By Dayo Johnson, Akure
Primate Ade Ademisokun-Turton, aka ‘Onibode’, is the President of the Ondo State Unification of Leaders of Cherubim and Seraphim Church and founder of Success Gate C&S Christ’s Church International with headquarters in Akure. In this interview, Ademisokun-Turton speaks on the church founder’s day anniversary, fetish activities in white garment churches, corruption in the country and leadership challenge among other national issues.
How far have you been able to unify the Cherubim and Seraphim Church across the country?
Part of our numerous achievements is the unification of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church across the country.
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Others include the neatness of the church, speaking with one voice by the genuinely anointed, and the building of an edifice at Ilekun, Akure. In those days, everybody was a kingdom or authority to himself. Now, we have a guiding principle. There is now check and balances in the church. We are fully registered as a unified church. I am not talking about the registration of conference. In the past, one or two churches can form a conference and that one could be registered. But now we have genuine registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission that takes care of all Cherubim and Seraphim all over the world. And we have proper training. Some people behave the way they were brought up. Fetish people train fetish people and those ones also re-train other persons. At a stage, they said nothing is wrong about being fetish. But now, we’ve been able to show them the difference. We show them how living in the past can’t be for Christ. All those things that have gone in Old Testament can’t be for Christ. Some of those who had been benefiting from the things of the past asked questions about what are they going to be eating. And the answer to that question really helped us. We made them to realise that if you are genuinely called, God will feed you. And if you are finding it difficult, take it to God. That is why the issue of calling is superior to going into Bible seminary or theology schools.
A lot of people are in training as we are talking. Success Gate is celebrating 35th anniversary now and not unification. But we have those who are from other churches receiving training in our church now. When we train them, we allow them to go back into their respective churches. And this is impacting positively.
It’s been said that most of the politicians who engage in corrupt practices in this country are Christians. What is the Church doing to correct this?
I don’t know where you get your statistics from. But I don’t think that is correct because corrupt practices are now everywhere and if not for the Church, Nigeria would have ceased to exist. Many people would have committed suicide if not for the Church. The Church keeps giving people hope. These people you are referring to are not responsible Christians. Anybody can be a Christian by birth. To go to Church does not mean you are a follower of Christ. So, don’t let us mix it up. Because government has failed in its responsibility, people now turn to God. The language of the Bible is very clear. The Bible says “seek ye the kingdom of God first and all other things will be added”. God himself does not love poverty because poverty is a punishment, if the Bible is to be interpreted correctly. But people now want riches before they serve God. Those people you’re referring to are coming to Church to come and play politics by encouraging the pastor to help them talk to the congregation to vote for them. Secondly, the Bible is clear about this; that at a time people would not want to hear the real gospel but will now gather to listen only to what they want to hear. That is what we are seeing now. So, when they come around to do thanksgiving from the proceeds of fraud, you will see genuine men of God putting them on their toes. That is why you don’t find many of these people with good preachers and good preachers don’t harbour or accommodate them. They know where to go. They are worldly people with their worldly pastors. We can’t allow that in our church here. If your tithe is surprisingly huge here, we will question you. We want to know the source because we try to do what we preach here. The fact that it is happening in some churches does not suggest that it is allowed in all churches.
How can this attitude be checked?
It is very simple. Let the Bible Society be to Christians what COREN is to an engineer, NBA to a lawyer, NUJ to a journalist or NMA is to a doctor. Since we are using one Bible, there should be a regulatory body; not government controlled. Since you said your church is a Christ church and mine is a Christ church and both of us are reading the Bible, we should come together and agree on the doctrine the Bible preaches. For those who are going out of the doctrine of Christ, let there be sanction. We should know what is Jesus’ teaching on money and dressing. See how women dress to church now. Even pastors’ wives now cover their laps with handkerchief when they sit in church. Some of them have turned the church to disco hall. Because we are in secular state, where we have freedom of worship does not mean that we are not entitled to regulation; not government regulation that will now be skewed. Let all the registered churches come together. When we sit down, I want to see that Bishop who will support that step. Within five years, all this nonsense will stop. What is currently going on is that we are giving the enemy of gospel the opportunity to castigate the church. Over the years, it is clear that troublesome pastors are always popular. On the side of the government, it is simple. Just lead by example. When you are not corrupt, your followers will not be corrupt.
Presently in Nigeria, there is no reward for hard work. If there is, there will be contentment. Corruption is going on here and there in the country. If we want to correct this, let us correct the system with devolution of powers. If we concentrate power in the hands of an individual, there will always be problem.
What is your take on the bills to regulate the social media and hate speech?
A hungry man is an angry man. How can you say people should not talk when there is injustice in the land? In Nigeria, you see governors owing workers over one year salaries and you expect them not to talk? You are feeding your own dog and human beings cannot feed! This is a means to silence the people when government has failed and does not know what to do next. In the Bible, that is what we call ‘Operation Jeroboam. Jeroboam, instead of giving people a good government made a decree. People said “give us good government and we will serve you”. Then he said they made hate speech and that he would deal with them ruthlessly. But he failed. They might have forgotten. Let them sign it into law, it may be an answer to Nigerians’ prayers because it may be the same politicians who will first go to jail. They are looking for their own trouble because the commoner cannot do anything and God will want to use politician to answer their prayers. It is a way of destroying themselves. I don’t know how it occurred to anybody that there is something like hate speech in this country where you will see that somebody is a multi-billionaire and he has not worked anywhere other than being a representative of the people. In Nigeria, being a governor for eight years, you will be richer than your state. So, if I complain, you will say it is hate speech? This is unacceptable. Even the one I am saying now, they will said it is hate speech because it is they that can determine what is hate speech. The government is even making going outside Nigeria more difficult for people now, to the extent of Ghanaians maltreating Nigerians because they went to their country; and you want Nigerians to keep quiet.
Many people think that the challenge facing the country is leadership while others believe it is the followership.
It is not followership problem. When the system works, you will see patriotism at work. The same people we are trying to condemn here are the people behind the success of other nations’ economies. And they are doing well. Why are they succeeding elsewhere? It is not the problem of followership. Here in Nigeria, the system doesn’t work. Individuals are more empowered than the system. Here in Nigeria, the DPO is richer than the station. The police will go out to borrow money to fuel their vehicle, but the DPO is building his 12th house with his ‘poor salary’. When you say Water Corporation, they too are buying water. If we allow the system to start to work, everything will change.
What can you say is the achievement of the Buhari administration going to five years in the saddle?
l do not know of another achievement of President Muhammadu Buhari than the improvement in the President’s health. The physical development we see in five years is that the President’s health has improved. The roads are still bad. There is no electricity anywhere. Everywhere, there are complaints. Even the institutions are collapsing and killings have not stopped. Nothing is working. The nation seems to be on its knees and is bleeding. Of recent they told us to pray against Boko-Haram and we have done that. We expected them to reach out to us to ask how far we have gone, whether there is message. We are still expecting them.