SPECIAL STORY: LIFE AND TIMES OF PROPHET T. O. OBADARE

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF PROPHET T. O. OBADARE

*WOSEM AND CAC CRISIS

Violence, hatred, oppression, tussle for leadership, power and divisions have characterized the indigenous Pentecostal churches in Nigeria, particularly in the last two decades of the twentieth century. Historically, the schisms, rifts, divisions and sessions could be traced to doctrinal practices, leadership problems, different interpretations and manipulations of prophetic gifts and sundries. These attitudes have negative implications on church growth and on church membership.

The first Christian contact in Nigeria occurred in the fifteenth century, when the Portuguese introduced Roman Catholicism. However, it was virtually extinguished over the following 200 years until Roman Catholic missionaries returned in the 1800s. Since then, the Catholic Church has grown and now claims approximately 4,000,000 affiliates.

The first Protestant missionaries to Nigeria were Wesleyan Methodists. They began work in the southwest among the Yoruba in 1842. The Methodist Church now has 160,000 adherents. Other Protestant groups followed: Church Missionary Society (Evangelical Anglican), United Free Church of Scotland, Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, and Southern Baptists (USA).

Over the last 100 years, several other missions have entered Nigeria while others sprang up and one of those is Christ Apostolic Church (CAC). The Christ Apostolic Church is distinctly an indigenous African Church. By its structure, belief and practice, it is an independent Pentecostal Church.

The history of the Church is traceable directly to Oba/Pastor Isaac Babalola Akinyele (the then Olubadan), Pastor David Ogunleye Odubanjo, Joseph Sadare, Miss Sophia Odunlami and Evangelist (late Apostle) Joseph Ayodele Babalola who was called to the ministry by the Lord on 11th, October, 1928. Apostle Babalola’s call subsequently led to the great revival of 1930.

Before then, there was the 1918-28 Faith Tabernacle era characterized by the formation of praying groups such as the Precious or Diamond Society found in small pockets all over Nigeria. The brethren in control were Joseph Sadare (a.k.a. Esinsinade), D.O. Odubanjo, Isaac Akinyele (late Olubadan of Ibadan) and Miss Sophia Odunlami. Majority of the members of the first group of Diamond Society were worshippers at St. Saviour’s Anglican Church, Ijebu-Ode, where they began meeting regularly for prayers and spiritual guidance in 1918. Mr. D. O. Odubanjo soon developed contact between members of the ‘Praying Band’ and Pastor A. Clark, the leader of Faith Tabernacle in Philadelphia, USA through correspondence and receipt of tracts and magazines such as ‘The Sword of the Spirit’.

Soon, tension rose between the group and the Anglican Church over such practices as divine healings, opposition to infant baptism, reliance on dreams and visions, abstinance from dancing, drumming, debt-owing, drinking of alcohol, gambling and mixing with non-Christians. Mr Joseph Sadare was compelled to give up his post in the Synod and others were forced to resign their jobs and to withdraw their children from the Anglican School.

But in less than a decade, branches of the group had been established in Lagos, Ibadan, Ilesa, Oyan, Ile-Ife, Minna, Jos and Zaria. Their members had also imbibed reliance on the power of prayer, divine healing and the All Sufficiency of God.

Fortunately, the Great Revival of 1930 with Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola as its medium emerged in July 1930 at Oke Ooye, Ilesa. Those who assisted him during the Revival included D. O. Odubanjo, Oba I. B. Akinyele and J. A. Babatope as well as Babalola’s followers such as J. A. Medayese, A. O. Omotoso, John Oye, J. B. Orogun, and Philip Mabigbade among others. Prophet Daniel Orekoya later came to the venue.

The Great Revival did not only embrace all the beliefs accepted by the Faith Tabernacle group, but also went further by embracing the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the spiritual manifestation of seeing visions, prophesying, speaking in tongues and dreaming. Consequently upon this, people with diverse diseases were healed in thousands and, in turn, they spontaneously rejected their “juju” and other medicines. Massive revivals hitherto unknown in Nigeria ensued. Thousands of people surrendered their lives to Jesus.

Meanwhile, the Church leaders were subjected to avoidable intimidation, harassment and humiliation at different levels of the society. So, on their behalf, Mr D. O. Odubanjo sought co-operation with British Apostolic Brothers in Bradford, England. Thus on 23rd, September, 1931, three missionaries, viz. Pastor D. P. Williams, A. Turnbull and W. J. Williams arrived in Nigeria as guests of the Church. In November, 1931, the visiting missionaries ordained the first seven Pastors of the Church who had earlier on been ordained by proxy by Pastor A. Clark in America. Three of the new Pastors namely, Pastor J. B. Sadare, D. O. Odubanjo and Oba I. B. Akinyele later came to play important roles in the growth of the Church. After the return of the white Missionary delegates to Bradford, Pastor George Perfect and Prophet Idris Vaughan came to Nigeria on June 22, 1932 to strengthen the band of fellowship between the two religious bodies. For a time, the religious activities of the white brothers complemented the religious exploits of Joseph Ayo Babalola. This brought hope that the partnership would mitigate, if not totally eliminate, their untold sufferings and persecutions, but reverse was the case as it became an illusion. The partnership staggered for a decade and later crumbled during 1939/40 crisis. As a result of the disagreement over the issue of “Divine Healing”, two groups had emerged. The pro-European group was led by Pastor S. G. Adegboyega while Apostle Joseph Babalola, Pastor D. O. Odubanjo and Pastor (Oba) I. B. Akinyele led the Nigerian Group.

