The Primate of the Church of the Lord Worldwide,. His Holiness Reverend (Dr) Rufus Okikiola Olubiyi Ositelu has said that Nigeria is a very endowed country that has been destined by God for greatness, but the nation has not being lucky with good leaders.
He said Nigeria needs a leader that is very intelligent, God fearing, well exposed and a leader who has proven and good track records.
In an exclusive interview at the International headquarters of the Church in Ogere, Remo Ogun State, with Asabe-Afrika TV, Punch Newspapers, TCL Gbirinmi media team and SK’s News Blog, as part of programmes to commemorate his 70th birthday, the Primate took his time to delve on topical issues as it concerns the Nation, The Church of the Lord, African Instituted Churches, Religious issues and other Personal issues.
The full text of the Interview as coordinated by Gbenga Dan Asabe of Asabe-Africa TV:
How do you feel at the age of 70 particularly having being in the service of God for about 24years?
By the grace of God, I feel fulfilled, even though I still have great visions for the Church.
How does 70 feel like in your body and spirit?
Physically, one cannot naturally do those things one could do at the age of 50, but I must say I am blessed and I still feel like a 50 year old person inside of me.
Spiritually, I am much more richer and to the glory of God, the experience has been great.
How has it been leading a church with over 4million worshippers in more than 15 countries and 4 continents?
Statistically, the Church of the Lord has more than 8.6million worshippers worldwide. In Nigeria alone we have about 3.6million worshippers, not to talk of West Africa and the rest of the world.
Our Church is the biggest in Liberia and the 2nd biggest in Sierra Leone, we are also big in Ghana. We are also in the UK, USA and Germany.
To the glory of God, Technology has been a catalyst for the growth of the church worldwide.
How was it growing up, particurlarly with your father as the first Primate of the Church, did you ever imagine that one day you would be the Primate of this Church?
To be candid, I was very close to my father, as evident in a lot of archival pictures. In most of the pictures, I was always standing close to my father, but it never crossed my mind that I would one day be a minister of God, not to talk of being the Primate.
At some point in my life I got thinking that maybe my closeness with my father was a grand design by God for my life.
Though, in 1998, I was already a minister, as I pioneered the Church in Germany.
Unknowingly to a lot of people, I was elevated to the post of a Venerable in December 1996.
It has been very good all the way, God has been faithful, as He has been fulfilling all His promises in my life and in my ministry.
While in Germany, I always noticed that I had this spirit that was always willing to be in church, oftentimes, I would trek miles to attend church and by God’s design, all ministers that led the churches I attended will always appoint me as a laity and their assistant.
My level of integrity was so high that even while in school, I was elected as a social prefect while in class 4, I was coordinating activities and taking care of student’s money without blemish.
Also, in Germany, while in the Global Forum of Theological Educators, I was appointed as a lecturer on “Leadership with Integrity”
I must confess, there is lack of integrity among our church leaders today, but all to the glory of God, He has tutored me for all the leadership positions I have been opportuned to hold.
The Church of the Lord appears to be one of the oldest African instituted churches could you please shed more light on this genealogy?
I will take this from two angles, first as a church leader and secondly as a researcher and intellectual.
As a church leader, it is really not important to me who comes first or last, but as a researcher and intellectual, a lot of issues orchestrated by lack of knowledge must be put right.
In 1918, we had the Faith Tabernacle and the first Aladura Church in Nigeria was started by Baba Shadare in 1918 in Ijebu-Ode.
In 1931, the leadership of the Apostolic Church of Scotland came to establish the Apostolic Church of Nigeria. The first superintendent was a Briton who stayed in Nigeria, what brought schism and eventual division amongst the church began when the Briton became sick at some point and was using what Baba Ayo Babalola and some others called “school medicine”, they said for healing of sickness in their church, it should only be prayer and consecrated water.
They eventually stood apart calling themselves “The Apostolic Church of Nigeria” with Baba Adegboyega as the first African superintendent.
The name Apostolic Church of Nigeria could not stand because of some members that were Ghanaians hence for “acceptability”sake the name was changed in 1941 to “Christ Apostolic Church.”
