It is sad Christians now drag the church on the floor over politics —Adeosun

Pastor Olubamiji Adeosun, a lawyer, is the General Overseer of the Church of God Nigeria. He speaks with SEYI SOKOYA, about life after 70 and how the church is losing its essence, among other issues.

You recently celebrated your 70th birthday where you launched your autobigraphy. What prompted this and how do you see life after 70?

I give glory to the almighty God who ordered my steps and guided me to attain the age of 70. It is a landmark celebration for me, and I will forever be grateful to Him. Many things have happened in the process of time. The devil tried many times to cut my life short, but God did not allow it to happen. It is not because I am a perfect man; I have only been enjoying the grace of God. This is why I dedicated the celebration of my 70th birthday to express my gratitude to God to put the grace of God upon my life on record as a testimony and serve as a guide for the younger generation. Also, the recently launched autobiography entitled, “Awesome Grace” is a medium to thank everyone that made the event a success. I didn’t take it for granted.

How has the experience been as a church leader and lawyer?

It has been God’s grace. I have never regretted working for God to the extent of leading a church that has branches all over. Though I never knew I will be this committed to the work of God, despite the devil’s manipulation, God eventually prevailed and made His divine promise to come to pass in my life. I believe I have not done enough. I still have more to do and I pray God will help me and the church. As a leader in the vineyard, I love people to be around me; I see people around me as part of my life and by this they equally impact my life positively.

Again, my mentor, Pastor Samuel Akangbe Ejidiran of blessed and very sweet memory, brought me up to be able to cope. While he was still the pioneer General Overseer of the Church of God Nigeria he was still working with the University of Ibadan and was able to combine the responsibility of the church and his work without stress. But good enough for me, I have been working for myself as a carpenter before I became a lawyer, though I was already an adult before I went to the university. I was living fine as a carpenter, but I had to go and study law at an old age because it was a divine revelation. I became a member of the church in March 1973 and to the glory of God I became the head of the church through divine help, support and prayers of my mentor. I learned the act of discipline, hard work and dedication to the work of God from him.

You are not just a church leader; you are also a lawyer. How do you see yourself with the popular saying that lawyers are liars, even as a cleric?

Our Lord Jesus Christ is our advocate. The supreme advocate and the uniqueness of his own advocacy is that he even laid his life down for the redemption of our sins, which I as a lawyer cannot do. The most I can do is to defend to the best of my ability at the court. When the judge makes pronouncements, the best I can do next is to advise we go to the appeal court, and if the case is not in one’s favour again, we move to the Supreme Court. If the situation remains the same after defending to the best of my ability and at the end of the day, the person is guilty and jailed, I won’t serve in the punishment. But our Lord Jesus Christ died while he was still advocating for us

Secondly, the foundation of church doctrines today was laid by a lawyer called Apostle Paul and he used his law knowledge to help the early church, and this is what the church is still using today.

Take for instance, some people are clamouring that before you can become a president, you must win 25 per cent total votes cast in Abuja. It is a fallacy that Tinubu didn’t have the required score. The truth according to the constitution is that to win an election in Nigeria you must have 25 per cent of the total vote cast in the two-third of all the states of the federation including or and Abuja. What the law is saying is that in certain circumstances, you regard Abuja as a state for the purpose of counting. No court will stop the president-elect from being sworn in because he won with 30 states. The court will not do something that would bring problem to the country. Again, I told those that care to know that the Supreme Court will come to our rescue over the monetary issues that caused serious problem in the country, if not for any other thing, but on the principle of public interest to avoid commotion in the society.

For those who say lawyers are liars, I will say telling lie is not peculiar to lawyers. The thing is that by the time you begin to use the law, you begin to feel like can this be? For example, a defilement case through the law should be presented to court within two months. But the police brought the case to the court two months and one day, after listening and defending the case, a law that is used to defend an accused person ‘no case submission’ was brought up, which presented the matter as ‘statued barred’, stating that it was brought after the expiration of the period stipulated by law. The judge has no choice but to follow the law despite the man was guilty.

This is one of the reason lawyers are seen as liars. It is our law, the constitution of Nigeria that says every accused person is presumed innocent until proved beyond reasonable doubt. This reason and other technicalities are what we look for as professional lawyers. Lawyer don’t need to tell lies; they only make use of the law. The typical example of law is the story of Paul and Silas. It is when lie is in one’s character that you tell lie; anyone irrespective of any profession can tell lie if it is in their character. But what will make the difference is Jesus Christ.

As a lawyer, I have one case that people thought it can’t be won without telling lie. Importantly, as a man of God, I am also mindful of heaven. Whether it is a typical, coloured or holy lie, whatever has a lie attached to it, will lead one to hell fire. So, tellig lies is not peculiar to a lawyer.

Which denomination is Church of God Nigeria?

The church was brought to Nigeria by the European in 1923 and it was being run by the whites. As I said earlier, Pa Ejidiran was the pioneer General Overseer. It was brought to Lagos in 1923 and was brought to Ibadan in 1924. As God will have it, we have grown in leaps and bounds. The European people that brought the church here ordinarily see blacks as poor, that they should not put any burden on them. Most of them are school principals, workers in the health sector. Some of them come as far as Calabar and Benin to worship in Ibadan on Sundays. Mind you, in those days, hospitals and schools were part of evangelism. The church is Pentecostal; it started from Jerusalem after the day of Pentecost. We are known for evangelism and the word of God, which many churches have neglected.

We don’t put burden on members of our church. That is why you see some of our clerics that are not full-time pastors. Though the church has a lot to do, I don’t see the church as a business as some other churches are doing. There are some institutions established by churches that members of their church cannot afford. Some churches have commercialised so many things in the name of gospel. Our doctrine appears to be so hard for some people so that is why our members may not be ass large as others’. In fact, we have just tried to mordenise our doctrine. In those days, we didn’t accept offering from unbelievers; we would return your money and tell you that it is your souls that God needs first. Money in our church is relegated to the background and thank God for being our help. We are much concerned with what the heaven will reward us with. I am a testimony of the church. I have never lacked anything in life. Anytime I needed anything at any given time, God will raise people and they will do it smoothly.

Is it is true that money has made the church in Nigeria lose its integrity?

Yes, money has become the order of the day in churches today to the extent that the church is worse than the politicians now and that was what played out at the recently held elections. There were lots of fake and political prophesies. But you saw what happened at the end of the day. The direction the president-elect went was the ideal way because he would not make a headway if he picked a Christian from the north. We can see what eventually happened. I knew this would happen, but I was not moved to make it public because level God has taken me to is sufficient for me. At 70, any day I spend after that is a gift. I read my Bible and I realise that there is nobody God cannot use; there are a lot of unbelievers God called my servants in the Bible, so who are we to fight for God?

It is very sad that we now drag the church on the floor in front of politicians rather than they coming to church.

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