Over the time, God revealed to Apostle Ayo Babalola to name the Revival Group “APOSTOLIC CHURCH”. About 1939, the Church changed its name to NIGERIAN APOSTOLIC CHURCH. This name was again changed to UNITED APOSTOLIC CHURCH, until 1942, when God specifically revealed that the name of the Church should be CHRIST APOSTOLIC CHURCH. It was thereafter that the name was registered as No. 147 of May 4, 1943, under the Lands Perpetual Succession Ordinance with Isaac Akinyele as the President, Joseph Ayodele Babalola as the General Evangelist and David Odubanjo as the General Superintendent.

During the decades 1940-1960, the CAC was subjected to a series of strain and stresses. Stiff opposition came from the detractors of the Church, including some of the orthodox churches, most government officers, some Obas and high chiefs and even evil forces. There were also problems of internal administration, inadequate training, recruitment of unqualified Church personnel and weak finances.

However, the following factors later tilted the pendulum in favour of the Church; political power had then passed to the Africans who were free to embrace the Gospel; the church had produced literate children; prominent men and women who had directly or indirectly benefitted from the church then gave it their support; the oil boom of the 1960s provided money for better church personnel throughout Nigeria. The golden era of the Church ended in 1959 when Pastor D. O. Odubanjo and Apostle Ayodele Babalola died.

The history of the church witnessed remarkable developments such as the establishments of a Bible Training College, Ede (1952) (the Bible Training College moved to Erio Ekiti in 1954, to Efon Alaaye in 1958 and to Akure in 1969), Pastoral Training College at Ibadan (1946), School of Prophets and Evangelists at Ilesa (1949), defunct Teachers’ College at Efon Alaaye (1955), Faith Home at Ede (1959). Grammar Schools at Ibadan, Efon Alaaye and Iperu (all in 1960), Ilesa (1962), Akure (1964) and Odo-Owa (1970), Press and Publications department (1966-67), Sunday School Department (1977), Theological Seminary at Ile-Ife (1979), by merging the Bible Training College and Pastoral Training College, and the formation of Societies, Associations and Fellowship groups. All these organs soon helped the Church to firmly establish religious practices and liturgy peculiar to it.

The teaching of the Church had grown out of many sources, namely the Bible, the remarkable soul-searching sermons of the founding fathers; borrowing from Europeans and American literatures, especially tracts and magazines; the lessons produced by the various tensions within the Group over the prophylactic use of medicine and other issues of administration. Besides the beliefs of C.A.C. members in prophecy, visions, divine healing and holy living, the focal points of all tenets and practices of the Church is prayer. And when accompanied with fasting, it could accomplish the impossible as this sincerely manifested not going through Joseph Ayo Babalola alone but machinery and a chosen vessel who also exhibited that, was, Prophet Timothy Obadare.

Prophet Obadare came on the CAC board in 1952 precisely, then as a young, committed and vibrant Pastor. Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola was unarguably the man who moulded the discipleship of Prophet Obadare. However, the uniqueness of Obadare’s brand of evangelism, coupled with his incredible healing prowess, made him the new face of CAC in Nigeria after Babalola’s demise in 1959, particularly beginning from the 1970s. It is little surprising, therefore, that he emerged the first General Evangelist of the CAC. Though an Ijesha man from Ilesha, it was in Akure that God led him to establish the foothold of his ministry. There, he established the CAC, Oke-Itura.

If soul winning is founded on the word of God, the success of any serious evangelism must be anchored on the copious deployment of undiluted scriptural messages. With a sight disability, it was obvious that Prophet Obadare would need more than divine grace to grapple with this seemingly intractable challenge. Though physically blind and with limited education, God gave Obadare the spiritual eyes and grace with which to read the bible, as well as uncommon knowledge and wisdom to drive home his messages to his audience. He was revered for huge successes in winning souls, healing and deliverance. Much of his success was attributed to his wise deployment of the mass media, especially the radio and television, in passing his messages across. His early morning sermons and inspirational messages on radio and television were irresistible to his audience. Many confessed that the messages were like the ‘Balm of Gilead’ for the troubled, tormented and spiritually disturbed. Obadare preached the Scripture as it is with incredible vigour and zeal. He stood for the evangelism of liberation, conversion, reformation and restoration; and never misled his followership with the theology of prosperity now common in so many houses of worship in the country. His ministry was a combination of social centre, liturgy, rescue mission and home to evangelical and discipleship training. Obadare complemented his radio/televangelism with explosive crusades where the afflicted, tormented, possessed and deprived thronged for salvation. Eyewitnesses said his crusades were characterised by conversion, healing and deliverance. Without any intent of adumbrations, Obadare ranked favourably among the world’s acclaimed evangelists like T.L. Osborn, Reinhard Bonnke, Billy Graham, Dag Heward Mills, among others.

