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Our Leaders Should Think More Of The Poor- Odeleke

Posted: Mar 27, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Having started the ministry at the age of 24, the fiery, no-nonsense and fearless preacher, Bishop Bolanle Odeleke, who is the founding president of Power Pentecostal Church, also known as Agbala Agbara Olorun Kii Bati (Power of God Never Fails), stands tall as a female pioneer in the Nigerian church history, even as she has not looked back at the age of 64. CHINYERE ABIAZIEM, had an exclusive chat with her, where she spoke on her call into the ministry; her marriage; the bill presented in Kaduna on religious regulation and other issues.

Enjoy it:

How peculiar is your call into the ministry?
God called me in 1974, I was comfortable. I used to think people who do God’s work are poor people. So I did not want to hear anything related to God’s call. Then I was led to go into three days dry fasting, so in the evening of the second day, I sat down at my back yard in Akure reading my Bible. It was when I was waiting for my husband to come and take us to Kaduna to where he was posted, that God turned it to me, waiting on Him. While I was reading my bible, I just felt a movement on my forehead of which I thought was an insect but on touching my forehead to reach for the insect, I saw oil and I started shaking up to my marrow.
I ran to a senior pastor then, in person of Baba Orogun. He was the General Superintendent of Christ Apostolic Church. Then I told him to touch my head. He asked if I poured oil on my head and I said ‘God bless you’ that I saw this while I was reading my Bible and that I have been praying for some days. He said ‘ha! you are the one we have been waiting for.’ He carried me and placed me on a chair and said Babalola told them that a small girl will be raised to popularise Christ Apostolic Church. He calmed me and prayed with me.
Then later at night I saw my door opening and I thought a thief was coming in, then I saw someone walk in. He started speaking comforting words to me. He gave me a bell, Bible, bottle of water, which all entered into my body. He told me that anywhere I ring the bell people will gather to hear me. He said I should sanctify water for people that the lame will walk and that the barren will have children. He said ‘preach me, my life and resurrection and my coming back.’ He read my mind and said I am asking how it can happen. Then for a confirmation, He sent me to the church to pray for a mad woman who was chained. As soon as He left me I started screaming and praying that I will not run mad then I quickly remembered what He asked me to do. So I ran out quickly and started my car as I could not wait for my driver. When I got to church behold I saw a mad woman tied up and I ran to her and said ‘in the name of Jesus Christ you are healed.’ Meanwhile people who wanted to stop me from running to the woman were surprised and inquired to know how it all happened. I had to tell them that the lord is calling me to the ministry. I must say that my calling is unique, not so many people have that kind of calling and that is why I cannot fail.

How did you start Power Pentecostal Church?
I have been in the ministry since 1974, holding crusades everywhere. I came to Lagos in 1980 and held crusade for three years at Christ Apostolic Church Yaba. I was preaching two times a year for three years. I was pregnant in between and was still preaching morning and night. I gave birth and went out that same day to preach, with cogent miracles following. The lame walked, blind saw even the dead raised to life with mad people being healed.
I got here, Cele Okota in February 1983. I started this place as Christ Apostolic Church, Agbala Agbara Olorun Kii Bati. Then the whole of Okota was filled with thick bushes and there was a tiny road from the expressway. As soon as I got here and started advertising this place, people started knowing about this place and started coming to buy lands here. So this church actually opened up this area called Okota. Then people did not know about this place. Then I will call it out that it is O-k-o-t-a not O-j-o-t-a.
It was the outskirt of the town even on the express road, we had few houses. Even this land where the church is situated, was forest for masquerades as they used to dress up from here. We told them to stop coming after we bought here and the Lord took over from then. God helped us to buy three hectares of land for N48,000; that was how we got the land, held crusades and started the church. In 1993, ten years after I got here, The Apostolic Church said they no longer want women to lead churches again and I have been in the ministry since 1974, so I said I cannot drop my ministry because somebody said so. I said well I have to leave and they said I was allowed. I planted five churches and left them but I had this because they did not give me money to buy the land. It was my late husband through the help of God that helped me to get the land. So the name was changed from Christ Apostolic Church to the name it is bearing now. And since then we have been growing.

