OJO TO PADABA: Agony of the founding fathers by Adebayo Stephen

Brother Adebayo Stephen

As I lay on my small bed under the mango tree, preparing for the events slated for the following week, I was engrossed in my youthful thoughts which led to immersion in my own imagination.

As cool as the evening was, a stream of cold sweat trickled down my forehead which later dripped down my face. The reality behind this unusual perspiration was not as a result of malady or amnesia but the frequency and velocity at which the thoughts bombarded my youthful brain which was at its state of inertia (a scientific term for a particle in a resting position) was so terrific. I later discovered that my moment of siesta had eventually turned out to be a moment of high burning and dissipation of kinetic energy in trying to wade off the fangs of thoughts that got hold of me and were not ready to let go until I provided a logical reasoning to them. Kudos to that bird which interrupted my state of helplessness as I struggled by releasing some messy substance, a whitish-black stinking faeces on my sweaty forehead. I eventually cleaned the mess on my head and it was then it dawned on me that I had engaged my brain on a marathon race for 2 good hours.

Thoughts and imaginations are efflorescent in nature and they tend to evaporate when interrupted but it will interest you that I have been married to my thoughts for 2 hours which even when I hit the bath for a cold shower became a real image, staring into my face like a newly wedded wife would stare lustfully at her husband. As hopeful as I was, I had no choice than to give it some attention. The solution came immediately I picked my pen to write remembering that it is the only panacea for the moment. I scribbled some few words on the sheet and just like a flash, I went off and waking by 4am the next day only to find sheets of paper beside me with an inscription ‘ojo to padaba’ and ‘agony of the founding fathers’ written on it. I managed to marry the two words together, knowing fully well that it was the result of my unconsciousness that birthed the phrases but at the long run, I could figure out some things which centered on nothing else but my church; the first indigenous Pentecostal church in Nigeria and the grandmother of Pentecostalism in Africa, the Christ Apostolic Church (deep sigh!)

Though not in the ranks of the clergy and not an intending one in the nearest future, I realized that after burning so many bridges and crossing so many hurdles to reach where we are at the moment in Christ Apostolic Church, we still need to to look back at where we were coming from, not to ‘pada si were’ as our past watchword read but to assess ourselves on the spiritual, selfless, integrity and biblical scale on which our founding fathers started this glorious church. In my usual moment of silence on the platform (CAC NEWS whatsapp), I tender my sincere appreciation to the Akinyele Regional Treasurer, Elder Josh Ogunbona who helped in completing the adage “ojo to padaba lo k’eyele po m’adiye”. Don’t blame me much, I'm not a graduate of Yoruba language but I cherish its richness in some ancient adages which are relevant to issues of today.

From the above adage which can be translated as ‘the fowl became the company of the pigeon due to rainstorm that affected even the gentle dove’ can literally be said to have revealed the retrogression in the standard of an entity.

The moment you see the mighty and majestic eagle perching with the gobbling turkey, then there is a problem somewhere because though they belong to the same specie, they are surely not of the same class. We (CAC) are meant to soar like eagles, undaunted and untouchable like the king of the jungle but the big question is, is the church still rated as it was used to be from inception? I remember then that CAC members were the sought-after in the labour market because of our trademarks and spiritual quality cum integrity which is a plus to any organization but today, the reverse is the case (apology to the few ones around). It was disheartening and heartbreaking when I heard of the kidnapping of two CAC pastors and the perpetrators demanding for a huge ransom. Is it not ridiculous to see the hunter being hunted by a mere bush fowl? I might be criticized for this but the fact remained unchanged that the insecurity and the political unrest in the country can never take its toll on us if we are the same ‘omo Babalola’ we used to be in the past. ‘Ta lo to gbena woju ekun’ who dares lay ambush on the tiger? Several mind-boggling occurrences have trailed this mission in the recent years which are questionable:

TV broadcast of rioting and chaos in one of our assemblies due to monetary and mismanagement issues; alleged activities of occultic pastors in the church; fighting and dragging of one another to courts; and other anomalies which have robbed the mission of its glory are the few registered. The advent of other Pentecostal churches has also blown open the lapses in our church which they are capitalizing on to attract our members including our youth to their fold. Sorry for sounding selfish here but that is the truth. The case of church planters is another worrisome issue which is still posing a terrible threat to the mission's general growth. The likes of Babalola, Baba Akande, Akinyele and host of others, never took for themselves any of the churches they planted nor politically appointed their family members  to take over even after they were gone but the case is different now which needs to be attended to. Planters must not see themselves as the ‘almighty’ and ’apase wa’ of their territory, they must embrace total submission of all structural and documented properties to the constituted authorities. I pray the present office of the General Evangelist will able to tame this ‘cankerous’ trend.

As the mother of other Pentecostal churches in Africa and Nigeria in particular, we are today gearing up preparations as regards the 100 years celebration (centenary anniversary) but there are issues to ponder on.
Compared to our baby Pentecostal churches and the church @ 100;
Is this where we ought to be?
Is this how it used to be?
Is this how we will continue to be?
Is our campground at Ikeji Arakeji worth the 100 years age?
Are our founding fathers agonizing or happy where they are?

Is God Almighty happy with our current state?  The CAC of my dream is all desire and I pray the Lord return His church to her first love.

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