In the 80s and 90s, the whole country reeled under the refreshingly sweeping wind of revivals anchored by this inimitable man of God. At the echoing of “Ogo ni fun Olorun loke orun,” (Glory be to God in the highest) witches, wizards, principalities and African fetish priests cum gods quaked and blanched terribly. With volcanic moves of divine powers, many spiritually afflicted, physically oppressed and mentally tormented were rescued from the jaws of fiendish forces. Through his abundantly flowing anointing, Obadare, turned the world of the pernicious forces in Nigeria upside down while releasing thousands, if not millions, from their fetters.

In the annals of evangelism in Nigeria, Obadare and Bonnke competed indomitably. It could, however, be said that after the exit of Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola, the founder of CAC, Obadare seemed to be the only CAC prophet that was as much anointed and spiritually enriched as Babalola, whose ministry led to the resuscitation  of the dead and healing of many physically wounded Nigerians.

Meanwhile, in the year 1989/1990, a controversy occurred in the Christ Apostolic Church between some young and militant pastors and the church authority over doctrinal practices (particularly on Divine inspiration and faith in God without borrowing money or incurring debt from bank) and the abuse of prophetic gifts. There were other complaints which have to do with the sudden emergence of charismatic and gifted ministers (special reference to Timothy Obadare) who were alleged to be running parallel administrations and ministries within the church. In the early 70s, Timothy Obadare, a gifted charismatic minister claimed to receive a divine instruction to organize a praying group within CAC and named it “Soul Winning Evangelical Group” (WOSEGRP). Soon, he extended the membership of the Group not only to members in CAC districts but also to non-CAC members across the country. He later transformed the group to a ministry called Soul Winning Evangelical Ministry (WOSEM), popularly known as Koseunti.

Other ministries began to spring up speedily within the CAC as from the early 80s. For instance, “The Agbara Olorun Kii Bati Ministry” sprang up and became very popular under the leadership of a woman called Odeleke. She later opted out finally from CAC in the late 80s and was consecrated as a Bishop of newly created “Agbara Olorun Kii Bati Church” in 1988. Similarly, a popular singer in the church named Bola Are founded a ministry called, “The Spiritual Covenant Gospel Singers Internationals”. The Ministry became well known in Africa and overseas. Also, S.K. Abiara founded “The CAC Agbala Itura Worldwide”. This Ministry was well known in America and in the West African sub-region. Most of these Ministries have their own Bible Schools, Nursery and Secondary Schools, Printing Presses, and separate constitution among other things. The CAC initially attempted to manage and control these crises, but the controversies got out of hand. The leaders of the Church were hasty in deciding to discipline the vocal pastors; while they too were not patient enough before taking the church authority to Court of Law to settle the scores involved. This was contradictory to the doctrine and teachings of the church. The youths did not help matters as they campaigned against the teachings of the church on divine healing and against church restrictions of students in higher institutions of learning from studying courses related to medicine, law and banking and finance. Also, some ministers who were caught in the acts of immorality and abuse of power in the church refused to be subjected to discipline from the church authority. For instance, in 1977, Prophet Durojaiye of CAC was caught with sexual abuse but rejected sanctions. He took further steps in annoyance to preach against the church authority and curse the church leaders.

Thus, the crisis which started on the level of administration within the church ended with the emergence of three groups popularly called in the local context as General Executive Council, Supreme Executive Council and Interim group. The Interim group initially classified itself as peace makers but ended up taking sides with the General Executive Council. This made the story complicated and interesting as the Interim group split into two, namely, “The Working Policy Committee” and “The Forum” These two groups till today have not been in good terms.

The Forum group became very influential in decision making during this time. The group consisted of wealthy people, learned fellows and elites. Some members of this group were alleged to have used their positions to influence court cases, bought positions and change church policies in their favour. Some Forum members they said went to the extent of bribing the gifted ministers with gifts of houses, cars and so on to prevent them from speaking the truth. One radical step taken by the Forum group was the retirement of the three principal officers of the church, namely Joseph Orogun (President of the church), Abraham Ade Olutimehin (General Superintendent) and David Babajide (General Evangelist). From July 1963, the age limit of retirement in the Church had been fixed at 70 years. However, all along, the regulation had not been enforced. But at that time, all the principal officers were octogenarians, the group advised them to resign their appointments giving six months notices with effect from the issuing date. This decision led to the struggle for leadership positions in the church. Many church leaders died in the struggle and also some church buildings were closed down temporarily because of the crisis. One thing led to the other and the church became abysmally polarized and enmeshed in corruptible practices with resultant protracted court litigations. At last, the church was administratively splited into two in 1992, but both groups maintain the name Christ Apostolic Church, with different leaders. The majority group was headed by Elijah Olusheye and the minority was headed by E. Ogunranti and assisted by the renowned Evangelist Timothy Obadare.

