Amazing story of Odo Owa

Odo Owa is the birth place of Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola,
the first General Evangelist of , Christ Apostolic Church. OLU OSUNDE who was in Odo-Owa  relates the story of the mysterious odyssey of Joseph Ayo Babalola

The journey was as eventful as going to Cannan. From Offa in Kwara State, it became symbolic when we obliged a young man of about 40 to join us in our chattered car.

The reality of what the man was made of came to open when, as we drove on, a camelion was sighted crossing the road. At the sight of the smallish creature, the man with beads around his waists, squealed and suddenly became agitated saying he would have liked to stop to pick up the little creature for medicine, had the driver agreed to stop. That distractive situation gave a clue to the multi-spiritual nature of the areas we were heading to.

The herbalist, as we later found out, quite oblivious of our mission to Odo-Owa, reeled out to us various diabolical uses of the camelion and the relevance of its multi-purpose colours.
Before Odo-Owa, Igbomina and Omu Aran present a stunned scenery. Apart from being noted to have produced some important personalities in Nigeria, the like of Brigadier General Bamigboye and Oyedepo, there also appears to be some parcel of lands earmarked for an extension of some private institutions like the Covenant and Moses Orimolade universities.

As we drove along, one striking feature noted in Igbomina was the deserted nature of the town. At a glance, one easily noticed that a larger percentage of the modern houses in the ancient town was locked up without any sign of human presence. On enquiry, an indigene, Mrs. Nureni Eniola explained that most of them are traders in various parts of the country, especially Lagos, and that “they come home mostly at festive periods.”

At Odo-Owa, our main destination, which shared a boundary with Iloffa, the atmosphere became exciting as half-Unclad children, some of them pot-bellied, ensconced in torn singlets and with sickly faces, ran out of their various mud houses, waving their enfeeble hands in excitement.
At the outskirts of the ancient town, predominantly littered with mud houses, exists the extant relics of Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola’s spiritual odyssey.

Today, the greatness of this Apostle who died in 1959, is often underscored by the increasing spread of the Christ Apostolic Church he founded, and the belief that at least, 75 per cent of the churches in Nigeria today have their foundation linked with the church.

Before the evil forest now Apostle Babalola prayer Mountain is a small stream labelled Odo-Iwosan a healing stream Pastor C.M. Oni the officer in charge of the stream claimed was sactified by the Apostle to heal the community of chicken pox that ravaged the town in the hay time of the Apostole's evangelism killing adults and children.

The pastor who said he met the late Apostle in 1954 explained that since the year 2000 that he took charge of the stream “people from all walks of life have always been trooping in with kegs to take the water with many also coming back to offer thanks testifying to the power of God. “Since the sanctification in 1946, the stream has not run dry,” he confirmed. One of those who testified to the healing power of the stream according to pastor Oni who also claimed to feed and maintain his family with the stream was one pastor Joseph Agboola who pastor Oni said, in appreciation, built a church and a house around the stream. One wonder why the brownish colour of the water with some visible discomforting sediments do not bother Pastor Oni? To that, he simply said,” it is God’s awesomeness adding that their livelibood depends on the water which he said his family has had to rely on for more than ten years.”

Confirming the power of the stream and the liberation of the evil forest which the people of the community dreaded, by Apostle Babalola, the king of Owa community, His Royal Highness Oba Michael Adegoke Adimula who Pastor B.O. Falogun, the D.O for Odo-Owa also said officially handed over the keys of all the buildings on the mountain to Pastor Nelson Udofia, the then President of C.A.C explained that the mountain was initially a den of tigers and haven for evil spirits.
He said that Babalola’s trip to the evil mountain started in front of his father’s palace. Relating the story, he said that Babalola’s appearance after being spiritually transformed was a gory sight.

According to the king, he appeared ruffled tying a bible with a fresh palmfrond on his head. In front of the palace, the Oba said, he proclaimed the name of Jesus Christ calling people to repentance and no one cared. “The belief then was that he probably ran mad and for a community rooted in African tradition his message was too strange to imbibe. “Perhaps, he continued, "sensing that the people would not listen, he moved straight to the forest. He was there for two week, calling people like the biblical John the Baptist to repentance. In fact, to our surprise, the tigers never harmed him and since that memorable event, people now pray and live on the mountain without fear of evil spirits.

The dead Gateway to the world beyond. A reference was particularly made of a rocky area where he said the dead appears before proceeding on a journey to the unknown. Curious about the claim, we offered to see the cave which nature constructed like a room carved exclusively behind a building. With the iron gate appended to the outer rocks by the Supreme Council of the Christ Apostolic Church, it has now become a protective room for Christian tourists who keep vigil on the mountain.

In fact, it has become one of the hot spots where prayers are held on the mountain. Also visible on the prayer mountain are well protected spots where it was claimed, that a big snake crawled over the Apostle while lying down in prayer and the very spot where the snake was said to have mysteriously caught fire and burnt.

The two spots have been preserved with fence built around them for tourists to behold. So also are other spots mysteriously marked on the rock where various spiritual activities took place. Each of the spots is explored by Christian tourists for different prayer requests.
When we visited the spots, some Christians were seen offering prayers while an aged Bishop who has just completed a prayer session on the mountain was seen descending the steepy mountain with his Prado Jeep bearing a special plate marked Bishop.

The District superintendent of CAC in Odo-Owa, Pastor B.O. Falogun when speaking to Tribune Church said that the mountain before the liberation was called Oru-Oko and that Apostle Babalola spiritually annexed it between 1930 and 1939 adding that it was in 1987 that the church decided to build a house on top.

Also in 2005, he said, Prophet Oyelami (Baba Alasape) under the instruction of God transformed the place by erecting modern buildings. Since then, the place has become habitable attracting Christian youths from all walks of life.
Prominent amongst the buildings erected was the one called Power House built close to the stream where as claimed, the Apostle had his first bathe as a baby.

The Power House according to Baba Alasape Prophet Oyelami was built for men only, the inscription to that effect is boldly written on the outer wall of the house with arrow directing those who need the miracle water to the stream behind the Power House. Also preserved within the Power House is the mortar used by Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola for palm fruits processing which is the major occupation of the Odo-Owa people.

That today, the mountain has become an attractive place where Christians from all parts of the world visit for one miracle or the other in their lives makes it imperative for the Christ Apostolic Church to direct more of the resources of the church to the mountain towards making it a better tourist centre.
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