By Sufuyan Ojeifo
Acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo is a born-again Christian of the Pentecostal hue. He is a committed member of The Redeemed Christian Church of God (TRCCG) where he is an ordained pastor. His pastoral duties have not been undermined by his political engagements and official duties. He is, no doubt, a God lover who dedicates quality time to serving Him.
Since relocating to Abuja on national assignment as vice president before assuming the onerous task of holding fort for President Muhammadu Buhari who is on a protracted medical vacation in the United Kingdom, Osinbajo had, on a number of times, come to the Central Parish of TRCCG in the highbrow Wuse 2 district of Abuja, where yours sincerely worships, to fellowship with brethren.
I had seen him attend Tuesday Digging Deep-Bible study- a number of times, in addition to prayer meetings. He had also, in the same token, attended Sunday morning service. His convoy of a few cars would quietly snake its way into the church premises and he would, equally quietly, walk into the church auditorium where he would be guided to one of the front seats in the ministers’ corner.
The first time he attended Sunday morning service coincided with the visit, to the Central Parish Abuja for a women’s programme, by Pastor (Mrs) Folu Adeboye, mother-in-Israel and wife of the General Overseer of TRRC, Worldwide, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye. Osinbajo and his wife, Dolapo, were given opportunities to address the church.
The Central Parish of TRCCG in Abuja has virtually appropriated Osinbajo. He is, to put it mildly, a member and pastor of the parish; and, this much was confirmed on Sunday, February 26, 2017, when beyond just honouring the celebrant with his presence, the mantle fell on him to preach the sermon to commemorate the 60th birthday of the Pastor in charge of FCT Region 10 and Special Assistant to the General Overseer, Worldwide, Pastor Emmanuel Adebayo Ibitayo.
Because the Central parish is a big church, those that came in late that morning did not even know that Osinbajo was in the house until Ibitayo mounted the pulpit, cut short the session of worship that was going on to announce and do a rundown on him before inviting him to deliver the message. The applause by ecstatic church members was thunderous. Osinbajo walked briskly and majestically to the pulpit, wearing an infectious smile.
Armed with the microphone, he started with a “departure” as he immediately resumed the worship with two songs- the first was a Yoruba song and the second was an Ibo song: “ope lo ye o, Baba Olore; iyin, ogo ye o, Olorun Oba; hosanna ye o, o se o Baba” and “Aka Jehova, aka Jehova ne eme mma, ulo ebube ya, ka na eru ari ene ebinu, isi iyi nke ndu, ken a adii ata ata, a ka bu aka aka Jehova ne eme mma.”
As he sang and the parishioners joined in the worship, the atmosphere became electrifying. The anointing was manifestly and tangibly heavy. And, the phenomenal experience was understandably so because of the heavenly authority and cover that he has stepped under as the acting president who, by divine extension, represents a spiritual covering for the nation, albeit in acting capacity.
Regardless of the acting nature of his presidency, there was liberty of the Spirit and an open heaven on the entire church such that was not witnessed the first time he (Osinbajo) addressed the church as vice president. For a nation that is battling to get out of economic recession and for a people-some with faith that can move mountains and some others with faith that cannot move ants-Osinbajo’s homily on the birthday boy-Ibitayo- was hope-inspiring as it indicated that all will be well with our nation.
Even though, his message centred on Ibitayo as he referenced the Biblical examples of Moses in Deuteronomy chapter 34 verse 7: “And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated”, the parishioners key into it as he declared that would be Ibitayo’s portion. He also referenced Abraham in Genesis chapter 17, verses 1-5 wherein God appeared to the father of faith at age ninety and decreed that God would visit Ibitayo again in his 60th year as He did to Abraham.
The point he made which only the discerning can surmise bears correlation to the Nigerian condition is that God can do all things. He must have been inspired by God to pass across the message to encourage as many as might have become despondent about the debilitating economic situation in the country. Read him: “God can do all things; but we must not limit Him because of our experience(s). There is the tendency for us to reference history. But our God walks with people of faith and not people of history.”
For me, the message was clear: that the Nigerian problem is not difficult for God to solve. That rather than call on history to intervene, we should call on God to guide our leadership and nation on the path of recovering our economy from the pangs of recession. That was my most important take-away from his homily.
While he lauded the first birthday of every living soul, he made it clear that the second birthday-the day a man or woman gives his or her to Jesus Christ and becomes a new creature with Heaven as final destination- is more important than earthly anxieties. His eternal admonition: “if you must please the Lord Jesus Christ, you must have this second birthday. It is more important than the first one…” That was an altar call. The homily was breezy, short and sharp like the Angel’s visit. And, there was applause as he ended with an “arrival.”
- Mr Ojeifo, journalist and publisher, sent this piece via email@example.com