Owing to the age-long feud in the church which used to be the nation’s sustaining, underpinning pillar in all ramifications, CAC lost its prime of place while powerful revivals died a premature death, the fervency, holiness, result-oriented prayers and fasting, accurate prophecies, instant healings and ceaselessly running measures of anointing that were the hallmarks of the church vanished without trace.

While Obadare and his team approached the court of law in 1992, they were vindicated, owing to additional fact that they had the church registration certificate in their custody, been possessed by Pastor Nelson Udofia, the church General Secretary. That however does not put an end to the long lingering crisis as there was no victor nor vanquished up till the moment.

In a recent interview with the incumbent President of the Christ Apostolic Church, Pastor Abraham Akinosun, when he was asked about the predicament of the church, he said it was a long story. To be precise, he said, “In 1985, the Lord started warning that if we were not very careful, the church was going to break by 1990. We were warned that there would be a crisis if we didn’t take care to administer discipline. But the church leaders then had a soft spot for the director of WOSEM, Pastor (Timothy) Obadare, who was busy planting his ministry everywhere he went. By then, God was using him to make exploits but those he was planting then were not working for CAC, but for him. They paid their dues to WOSEM instead of the CAC. Even when he went for revivals, he would launch WOSEM there and all those converted would become loyal to WOSEM instead of CAC. Our elders started complaining about the activities of the WOSEM leader to the president of the church, Baba J.B Orangun, who in turn gave Obadare many warnings to desist but he ignored them. When he ignored the last warning, he was suspended and some people who had sympathy with him were suspended along with him. The general secretary of the church, Pastor Udofia, had become a WOSEM member despite his very important position, and he went with him (Obadare). So, that was how the problem started. Then they went to the court to challenge the suspension order and the court said Orangun had power to suspend them. The judgment also said that the church should do everything to recover from the suspended officials all the church property in their possessions such as vehicles, buildings, documents. But the leaders then didn’t want bloodshed or any trouble; they did not carry out that aspect of the judgment, thinking that they would come back. After sometime, those people went back to court. You know, the certificate of the church incorporation was taken away by the secretary and when our people wanted to arrest him, some of our fathers said he should be left alone because that might lead to his being jailed. “The thinking then was that as a church, nothing like that should happen in order not to send bad signals out about the house of God. The leaders even counselled that he might have a rethink and return the certificate later. That is how the problem persisted for so long.”

In his acclaimed attempt to reconcile the warring faction, Akinosun said he and his team tried all their best possible. “I have visited all their leaders. The problem they have is that their leaders who have attained the age of 75 don’t want to go, which is against our constitution. All their leaders are far above the age limit; their president, Ogunlade, is about 84, the secretary is about 82, Obadare was above 80”, he said. But at least, he noted that they also have a structure.

Meanwhile, the last judgment received on this leadership tussle which has lasted over 22 years was at the Federal High Court in Ikeja, Lagos, on Tuesday, March 1, 2011. The case was resolved in favour of Olusheye and others. The judge held that the Registered Trustees of the Christ Apostolic Church was the authentic leadership of the CAC.

The Registered Trustees of the CAC had filed the suit and named Corporate Affairs Commission, Nigeria Police Force, Pastor Nelson Udofia, Pastor J. O. Akintola, Pastor Timothy Obadare and Pastor Peter Adebayo as co-defendants to the matter.

Having reviewed the submission of the parties, Justice Stephen Adah, upheld the argument of the lawyer to the church, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) and held that the General Executive Council was the highest decision making body of the CAC, saying the GEC was constituted through the laid down rules of the constitution of the church.

According to Justice Adah, the constitution put in place by the GEC is in accordance with the laid down provision of Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990 and now the supreme law that governs all the aspects of the church.

He further declared as illegal, the purported Supreme Council of the church that had been parading itself as the authentic highest decision making body of the church, insisting that the supreme council had ceased to exist since 1995, following the registration of the constitution of the church as required by law.

Justice Adah consequently directed that all the properties of the church currently in custody of Udofia, Akintola and Obadare should be reverted to the Registered Trustees.

He added that Udofia, Akintola and Obadare had no legal rights to hold-on to the property of the church in view of the provisions of the church. But they however vowed to appeal against the judgment.

This development came up during the reign of Pastor Elijah Howard Lajuwomi Olusheye, the immediate past President of the church who to that effect organized a press conference on Sunday, March 13, 2011, at the headquarters of the church, Oba I. B. Akinyele complex, Bashorun, Ibadan. In Olusheye’s press briefing tagged, “TIME TO THINK, TALK AND WORK FOR PEACE”, all his words coincide with that of his successor, Akinosun. He said the judgment of the Federal High Court in Lagos has finally put paid to the illegal claim to leadership of Christ Apostolic Church by a splinter group which calls itself Supreme Council of CAC.

