have been able to ensure that these youths, some of whom could have as well become Yahoo boys, ritualists armed robbers, street urchins and all the rest, became decent people. And if I can say that of hundreds here, Bishop Oyedepo could say that of 290,000; Bishop Adeboye 500,000 and so on. So I say, if not even for the church that is working to ensure an orderly society, by now the situation in Nigeria would have become very terrible. So, instead of castigating the church we should give the church credit.
The good that the church has done for this nation should be acknowledged. Is it in the education sector? The church has built several primary schools, secondary schools universities. Forget about the present-day universities that charge exorbitant fees. Is it in the medical world? There are so many mission hospitals. What the church has done in Nigeria especially, no other institution has done it. I am not sure if you are aware that the Catholic Church alone has about 433 hospitals in Nigeria and they are highly subsidized. The Catholic Church in Nigeria has over 5,000 schools, highly subsidized. And there are some other churches like that. Many people don’t know that Bishop Oyedepo is sponsoring over 500 students on full scholarships to higher institutions every year. How many rich Nigerians are doing that? By now the man has trained over 10,000 people. Yet people will say he is driving jet; he is living big; he is this and that. That is very wrong. I know that my time has not come, but one day, my time will come. God will say, “Prophet, you have put in 31 years in this ministry, you take this one.” And by the time you see me riding a Rolls-Royce Phantom, you will say I am living large or I have joined the world.
Conceded that you would have earned that after 31 years in the ministry. And indeed, listening to your story, one thing that comes across very clearly is that you are very patient. That’s probably not case with many young people today, who are into all manner of vices to make quick money. Would you blame this lack of patience for the decay in our society?
Yes, but it is more than patience. Patience is one aspect, but there are other ways to look at it. One of them is values. I told a brief story at the beginning about how I was sacked from where I was working. What happened was that a deal was done in that company. By the way, the company is dead now. They did that deal, but could not do it without me knowing. So, they did it and brought money to me to say it’s my share of the money from the deal. I refused to collect the money because of my values; values implanted in me, not by the church, but by my parents. That’s what I was talking about when I said train the children from the home. They also say that charity begins from home, not from church. So I told the head of my department that there is no way I would take this money. It was my refusal to take that money that made them to plot against me. They conspired against me and edged me out.
So in order to correct these social vices, we have to begin with impartation of values in our children. And I have 18 philosophies in that regard; my personal philosophies of values: honesty, integrity, courage, calculated risks, consistency conservatism, focus, resilience, perseverance and so on. It is my parents who instilled those values in me, and that’s what helped me not to be stealing church money. There are so many pastors today that are thieves. If they don’t do ritual to get money, they dip hands into the church pockets and steal money. But when you see such pastors, go and look at their backgrounds. it is often because they don’t have values imparted in them even before they came into the ministry. So, if we want to reduce the social vices, we have to begin by telling parents to instill values in their children. Then, from there we move to the schools. The schools should impart values in their wards. Then the next is the church. When there is this collaborative effort, the society will be a better place. The law enforcement agencies will only arrest those who have committed crime and in that scenario there will be fewer people committing crimes. But the security agencies’ intervention is not preventive measures. What I’m saying is that before it gets to the security agencies, there are three agencies that could work collaboratively: the home, the school and the church, to ensure it doesn’t get there.
You have written a number of books. One of them you titled, “Optimism.” Optimism is one word that seems to be lacking today’s Nigeria. The security situation is getting out of hand, poverty is growing, and there is general uncertainty about where the country is headed. Are you worried?
To answer your question, there is no setting where optimism cannot be applied. Optimism is about mindset; it is about perception, it is about orientation, it is about upbringing. Optimism is about the level of your faith; it is about the level of your insight and understanding of what God is doing and what God can do. But as for the situation of the country, yes it gives room for concern for every reasonable human being. But God brought out this beautiful world out of chaos; because when you read Genesis Chapter 1 &2, the Bible said in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, and the earth was void. The earth had no form and darkness was upon the surface of water. He said the spirit of God hovered around it. Another version said brooded; to brood is to incubate and in the process of incubation God brought out this beautiful world. God brought out this beautiful world, not from a beautiful material, but from a chaotic situation. So, God will still bring out his intention. Look at the time when there was feminine in the whole world, during the time of Joseph. God unveiled his plan by bringing Joseph out of prison to liberate the world. That is the way to look at it. So for me I believe that something good is going to happen about Nigeria.