It should also be on record that there were two “great revivals” in 1930, the greater one was held in Ijebu-Ode and it involved Baba Joseph Shadare of the Precious Stone Society, Baba Akinyele of the Faith Tabernacle of Ibadan and Baba Josiah Ositelu of The Church of the Lord.
There was another ‘great revival led by Joseph Ayo Babalola in Ilesha in 1930, that was where the coinage “Olorun 1930” started from in the Christ Apostolic Church.
Baba Josiah Olunowo Ositelu started The Church of the Lord on the 17th May, 1925.
Baba Moses Tunuolase Orimolade started his ministry with Mama Christiana Abiodun on the 11th of September, 1925. It was Mama Abiodun that the names “Cherubim and Seraphim” were given to in a trance. The name “Cherubim” was first given to her and two years later “and Seraphim” was received, hence the name “Cherubim and Seraphim”
Samuel Bilewu Oshoffa was the founder of the Celestial Church of Christ. He founded the church in 1947.
What is the secret of The Church of the Lord as regards leadership succession?
The simple secret is that everything we do in the Church of the Lord is Spirit directed.
Though, the constitution of the church says, the incumbent Primate can choose who succeeds him, but where he does not before death, Spiritual leaders in the Church would after 7 days of prayer and fasting reveal who becomes the Primate by the dictates of the Holy Spirit.
The constitution further says the person must get over 80% of the votes to emerge as Primate.
In my case, I had well over 80% of the votes, as out of 16 spiritual leaders, 14 had my name revealed to them, while 2 had no revelations at all.
I wish to state here that out of the 16 spiritual leaders, barely 4 of them knew me. These are all well documented.
How did you feel when the news that you have been elected as the 4th Primate got to you, considering the fact that you had a very lucrative job in Germany?
All glory to God, despite all the antics of the devil, because at that time I just got a new job with a very fat pay. I was called to come home, when I got home, I was summoned to the mount.
I wish to again place it on record that, I did not have any pre-knowledge that I had been elected as the 4th Primate of the church.
I got to know like everybody on Tabieorar day in 1998 when it publicly was announced.
I felt overwhelmed.
What has been the most challenging moments in your 24years reign as the Primate of the Church?
I must confess that, unknown to me, God was already preparing me for this big job.
With my integrity, prudence and intelligence, coupled with the fact that I successfully led a parliament in Germany of people from well over 20 different countries with diverse backgrounds, it has been God all through my 24 years as the Primate of the Church.
What do you think about the perception of people about white garment churches?
I will only simply say that knowledge is power, most people believe what they see, hear and read about and this usually forms the basis of their perception. people should desire more knowledge.
What does the Church need to do as regards the excesses of some Church Leaders in the name of Religion?
By the grace of God, there are still some ministers of God directing their congregation to the path of truth. However, poverty and ignorance have contributed a great deal to some of the atrocities.
The only hope of the people is God and the Church.
I am really disappointed at some happenings in churches today, I believe the solution lies in educating people and praying for them.
People should know that they can personally go to God in prayers and not necessarily through the so called “men of God” and except the people are ready to do this, there is very little that can be done.
What kind of Leader will you wish for Nigeria?
By the grace of God, I dont walk by sight but by the spirit, albeit, I would want a leader that is very intelligent, that is well exposed, that has good and proven track records.
Just having one of these leadership criteria is not enough to sort out the present issues of this country.
I again want to place it on record that my children attended our church primary school before they travelled abroad, if not, as a leader, I would have been sending a wrong signal that I don’t trust or have faith in the system of the primary school I established and that is exactly what our Nigerian leaders are doing today.
If Nigerian leaders can use our hospitals, have their children attend our schools, make use of the roads, rather than fly planes and helicopters, there would be huge improvements in all these amenities.
Nigeria needs a leader that knows that leadership is by example.
Sincerely, we cannot afford at this time to have a leader who is a “beginner” and would have to learn on the trade for another 8 years.