In his version to the genesis of the conflict: “In 1991, the authorities of the Christ Apostolic Church led by Pastor J. B. Orogun (the then President) dismissed Pastors T. O. Obadare, N. E. Udofia (the then General Secretary), and J. O. Adegoroye as well as a few others from the Church’s services for acts of gross misconducts.

“The fact of it was that the authorities of the Church frowned against the practice of Prophet Obadare, who used his independent ministry (The World Soul Winning Evangelistic Ministry, WOSEM) as a parasitic body against the Church.  WOSEM was independent of CAC and yet it was perpetrating the havoc of carving out members from the existing CAC assemblies wherever they conducted revival.  The members thus carved out became loyal to WOSEM at the expense of CAC’s main body.  No responsible leader would close his eyes to this misconduct.  And when the leadership had called Pastor Obadare to order without remorse on his part, move was made to discipline him.  At that time he had got a few sympathizers among the leadership and they posed serious threat to the unity of the Church.  His sympathizers were subsequently suspended along with Prophet Obadare.

“Pastor N. E. Udofia, having been dismissed and removed as a Trustee, the Church authority renewed the Church’s certificate of incorporation (No. 147) in 1991, with three Trustees, and renewed same again in 1995 with seven Trustees.  But instead of repenting and seeking reinstatement through peaceful means, the dismissed officers formed a parallel administration (of government-in-exile) over a few assemblies under their supervision, while the vast majority of CAC adherents (over 95% of both clergy and laity) remained loyal to the General Executive Council of the Christ Apostolic Church (worldwide).

“Nevertheless, we on our side have made several reconciliatory moves.  But they later abandoned the peaceful reconciliation processes initiated by us, and resorted to abuse court processes to harass our group. There were incessant police and court harassments of both the trustees and the Church’s principal officers with the phony, spurious charges of fraudulently obtaining the 1991/95 certificates (as renewal for the 1985 certificate).   The reconciliation efforts had progressed between 2003 and 2005.  The joint Peace and Reconciliation Committee met 34 times and drafted a new constitution for the Church.  A communiqué was issued and signed by both parties, but in the end they refused to implement it because there is a provision there for mandatory retirement at the age of 75 years.  They don’t want that. It was discovered that the compulsory retirement age for all serving ministers at 75 years was offensive to them as if it was new in the system.

“After all, 75 years mandatory age of retirement was adopted in 1988 by the leadership of the Church.  Since then, it has been in practice.  Let me point out that after retirement of Pastor J. B. Orogun as President, his successor, Pastor J. D. Obafemi has also retired at 75, and he is still living.  The General Superintendents who have retired are Pastor A. O. A. Olutimehin, Pastor D. O. A. Oloye and recently Pastor P. O. Bandele.  The General Evangelists who have retired are Pastor D. O. Babajide and Pastor J. Olu Alokan.  In the system, if one’s birthday overlaps into the retiring year, he has to stay till December 31 of that year.  Compare this with their own side where you have Pastor J. A. Ogunlade (their purported President) who is 86 and Pastor J. O. Akintola (their purported General Secretary) who is now 83 years old.  Same goes for Pastor G. O. Olagunju (their purported General Superintendent), just to mention a few.

“Why are they afraid of retirement?  On our side, we look forward to retirement at 75 with eagerness because we realize that rest is sweet after labour.  We believe that retirement is good both for the individuals and for the Church.  It gives the younger generation the chance to use their talents to develop the Church.  That was the only reason they unilaterally withdrew from the reconciliation exercise,” he alleged.

He however highlighted the resolution of the court as: (1) the highest ruling body of the Christ Apostolic Church is the GENERAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL, and no other. (2) The 1995 Certificate of Incorporation is the ONLY AUTHENTIC Certificate issued by the ONLY organ responsible for this:  i.e. the Corporate Affairs Commission. (3) The constitution of the Church registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja in 1995 is the ONLY document that can be used to govern and administer the Church since it was duly registered with the appropriate authority. (4) The TRUSTEES in the 1995 Certificate are the sole custodians of all the properties of the Christ Apostolic Church (worldwide).

He further stated the implication of the judgment in his term as follows “Christ Apostolic Church has one leadership under the auspices of the General Executive Council, of which I am the President.  There can be no parallel claim on that again.  As for church properties in the custody of the defendants, all of them should revert to the trustees forthwith.  And the church registration which we had commenced a few years ago is ongoing.  All they need do is come back to the fold and register their assemblies.  They have two months to do this.  After this period, whoever chooses to be recalcitrant has the only other option of quitting the Christ Apostolic Church.”

Olusheye finally made an appeal, although he tagged it a “final one” but he gave reasons for  the urgent need to be fully reconciled with all their ‘beloved brethren’ still outside their own CAC – fold, which he said came about as a result of the internal crisis which split the Church since 1991.  He stated that God Almighty has finally ordered unconditional peaceful reconciliation and total reunification of the Christ Apostolic Church.

