Final week, we ran the primary a part of the intriguing story of 106-year-old Pa John Dada Obafemi, during which he spoke about his childhood/faculty days, life as a trainer and his resolve to affix the military. On this concluding half, the centenarian speaks about his days as a World Warfare II soldier and his evangelism days. He additionally tells GBOYEGA ALAKA how a divine project to reunite the factions of the Christ Apostolic Church stays the one factor maintaining him alive.
In January 10, 1943, I went to hunt prayer at Apostle Ayo Babalola’s place. I didn’t know him and he didn’t know me. However as I knelt and he made to open his mouth, he mentioned, ‘Rise up. You’re a pretender. God has proven you your calling. This work you’re about to do is informal. You do it for some time after which go on to do the work of God. He mentioned God had nevertheless granted me go away to affix the military throughout the struggle.
Following that interplay with Apostle Ayo Babalola, Pa Dada Obafemi was nonetheless not prepared to undergo this evangelisation future. However he was glad, anyway, that the revered man of God granted him go away to go be a part of the military – albeit, quickly.
The unwilling servant
“Lastly, I went to the white man – the Provincial Schooling Officer at Center College, Ilorin, who had bought me the concept of becoming a member of the military. I believed he would rattling me, since I’d already referred to as his bluff, however he welcomed me with a smile. That was Wednesday January 13 1943. Promptly, he registered me. Opposite to his suggestion, I didn’t be a part of as a nurse as a result of as a member of the CAC, we couldn’t take or administer drugs. All my years within the military, I by no means took any remedy – besides as soon as, once we have been all compelled to take an injection. I considered a technique to escape, however there was none. The Sergeant Main who was calling the numbers received to my quantity, referred to as it out repeatedly, and after I refused to reply, he approached me and mentioned angrily: “Aren’t you so so and so quantity? Provost, write his title down for suspension.’ I used to be promptly suspended. It was a strong injection and for 4 days, none of us felt okay. It was given to us in preparation for the warfront.
I used to be posted to Idi Ope Barracks now Abalti Barracks in Lagos. I spent 5 months there and handed out as Class IV Clerk. I used to be then posted to 2428 Firm as head of accounts. On September 30, 1943, our ship left the Lagos Habour for Cape City. I returned to Nigeria on June 10, 1946 as Sergeant – College grasp of exemplary conduct.
I joined the military on January 13, 1943 and left on July 31, 1946. At present, within the 4 corners of the world, I’m among the many oldest enlisted troopers alive.”
Requested why he didn’t write a rejoinder or converse up when a sure Main Aduku -now late, who joined the military in 1945 was being celebrated because the oldest enlisted soldier in Nigeria, Pa Obafemi mentioned, “I used to be not conscious. At my age, you’ll excuse me for not studying newspapers. However there is no such thing as a dispute. The information are there. I could not have the ability to lay declare to being the oldest enlisted soldier on the planet – as a result of a search should be carried out to find out that. However in Nigeria, I, very doubtless, am. The Nigerian civil struggle broke out 20 years after I left the military. God spared my life due to the gospel work that He elected me for.
On my return from the struggle, I didn’t need to work as a result of I had cash. All by the struggle, I used to be depositing all my cash on the Lafiaji Submit Workplace in Lagos. I didn’t drink or smoke. Due to what God mentioned and my place in heaven, he gave me the power to push back girls. At Abalti Barracks, one of many meals distributors inundated me with requests for intercourse however I resisted. In all my years within the military, I didn’t for as soon as corrupt myself with any lady. That’s uncommon within the military. Even white officers engaged in fornication. In Alexandria (Egypt), they’d a giant brothel, the place they’d docs. Troopers would go there and place their caps at a sure place and any lady who picked your cap can be yours for the night time.
At some point, I went there to see their mess. I put my cap on the desk as anticipated however disappeared. L T Lambert, a white officer went to commit fornication in Alexandra and received killed by a prepare on his means again.”
All struggle images misplaced
When this reporter and photographer requested to see images taken at struggle entrance or in navy uniform, Pa Obafemi lamented that they’d all been misplaced or stolen. “All of them have been stolen. Those listed here are these I took of my colleagues. I gave the final surviving ones to someone to assist me reproduce and that’s the final I noticed of them. Gaza was my final publish earlier than I give up the military.
Change of title
What influenced his change of title to John Dada Obafemi, since he began out as John Dada Alara?
“Good query,” he retorted. “On July 17, 1949, whereas I used to be present process coaching beneath Apostle Ayo Babalola, 20 years after I had turn into his follower, Pastor R A Adedipe, supervisor of all the colleges in Ado Ekiti and overseer of the entire of Ekiti to Kaura, requested for an skilled and sensible trainer to help him. I used to be seconded to him. It was he who mentioned I couldn’t be bearing Alara, because it was kind of a generic title for all of the obas and princes of my hometown of Isare Ekiti. He mentioned it was necessary that I had a singular title. That was how my surname Alara was modified to Obafemi until this present day.
