By Jacob Ajom
The leader of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Primate Elijah Babatunde Ayodele, marked his 2021 annual thanksgiving with a difference.
The Primate, in his usual manner, dished out gifts, ranging from cash to cars, tricycles and facilitated the award of scholarships and jobs to hundreds of youth.
Widows were empowered, the poor were given various forms of assistance, while some lucky religious devotees were aided with funds to go to the holy lands for pilgrimages.
Strikingly, Primate Ayodele did not discriminate between the beneficiaries as, apart from Christians who will be travelling to Jerusalem, there were Muslims who also got funds to go to Mecca.
The church leader also recognised the positive role the media has been playing in not only his life, but in the growth of his church.
In appreciation, Primate Ayodele gave out a jeep each to two journalists, Lukmon Akintola of Octopus News and Folorunsho Hamzat of the Status News, an online outfit.
Ten other journalists got N200,000 each from the church leader. He also announced the donation of a bus to NTA 10, Lagos.
Speaking at the presentation, Primate Ayodele told the journalists not to see the gifts as bribes.
“You should be free to criticise me if I do wrong. What I am doing here is a directive from God. He gave me all I have and I should share what he has given me with those who don’t have,” he said.
He assured that those who didn’t get this year should be hopeful. “Next year, it could be your turn,” he pleaded.
The height of the day’s activities was the hoisting of the United Nations flag at the church premises, as, according to Amb Nabit Kapoor, head of delegation from the International Association of World Peace Advocates, IAWPA, Primate Ayodele was being honoured by the UN for his enormous contributions to world peace, particularly in Africa.
The IAWPA chief was accompanied by Amb Blessing Palmberg, Amb Emmanuel Nkweke, among a host of other important personalities.