“You will see clearly that our side had been seeking peace with them.  Our position has not changed, but we request them to change their hard line stance for Christ’s sake and for the sake of His Kingdom.  If any of them repents and comes to us, we, as children of God, are ready to forgive them.  Indeed, we are using this medium to call on all of them to come back to the fold.  This is the same Church of our fathers in faith, Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola, Pastors Odubanjo, Akinyele, Medaiyese, Odusona and other saints who lived their lives for this Church.  Were they to be alive today, they would not be happy, if we should allow this golden opportunity of reunification to slip past us.  Once again I urge our brothers and sisters on the other side to take the necessary step to return to the main fold forthwith.

“We have on several occasions waved the proverbial olive branch to them.  On this side, we have declared that the court judgment is a victory for all right-thinking members of the Christ Apostolic Church.  It opens avenue for genuine peace to reign in our beloved Church.  This momentum ought to be seized by all genuine peace lovers.  We still keep our arms open in readiness to receive whoever among them retraces his steps to return to the main stream of CAC.  As Christ said, “Whosoever comes to me, I will in no wise cast out”, we repeat that we are eagerly waiting to receive them.  But there must be no precondition for such return.

“To be finally reunited, so that we may remain “one fold under one shepherd” (John 10:16), we need to follow the example of the Good Shepherd in bringing the straying sheep to the main fold (Luke 15:3-6).  Finally, we should be reunited immediately in the true Christian brotherly spirit of “no victor, no vanquished”.  May the good Lord confirm His Word by making this invitation fruitful and the peaceful reconciliation and reunification possible this time around in Jesus name – Amen,” he submitted.

But despite the court judgment, warning and plea, the ‘words’ of the ‘good Lord’ were not confirmed as Olusheye expected. His reign never experience the success of the desired reconciliation. Olusheye who was elevated from General Superintendent to the highest position in the Church, the Presidency since 1997 witnessed several promotions, transfers, but not successful reconciliation till he retired in 2011. As he handed over the leadership of the church to his successor, the successor also inherited the church unresolved crisis.

The aggrieved never retreat nor surrender, they once again approach the Federal High Court, Ibadan, where the immediate-past president of the church, Pastor Elijah Olusheye, alongside pastors Johnson Olabisi and Gideon Okegwemeh, as well as a member of staff of the Corporate Affairs Commission, Mr Abdul-Hakeem Mohammed, were arraigned and subsequently re-arraigned before Justice A. O. Obaseki- Adejumo, on a five-count charge which include an alleged forgery of documents in 1991 and fraudulently obtaining another certificate of registration of the church, having fallen apart with others the previous year, but the accused pleaded not guilty.

The documents were alleged to have been used to deceive the Corporate Affairs Commission into issuing a new certificate on the strength of affidavits and other documents under the pretext of not being able to retrieve the original certificate from the Court of Appeal, whereas, the original certificate was in the custody of the then General Secretary, Pastor N. E. Udofia.

Counts one to three stated that the first three accused, on September 4, 1991 forged minutes of a meeting purportedly signed by Pastor J.B. Orogun (deceased) and Pastor Taiwo Odesola (at large); on September 27, 1991, forged minutes of a meeting purportedly convened by the Christ Apostolic Church.

The last of this hearing was held on Monday, March 25, 2013, which further contradicted the acclaimed peace move by all parties. It established further that no success has been recorded as far as the ‘peace moves’ is concerned, even as most parties involved are passing on.

Consequently, the legendary prophet, whom most seen as the ‘star actor’ of the CAC unresolved crisis series passed-on on Thursday, March 21, 2013. Though, a shock to many people, both the acclaimed mainstream and the tagged splinters. His death meanwhile loud the questions, “when would CAC crisis be resolved, who would ensure the slogan of the church ‘one fold, one shepherd’, how would these be achieved when the players are naturally quitting the pitch without resolution?” All these and many more questions are yet to be answered by those still living.

As the ministry, family and friends plans the prophet’s burial towards August, the eldest son of Prophet Timothy Obadare, Dr. Paul Obadare, took time recently to cleanse his father of the allegation leveled against him. He stated that his father neither caused the crisis within the Christ Apostolic Church nor frustrated efforts to resolve it.

Obadare, who is also a pastor and president of the USA chapter of WOSEM, made the clarification during an interview with the press against insinuations that his father allegedly frustrated all moves to reconcile the warring factions before his death. Obadare said he personally made a move to reconcile the factions when his father was alive.

His words, “We use this occasion to call for the unity of CAC worldwide in the tradition of our motto: one fold one shepherd.

“It is not true that my father caused the crisis within the CAC fold. In fact, his accusers were actually responsible and I made series of efforts, which were frustrated by some of the leaders.

“My father carried on his WOSEM as an evangelical arm of the CAC for many years and he submitted himself under the authority of the church, which he still did until he was called to glory.

“A lot of people were at peace with WOSEM activities and they requested for branches which were granted by my late father. Some leaders saw this as setting up of an independent church, which was not the case.

“The statement that my father caused the crisis is not correct. It is not an honest one. Before his death, baba had on many occasions sent letters to the authorities, seeking their understanding on the need to be in one accord.