My CAC years
“I used to be ordained a pastor on September 22, 1959; 20 years, eight months and 4 days after I joined the Christ Apostolic Church.
“Evangelism in these days wasn’t such a giant cash endeavour because it has turn into at the moment. We have been happy with no matter we received, though we nonetheless knew of some church officers who collected bribes for favours to reinforce their earnings. I’ve by no means collected bribe, although I’ve been tempted with it due to my place.
WOSEM, Central CAC and the Supreme Council
In December 1977, the Supreme Council because the ruling physique of the church in these days was referred to as wrote a round that they’d given T. O Obadare who undoubtedly was a spiritually gifted prophet within the church autonomy to carry crusades independently. This was how the disaster within the church started. After I noticed the round, as supervisor of Olorunsogo and environ (Mushin, Lagos), I referred to as a gathering to intimate all stakeholders. I believed it was a incorrect resolution, for I had recognized Obadare lengthy earlier than then and seen in him traits which made me suppose this autonomy factor would backfire.
Earlier than that round got here, Baba Adegboyega, who began the Olorunsogo meeting had invited Obadare to return and maintain a revival; he got here with out informing me – although he knew me as an elder and used to name me ‘Baba Obafemi’.
I had recognized Prophet Obadare means again in 1962. Again in 1966, a son of Ile-Ife began an meeting in Ilare – not too removed from Oduduwa Faculty at a time I used to be a senior Pastor in Ile-Ife. He invited Obadare to carry a revival there. May you imagine that Obadare got here and carried out the revival with out as a lot as paying a go to to Elijah Titus Latunde, a really senior Pastor of the Church, who later turned president of all the CAC, not to mention me, a mere Senior Pastor? We sat again and watched. When he noticed that I didn’t attend, he got here and requested why and I instructed him, I instructed him level clean! “You’re a thief. You got here to a jurisdiction and couldn’t even cease by for a courtesy go to to these answerable for the realm”.
He apologised, so me and Ajibade, who was the prophet of Ife and environ went to the following ones. It was a large revival. When it was time for baptism, it was unprecedented. Greater than 240 individuals stepped ahead. The irony, nevertheless, was that we barely had 5 of them left within the church simply three months after.
So I already noticed the conceitedness in Obadare. I mentioned this type of individual doesn’t deserve autonomy. On the assembly to grant him autonomy, the likes of famend Prophet David Olulana Babajide, who took over because the Normal Evangelist of the Church after Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola, Asaju, and one Prophet Babalola popularly referred to as “Baba Osogbo” have been there.
On April 23, 1978, we had a gathering. As we completed prayer and received to Issues Arising, the chairman mentioned he was stunned that I used to be in opposition to Obadare’s autonomy. I mentioned sure and that it was primarily based on expertise. I mentioned it was higher that he continued conducting revival like each different individual was doing. I additionally instructed him we have been solely giving them recommendation and that we weren’t in opposition to them.
Three months later, Obadare and his males went to conduct a revival in Efon; his males went to open the bonnet of Asaju who was supervisor of Efon and poured acid into it. This matter was dropped at our consideration throughout a conference at Osogbo.
All their conducts bred bother for CAC. Every time they received to a spot, he would begin a church, purchase vehicles for his pastors and collect all of the wealthy males and switch them to WOSEM members. They did this for about 16 years till Baba Latunde died and Baba Orogun turned president.
So we mentioned, sufficient was sufficient; allow us to settle our variations. Because you WOSEM persons are now not with us, you possibly can go in your means whereas we supply on as CAC. We broke into two. A letter was written to that impact. The day we held the assembly, which turned out to be the ultimate try at settlement, Obadare didn’t attend. We mentioned at any time when we had one thing to do, we’d invite them and so they have been additionally free to ask us.
I’ve not divided my church, says the Lord
“There isn’t any doubt that Christ Apostolic Church is the foremost Pentecostal Church in Nigeria. With the exploits of many prophets who God had raised within the church, it is rather unhappy that we’re nonetheless going through a division of such magnitude. Not lengthy after our variations began, God, the proprietor of the Church, conveyed a message to us saying that he had not divided His church. He mentioned if we didn’t come collectively, He wouldn’t bless something we ventured into subsequently.
Happening reminiscence lane on the division within the church would require one other interview. Nonetheless, let me seize this chance to make clear one or two points.