Nigeria needs a leader who has regard for the rule of law and ultimately Nigeria needs a leader that has the fear of God.
I have laid out some expected criteria, I believe it is left to Nigerians to look out for these qualities and identify who can fit in as the prefered person.
People should be educated on the need not to mortgage their lives for “peanuts”.
Nigeria seems to be in a mess at the moment but because God has destined Nigeria for greatness, it would take God to deliver this nation, as nothing is beyond Him.
What is the position of the Bible as regards the recent happenings where some ministers of God have been ordaining their sons as future leaders of their church?
Biblically, Prophet Eli did not ordain any of his sons as the next leader, he handed the mantle over to Samuel.
From the stance point of our church, Baba Ositelu did not hand over to his son, he anointed Baba Adejobi as his successor.
Our constitution clearly states the proceedure to follow. it has never being Father to Son in our Church.
Except God wants it my son can never be Primate.
The Holy Spirit has always being our guide, it is noteworthy to state that Primate Segun Ositelu was not physically Baba Adejobi’s choice as successor, but Baba Adejobi had a spiritual encounter with God right on the mount and he was spiritually directed to anoint Primate Segun Ositelu.
In the same vein, Baba Adejobi was proclaimed by my father in 1945 until he became Primate in 1966.
In our church, we are being led by the spirit of God and we will continue to be led by the Spirit of God.
What is your position on Tithing as a criteria to go to Heaven?
It is wrong to say that anyone that does not pay tithe will not go to Heaven.
The main condition to go to Heaven is stated in the Bible and that is “Believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and personal Saviour.”
Tithe payment is Biblically right, but it is not a condition to go to Heaven.
What is your position on the sacking of some pastors for lack of productivity as observed in some churches recently?
Truly, there is the need to discipline any erring persons, Pastors inclusive.
The question we should be asking is, what is the essence of discipline?
Discipline should be for correction and re-absorption.
Once again, our church has spiritual standards and we would not because of money compromise these standards.
How can any interested person contribute towards the celebration of your 70th Birthday?
I wish to state here that a lot of our members are already celebrating worldwide. I wish to give a testimony here, and that is, by the grace of God I am the first Primate of the Church to attain the age of 70, no Primate got to that age, for this feat, people all around the world are already celebrating.
Secondly, people are very happy for the developments and improvements they have heard about and seen in the Church thus far, all these are to the glory of God and there are still more to come by His grace.
At 70, what are you expecting from yourself and from God?
At the moment I feel fulfilled and I believe strongly in establishing a legacy for the church.
In the same vein, I thank God for the courage he has endowed me with, I pray that God continues to give me the grace to speak Truth to power without fear or favour.
I strongly believe this country needs a positive turn around, God will surely play His part, but we also all have our parts to play.
Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey will be 80 years in April, what would be your words to him?
Chief Obey is my friend and elder brother, I love his music, as most of his songs are evergreen and educative.
He is a man with very high integrity, an extremely humble man and a God fearing man.
I cherish him alot and wish him a very happy birthday and many more years ahead in good health.
What is your favorite food?
I really love Pasta then followed by Pounded yam, I also love Ikokore with cold Eba, though i must confess I am really not fussy about food, I will most oftentimes eat whatever is placed on my table.
I loved cooking when I was a student.
How do you love dressing outside wearing the spiritual garment?
I enjoy dressing normally in my Jeans, Shirts and Tee-Shirts and in Suits when I go for conferences.
How do you unwind?
I love reading, writing and doing research and I also love playing Table Tennis.
The Primate of the Church of the Lord worldwide His Holiness Reverend (Dr) Rufus Okikiola Ositelu would be 70 years on the 24th of February, 2022 and several activities have been lined up to mark the Platinum Jubilee celebration.
The activities include press conferences, a colloqium, a birthday banquet, musical concerts, sports activities, medical activities, visits to orpanages and old peoples homes amongst others.
The activities would be rounded up on Sunday 27th February, 2022 with a special thanksgiving service in the Church of the Lord International and Spiritual Cathedral at the headquarters in Ogere Remo, Ogun State.