“I also, on several occasions, have gone to meet the leaders when Baba Olusheye was the president. I have also gone to talk to the new president several times about solidarity and I pleaded with them to bury the hatchet and allow the CAC to move on as a united church.”

However, the controversy gets more thickened as he alleged in his statement that his father’s accusers are the one that actually frustrated the moves for the unification.

Meanwhile, he described the WOSEM mission as strictly a vessel for evangelism. “The World Soul Winning Evangelistic Ministry was founded by Apostle Dr. T. O. Obadare, based on the eagerness of God upon His creations and the instruction of Jesus which says, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

He said his father began a three-day prayer and fasting as God directed him to do, on December 29th 1969 to round off the year. The session was to end on 31st of December, the same year.

On the afternoon of the second of the three days prayer session, he, in the midst of the eight others saw the figure of somebody by his side. This person called his name thrice, and enquire if, he will be prepared, to accomplish a great task he wishes to assign to him.

“Yes, I will, if the Lord empowers me to!” He answered, assuredly.” Then the divine voice explained the difficult and complex nature of the assignment, he was however not frightened by the revelations of the complexity and enormity of the task, he was to accomplish.

“It was later clear to him that the figure and the voice were from God Almighty. The Lord said the World is suffering, because of sin; people of the World were afflicted by diseases and diverse sicknesses.

“Diseases caused by enemies and sin cannot be diagnosed by any Medical Practitioners. No injections can cure nightmares nor can any loving friend no matter how powerful, be able to save anyone from wars directed at him in the dreams,” he said.

He explained that the Lord told Obadare that any town or home that lacks light shall be overtaken by darkness and that was what happened in Nigeria before the Lord Himself raised a faithful servant, Late Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola, in 1930 when light and life were restored.

Despite allegation and counter allegations, one thing however stands, the testimony to the greatness of late Obadare.

Testifying to the greatness of Obadare, Akinosun agreed that he was indeed a great man of God. “Obadare’s miracles were real, no doubt about that. All the miracles performed by Prophet Obadare were authentic; it was God that elevated him as the evangelist of the church but I think he shouldn’t have used such for his personal ministry instead for the growth and development of the CAC”, he submitted.

Also, the media aide to Obadare, Pastor Michael Awe, described him as a great evangelist, who travelled wide within and outside the country on rigorous evangelistic activities.

Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, said that the death of Obadare was an example of the marching on of a saint.

Mimiko, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Eni Akinsola, said Obadare’s life, ministry and influence can be likened to those of saints, rare and uncommon. “In his way of life, concern for the lost soul and uplifting of the name of God, Obadare stands tall among the prophets of his generation and broke barriers that health attempted to place on his way. He was consistent and controlled, aggressive yet unobstructive and had no pretensions about his faith and God.”

Reacting to the death of the famous Bible preacher, the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, said the late Prophet Obadare’s death came to him as a shock, adding that he was a great man.

“It’s a shock. I’m surprised. He’s an elderly man quite alright but we never thought he would go so soon.

“He was a great man who contributed his quota to evangelism in Nigeria and Africa. We’re surely going to miss him.

“Obviously, God has called him and there is nothing we can do than to wish him good night,” Oritsejafor who spoke from the United Kingdom, said.

In his own comments, the General Evangelist of the Christ Apostolic Church Worldwide, Prophet Samuel Kayode Abiara described the late Obadare as “our father in the Lord and a genuine prophet of God.”

“He was our father in the Lord, a genuine prophet of God. He was a prophet of prophets, pastor of pastors. He was a pastor with uncommon grace and favour. He was an international preacher.

“What I found interesting about him is that if he ask you to read the Bible and you make a mistake, he will correct you.

“Well, he is dead, nobody can query God. We’ll miss him. We must all emulate him. He worked all day to promote God. He preached the scriptures all over the world. God used him mightily. His preaching was centered on salvation. He was a wonderful man of God,” Abiara said.

The head of Sacred Cherubim and Seraphim Church Worldwide, Dr. Solomon Adegboyega, described the late Prophet Obadare as a great evangelist who contributed a lot to the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“I pray God grant him eternal rest. He was a great man of God. He left a great legacy and will be remembered for his great work in the spread of the gospel,” he added.

Also reacting to his death, Rev. Gabriel Osu, Media Director, Catholic Church, Lagos, described Obadare as one of the pioneers of television evangelism in Nigeria.

“He did his best to propagate the gospel. I pray for his soul to rest in peace. He used the media to reach out to lots of people. May his soul rest in peace,” he said.

Popular evangelist, Akin Fasawe, described Obadare as a great prophet who the Lord used to reach out to the world, adding: “God used him to make us evangelists. He was one of the revivalists in Nigeria.

“You can imagine a man with his eyes closed correcting the ills of others. It showed that he was called to the ministry by God. His name will forever remain with us.”

Primate Elijah Ayodele of the INRI Evangelical Church, Lagos said Obadare was truly a prophet of God and a gift to the nation, saying that he was a man God ordained to take the gospel to the people as it was in the Bible.