Using on the again of that Obadare disaster, some younger Pastors led by Pastor Elijah Howard Lajuwomi Olusheye seized the chance of the distinction in opinion amongst the church leaders, significantly members of the Board of Trustees to agitate for a reformation within the church, significantly to enhance the welfare of the pastors and permit youthful pastors aspire to greater workplaces since solely dying eliminated leaders at the moment. In 1990, this aspiration resulted in a serious disaster. Some members of the BOT pitched camp with these younger pastors whereas Pastor Nelson Udofia, who was the church secretary and a Board member, refused to affix them. Fortunately he was the custodian of the church certificates. Thus even when the younger pastors needed to take over the church, they knew they wanted a certificates. In 1991, they approached the Company Affairs Fee with an affidavit on a false declare of the whereabouts of the certificates. Apparently the fee issued them a certificates with the identical title and registration quantity. When Pastor Udofia received to learn about this, he went to the fee to protest. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the certificates was inappropriately issued and subsequently revoked. Once more in 1995, one other certificates was issued thus taking the church again to 2 distinct factions, one referred to as the Supreme Council and the opposite Normal Govt Council with certificates bearing the identical title and identical certificates quantity however completely different dates. I turned the President of the church beneath the Normal Govt Council in 1993 to 1997 and was additionally registered as a Trustee on the 1995 certificates together with Pastor Olusheye. After I turned the president, I began getting a greater image of what was really occurring and ultimately began elevating my voice.
I’ve a weak level. Every time I hear “Oluwa so wipe”, that’s “the Lord says”, I wholeheartedly believed. This made me take choices that didn’t go down effectively with some individuals however at any time when such individual(s) confronted me with plausible information, I at all times apologised as a result of I don’t maintain malice.
My perception in unifying the church has continued to pitch me in opposition to the management of the church. Due to our sharp variations, Pastor Olusheye, instantly he turned President, decreased my paltry retirement profit from N8,000.00 monthly to N4,000.00 till when he received drained and ultimately restored it. In 2011 when he was about to retire, he determined to singlehandedly impose leaders on the church. Naturally I opposed him and took the matter to court docket. A part of the problems I raised was his try to introduce an Ecclesiastics Committee into the church which I seen as altering the church structure with out following due course of. In the long run I gained and two officers within the church, the present President Abraham Olukunle Akinoshun and one Pastor Caxtonjoe Fasuyi have been victims.
I took the daring step to satisfy the leaders of the Supreme Council to allow us to finish this disaster. Even supposing a few of them felt I ought to have approached them earlier, particularly after I was president, they welcomed my transfer. Apparently, Pastor Olusheye joined forces with me and he admitted that he took incorrect steps through the years. The truth is earlier than he died he did an affidavit to confess it. Collection of conferences have been held and at a degree Olusheye and me, being the one two remaining trustees needed to disengage our lawyer once we weren’t too snug along with his steps on our matter.
In September 2015, after due session, the representatives of the Supreme Council and we the Trustees went to court docket with a Phrases of Settlement which was merely to permit us come collectively as brothers, pending when a brand new structure can be written, new trustees and new officers appointed. Not solely did the management of Akinoshun organize for our transfer to be against the purpose of disturbing the court docket that day, our lawyer was reported to the attorneys physique? The attorneys bar gave a ruling that we have been those in court docket with the only real proper to nominate our lawyer. Would you imagine that Akinoshun and his administration workforce summoned Olusheye and I to their disciplinary committee on this matter? In the long run they stopped paying our reliable retirement advantages as retired Presidents as a result of we went to court docket as trustees? Are you able to think about that at my age? Everyone knows the reality on this matter however for private causes, some individuals don’t need the disaster to be over. For over eight years after my spouse’s demise, I cried to God to name me residence, however He mentioned until the church is united He wouldn’t.
I thank God for the grace of excellent well being and for making me His messenger. My philosophy in life has at all times been centered on the reality. With out accepting the reality, no reconciliation can succeed within the church. Someday final 12 months, I referred to as each side collectively for a decision of the disaster, however Pastor Akinoshun had at all times insisted on the Supreme Council members coming to the Normal Govt Council to beg and be absorbed as assistant this, assistant that. I’ll proceed to keep up my place that it isn’t the courts that can settle our variations for us and we are able to solely decide on the reality, nothing extra.”
As this interview drew to a detailed, Pa Obafemi gestured that he had another want. He mentioned, “Apart uniting the church, there are two personalities I want to meet – Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Pastor Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God. Please assist me convey my message to them.”
This interview passed off just a few weeks earlier than the coronavirus incursion into the nation and the lockdown, therefore this reporter missed the prospect to ask his opinion in regards to the rampaging virus.
Pa John Dada Obafemi’s 107th birthday comes up on Might 20; wouldn’t it’s good to want this uncommon gem a Joyful Birthday prematurely and extra affluent years in good well being?