That does not mean that Nigeria is not going to break up. Of course, I told my church that project Nigeria ceased to exist since December 11, 2020. God showed me that the country is partitioned; it was divided and each region went their separate ways in that revelation. And I want to tell you, it may not be one year, it may not be five years, it may not be 10 years, but nothing can stop it; nothing can stop Nigeria from disintegration. But I also want to tell you that even in that fearful scenario, which gives me concern; it gives me concern because if there is an outbreak of war today, I pastor a church with over several members. if I can run, will I leave my flock? But God will bring out his will for this Nigeria. The prayer I’m saying in my closet is that God will save Nigeria from crisis; that if Nigerian project cannot be saved, God should make it that the parting will not be bloody, or too bloody, and that is optimism.
But there are also men of God like you who have said that Nigeria is God’s plan and cannot breakup. Are you saying that their assertion is wrong?
I won’t say it is wrong. What many people don’t know is that revelation is progressive. Many people don’t know that God is dynamic. If I may break it down for you, was it not God that brought the nation of Israel out from Egypt as one nation? Yes, but was it not God who divided the nation into two under Rehoboam? Where Rehoboam had two tribes that were called Southern Kingdom, and Jeroboam had 10 tribes that were called Northern kingdom of Israel, with headquarters in Samaria, while the headquarters of Southern Kingdom was in Jerusalem, was he not God? So if somebody said that Nigeria is God’s project; how would you say he is lying? No, but we need to be very versatile and up to date. I was listening to Pastor Tunde Bakare talking last year, maybe about six months ago and I was laughing. The man was just bluffing, I am telling you. I respect him, he is a senior in the ministry. Maybe he is older than me in the ministry by two years or three years. Kudos to him, God has helped him and God will continue to help him. I respect him for that, but for me, as far as the Nigerian project is concerned, the country has ceased to exist in the spiritual realm. And I tell you, he is one of the people that will weep last. He is going to shed tears, including Bola Tinubu. They are going to shed tears.
But the fact that the nation of Israel was God’s project never meant that when the nation was divided into two it was not God’s project. It might have been God’s project before now for Nigeria to be one country, but I want to repeat that in the spiritual realm Nigeria has ceased to exist.
I will tell you a story. I have a mother in the Lord whose name I don’t want to mention. In 2006 or thereabout, her mum took ill. She sent for me to come and pray for her at the hospital. I told her I would come the next day. But that night, I prayed and God asked me not to go, that the woman’s time was up, and that if I pray for her to survive, one daughter of the mama that called me, that’s the woman’s granddaughter, would be used as replacement. So, when the mama called me the next day, I told her I wasn’t coming. She asked why, I told her, “Mama, allow your mother to go, her time has come. If you don’t, your daughter will die instead.” She told me I was the 36th pastor she called to pray for her mother, but out of the 36, only me said a different thing. I said to her, “Mama, but that’s what makes me different.”
I told her we would know who is telling the truth eventually. Days and weeks passed she kept calling me, but I said I wouldn’t come. Her mother was hospitalized at Olusosun Hospital in Ojota. I didn’t know, but one day she called me and said, Prophet, save me. My daughter in the UK is dying.” And mama is a trained nurse. She was shouting, “I will not give my daughter as replacement for my mother. I will not give my daughter as a replacement for my mother. If my mother will die, let her die.”
That same morning her mother died, but her daughter, Funmi is still alive today. Later she came and asked me, “Gabriel, why is your own different? I said it is because I do not talk frivolously. I do not talk from emotion, I always want to hear what the Lord has to say. It may not be pleasant to the ear, but that will be the truth. I tried to pattern my ministry before Prophet Jeremiah. Before I came into the ministry, I read the book of Jeremiah seven times, and everywhere he spoke, he said and the word of the Lord came to me. It was 178 places. I marked them and I saw that that was what distinguished Prophet Jeremiah from others. He always wanted to hear from God.
So, whoever that wants to say that Nigeria is God’s project let them continue to say it, but in one or two years time we will know; we will compare records to see who is right. We will then know who really heard from God or who is speaking presumptuously. But I’m telling you that project Nigeria has come to an end.