“He was not a flamboyant pastor. What he did will live after him. He talked straight. No doubt, Christendom has lost an icon of the gospel. He was an evangelist and he was among the prophets that kept saying that the coming of the Lord was near.

“I salute him, I see him as a role model to the younger generation.

According to Pastor Leke Akinola, Upper Room Baptist Church, “Obadare came to this world and he impacted a generation. We have lost a pillar in Christendom. We pray that what he left behind, God will sustain it.”

In his own comment, Pastor Abraham Ojutalayo of the New World Evangelical Church, Ikorodu described Obadare as a prophet, an apostle and an evangelist. “He was a man who was faithful and a sincere servant of God, who brought many people to the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ,” he added.

Rev. Oladapo Daramola of the Methodist Church, Nigeria lamented that the nation had lost a spiritual giant and a man of God with legendary focus, adding that, “He was an iconic man of God, who lived an exemplary life. He confronted extremists in the north in those days through the preaching of the gospel.

“He made people believe the gospel can be preached by people with challenges. His words on radio penetrated the souls of many. He has joined the church triumphant and we are going to miss him.”

Pastor Biodun Tomilawo of the Deeper Life Bible Church described Obadere as a committed man of God. “I have known him since the 80s. He has gone home to rest,” he said.

HIS LIFE

Born on April 11, 1930, Apostle (Dr.) T .0. Obadare was a specially anointed man of God who started his evangelistic work in 1953. This selected and elected scholar of the Word of God who by grace was the Director of World Soul-Winning Evangelistic Ministry (W.O.S.E.M). This world renowned Evangelist from Nigeria was not only a prophet and teacher, but also an evangelist to the core. He was the General Evangelist of Christ Apostolic Church worldwide. WOSEM has its headquarters at Akure, Ondo State of Nigeria. The main thrust of the ministry is to reach out to the whole world through sound Bible doctrine, and the preaching of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Prophet Obadare was a divine microphone of the Lord Jesus Christ; and ambassador of the Almighty God. He like Paul, the spiritually witty apostle, said it both in the secret and public that it was imperative – indeed a must – for him to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, consequently, he did not have to sleep day or night, he did the preaching in season and out of season.

This end-time evangelist’s thrust was ministered and propagated not only inside churches or other places of worship, but also at public rallies, crusades, parks and camp meetings. The print and electronic media were also being used as means of this salvation-oriented gospel outreaches with many organisations and religious groups sponsoring TV crusades and revivals.

With a passion for soul-winning and evangelistic outreach, Apostle T.O. Obadare travelled around the world speaking in revival meetings and crusades exhibiting a real and visible burden “to reach the world, be instant in season, out of season, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and doctrine.” 11 Tim. 4:2

Prophet Obadare longings to share the love of Christ and the power of His gospel with troubled souls from varying backgrounds and cultural entities was similar to Paul’s burden as he wrote to the Romans, “I long to see you that I might have some fruits among you also even as among other Gentiles… I am debtor to preach to you that are at Rome also.” Rom. 1:12-15. As old as he was, he launched into various African countries with crusades. Apart from Nigeria, his home base, he conducted revival meetings at Ghana, Togo, Liberia, Republic of Benin, Ivory Coast, etc. This man of God was a goal-getter, whose life was a challenge to all people. His ministry had also established about twenty five (25) churches all over the United States and Canada. The churches in Britain, Italy, Germany, Austria, etc are also growing spiritually and numerically.

Apostle Obadare, a beneficiary of many Honoris Causae, had a doctorate (Doctor of Ministry) degree from St. John’s University, Missouri (1985).

Also conferred upon him was the membership of the International Affairs Leadership Parliament (MIALP) of the Golden State University of L.A., the International Theological Seminary of Desoto, Honolulu University, Hawaii. The Trinity College of Ministerial Arts, Aba, Imo State of Nigeria also conferred on him an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree in 1990.

Prophet Dr. Obadare was the second Apostle for the mission of Christ Apostolic Church, membership of millions all over the world. He was the General Evangelist for the same organization, due to his ministerial gift as an evangelist. He was also the Executive Director and Founder of the World Soul-Winning Evangelistic Ministry (W.O.S.E.M), a ministry with hundreds of worship centers throughout the world. He was also the President of Interdenominational Ministers’ Association of Nigeria (IMA). This is just to mention a few of his offices and positions in the ministry.

God moved mightily with His power of miracles, signs and wonders in Apostle Obadare’s crusades. Under prophetic annointing, thousands of people had been saved, hundreds of blind people regained their sights – a man who had been blind for six years began to see again; many barren women have received their children; a woman with 14 years issue of blood was healed; People have been healed from insanity, rheumatic pains, demonic attacks of all kinds, thyphoid fever etc. The miracles of the Bible still happened in his time. Glory be to God for the life of His servant, Apostle Obadare who went to be with the Lord on March 21, 2013. He was 83, survived by his wife, Evangelist E.A. Obadare, Six children, many grandchildren and great grandchildren; to God be the glory.

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