Till date, some denominations still restrict women from occupying the position of clerics; do you think the Bible supports this?
It is God that calls not anybody. If he likes he can call a woman to preach. After all when Jesus came, He said those that believe will do more miracles than I did. He did not say men that believe but those that believe, which is a blank cheque for both men and women. And He said go ye, He did not say go men but everybody. Jesus says He will be with us always and He is asking us to go not to discriminate.
Also from the book of Genesis when God created Adam and felt that Adam cannot be alone, He gave Adam a help mate, which means someone that is like you not your subordinate but someone that can complete you. God gave Adam, Eve, meaning mother of all living. If I’m a mother of all living, that means I was the one that carried you for nine months and went through labour. I will know how better to take care of you.
Now to the female who do not want to rise because someone is saying don’t go. I want to advise you to go and do what you have been called to do. It is the Lord that calls and empowers.

An executive religious regulatory bill which was reportedly presented before the Kaduna state House of Assembly to restrict public preaching has faced several reactions, especially from Christian clerics. Do you mind speaking on this as well?
I pray that God will meet with Mallam Nasir Ahmed el-Rufai. It is a challenge to Christianity. I’m sure he is not talking to Muslims. Some persons have done it in the past and it did not work. I told my people in Kaduna that it is a phase that will go. I told them to continue to pray, do their work and preach. I’m here to see anyone that he will stop or take to court because it will not happen. God will not allow it!

Do you have any word of advice to the president and other national leaders?
Yes I do. I thank God for my lovely president, governor Ambode and other leaders for their efforts so far. All I want to say is that they should think more about the poor. Right now in Nigeria it is only the rich that can survive. The poor thinks about where to get the next meal from because nobody thinks about them.
There is no comfort in Nigeria; we have been on generator in this area for weeks now. Whenever the power comes on, it does not last and before you know it, we switch to generator again, for us to work and do what God wants us to do. The artisans need light. If it is said that we are in the age of technology then we need light to promote technology. It amuses me when we do not have light then they bring bills. They brought N68,000 bill the other day and I was asking when we used electricity to have warranted such amount. If there is light and we are paying for it then it is fine and fair enough. So let God help Buhari and grant Fashola the wisdom to work well.

You are 64-year-old and still looking strong and radiant?
My secret is Jesus because I work a lot. I write books, rebrand and eat right and have enough rest. At least in a day I have one hour to myself and allow my system sleep. It is not about sleeping but allowing my system to sleep because some people sleep but get their minds on a lot of things which prevents their system from resting.

Some persons will want to know about your marriage, would you mind talking about it?
I have cleared the air concerning my marriage several times but some will bastardise it and some will write it well; it does not matter to me. My husband died and according to the Bible I have right to remarry. I remarried and Nigerians shouted. I remarried to one of Satan’s children because that one came and stole from me. I thought he was a Christian not knowing that he was in church but the church was not in him. You know it ruined so many things. That relationship brought me down but God picked me up and put me on higher level. So it is the thing of the past. He was a business man, so I said okay let me marry a pastor because I do not want to mess around. Sleeping around will work against my body and then deprive me of the kingdom of heaven that I preach. So I said I do not want to do that let me marry and be with a man. I was not patient enough, for God because I rushed into it. That is what I tell widows and those about to marry that they are going to be there for life and that they have to be patient, look at it very well, pray to God, wait on God and do not rush so that you will not rush out. Because if you are wounded you will want to leave the place.
I married the pastor on the platform of God said. He was worse than the business man. So the world shouted that she has divorced. But they have forgotten that I do not work for them but that I work for somebody. The person I work for will speak before I leave any marriage. Yes I was married and divorced because according to the British law where I got married, it was no marriage because it was not up to two years. But to people Bola Adeleke married and divorced.
I am a role model, my life is a lesson to people. I occupy that position because God put me there. I am not regretting because I can hear my God. He is still working through me; He is taking care of me and my children. I have seven able children. Four girls and three boys. All of them are in the ministry they all have their own jobs. I am happy, my life is good and I am moving on.

What is your Easter message to Christians?
Romans 4: 25 tell us that Jesus Christ was delivered for our sins and raised from the dead for our justification. I thank God for giving us Christ as a willing substitute for our sin and punishment. It is my prayer that because Jesus rose from the death, our nation Nigeria shall rise again.