From pulpit to palace: RCCG pastor’s move raises controversy
The resignation of Prince Afolabi Ghandi Olaoye as a pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) following his decision to be involved in the traditional rulership of his hometown, Ogbomosho, Oyo State and his reported promise to embrace all religions has continued to raise eyebrows especially among those who try to decipher the rationale for his leaving the pulpit to occupy an ancestral stool.
Prince Olaoye based in the United States, is one of the 20 candidates who have indicated interest in the throne made vacant after the demise of the Soun of Ogbomosho, late Oba Jimoh Oladunni Oyewunmi, reported to have had the longest reign. Reports have that Prince Olaoye never wanted to be king, unlike his father who tried to become the Soun of Ogbomoso in 1940 but was rejected by the Kingmakers and the people of the Oyo town.
Prior to his decision to join the race, Prince Olaoye said he was not interested despite the calls he received, but his spiritual father, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer of RCCG encouraged him to pray about it. Meanwhile, his decision was not without resistance as the Chairman Screening Committee for Laoye ruling house in Ogbomosho declined Olaoye being selected to fill the vacant stool.
While High Chief Sobaloju Otolorin, Head of the Kingmakers in Ogbomosho, was reported to have cleared the air, affirming that Olaoye is the next king of the ancient town.
He revealed that he was competent and has the financial capacity to ascend the throne.
Pastor Funso Odesola, Assistant General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Administration and Personnel, also Continental Overseer Africa three and Middle-East in a media chat said when enthroned, Olaoye was not the first in the church to occupy the position.
“One thing I want you to understand is that the church is not to dominate the destiny of people but to guide them to fulfill their destiny.
The church cannot live your life for you. If anyone says God has led him, the church just needs to guide him properly to do it in a different way from all other people who are not born again. “In RCCG for example, Olosu of Osu land is an Area Pastor, go and ask. I can mention about five.
There was one blessed memory who was a Senior Pastor till he passed to glory. There are people like that. You just need to guide them. Once Gandhi said God has led, all we need to do is to guide him properly. He has prayed, God has led him, why not if that is his destiny?
“He said in his video that God said it is in his destiny. For anyone to say no, that person has become a manipulator. In any organization if someone decides to resign even at the peak of when his or her service is needed, you can’t hold such a person because he or she has vision,” Odesola stated
On whether a pastor can accept chieftaincy title, he asserted that chieftaincy title is different from traditional rulership.
The former, he said, is like an honour and that the individual SERMON Basic rules of apology (2) p.29 SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, SUNDAY APRIL 10, 2022 can receive but just check around any of the gospel church you cannot see anyone who said he is a pastor who will go and take the Chieftaincy title.”
He further stated: “But for a traditional rulership, I would like you to know whether any town or country responds to the atmosphere. When you look at any town, check who is the head. In this church I know many of the Ijesha land obas who are zonal pastors, Church Growth Officers (CGOs) in this church today and they are doing very well if you check their domains. They could call prayer meetings, even crusades and say no to some things. The position of a pastor is enough and not for such a person to accept the Chieftaincy title. ”
Traditionalists state stance
Chief Solagbade Popoola, President International Council for Ifa Religion, while chatting with Sunday Telegraph said that anyone who wants to sit on any traditional stool must be ready to abide by the conditions including rites. Popoola said: “When you say that you are a custodian of culture and tradition you should know religion is an integral part of the culture, the moment you know you cannot abide by this don’t go there.
As far as I am concerned, if you know that you are not going to follow the tenet of that stool, don’t go there. “It’s like me wanting to be the president of Nigeria and wanting to fulfill my obligations, how do I do that? I do not want to know the church which the person belongs to but all I know is that what is required of the person according to tradition he must do.
Failure to do what is required has spiritual implications. Why do you think Ogun devotees are not called upon to swear in the Queen of England? It is because it is not part of their culture.
“For us we need to do it the way our forefathers did it, it is a win-win situation as it has never failed us. They have to follow the traditional principles and if they know they can’t, they shouldn’t be there. It is not by force. They want the stool but do not want to go through the process, that is why you find out that most obas in Yorubaland are political appointees.
They are people planted there by politicians, as such they won’t get the needed results. It is like a borrowed gown which doesn’t fit…
“We have our own way of administering society. Their religion is not part of the way. We use the ancestors ‘oro’ divinity to bring calmness to the society. It is clear that our elders of old lived more peacefully than what we have today. Remember that it is this same divinity they used in bringing peace and tranquility.
“Why should we impose the religion we know has never guaranteed peace? If you look at the world, you will see that the biggest problem is in Israel and Saudi Arabia. Eighty-five per cent of the world’s problems will be solved if you remove the two religions of Islam and Christianity. That’s the truth of the matter. Look at what Boko Haram and ISWAP are doing.”
On the allegation of human blood being involved and the consumption of human heart in some coronation processes, he yelled “give me an example?
Have you ever been there? “People say what they think and not what they know. I have been involved in so many traditional rites of installing a king but I have never witnessed the involvement of human lives. It is very easy to jump to conclusions.”
He added: “But there is a need to make investigations in order to know the truth. The way you can never make a mistake is by knowing the truth and speaking it. I can assure you there is such a thing.
The assumption that humans are buried when an Oba dies is not true, it was the practice in Ile Ife about several centuries ago and there was a reason. The reason is no longer valid. It also happened in Oyo; it was to stop children from overthrowing their fathers. It stopped about 300 to 500 years ago.
That is no longer tenable now. Again, investigate to know why people do what they do then you will understand what is going on.” Olakunle Oligbinde, Awise Ijo Orunmila, Ato Ebute Meta, Lagos also speaking with Sunday Telegraph, said the development is a way of ridiculing traditional institutions. He cited how Oluwo of Iwo chided traditional leaders who worship orisa.
“They just want to ridicule traditional institutions. Imagine the case of Oluwo of Iwo insulting kings who worship orisa.
That is the apex of ignorance regarding the meaning of traditional institutions. I do not know what he means by orisa. How will a pastor say he is resigning? The book he has been carrying classifies Esu as devilish but in our tradition we give obeisance to Esu. “On every December 21 we elevated Esu.
Anyway, his position on the throne has not been finalized according to what we have been reading in the paper, so it is still contentious as some family members said he has not been playing part in the traditional events they have been holding. It has also been said that a prince was sidelined. “Like the late Olowu of Owu and the present Osile. I do not give the present Osile of Okeona, Oba Tejuosho any respect because he is Born Again Christian and does not want to hear anything about orisha.
Any oba that will place foreign religion above traditional belief I do not give them any respect. Like the Osile who marked his birthday and on his way demolished the shrine of Obatala, saying the sermon he heard in church prompted him and he asked his followers to do the same in their houses.”
Oligbinde also noted:” I issued a press statement on it. It is rather annoying because we are tolerant. In any case, whatever they are doing does not bother me or stops me from following my own religion.
The international council of Ifa religion will be having a meeting to deliberate on the coming orisha festival and pilgrimage to Ekiti. “I deliberately refused to take part in obaship because I cannot stand deceit. I cannot be in a meeting and the governor or president begins to claim to have done what he did not do. I cannot tolerate that, I will speak and say no.
For instance the Sheikh that reportedly spoke against Buhari and was suspended though he has been said to have gotten another appointment.”
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