Adeola Samuel Ilori, is a member of Citadel Global Community Church formerly known as Latter Rain Assembly. He’s peeved that Pastor Tunde Bakare, the General Overseer of the Church based on his recent actions is derailing and need to be advised before it’s too late. He’s angry that Bakare has deviated from what he was. For instance, he said Bakare’s criticisms of Bishop David Oyedepo’s 50 thousand seater was well documented and wonder why he’s now toeing the same line when such money could be used to build a State of the Art Hospital to stop medical tourism. He is also not comfortable that a whopping N560million will be spent to import 5,200 chairs when such could be procured in Nigeria, more so, when the Federal Government is canvassing for made in Nigeria goods. He’s of the opinion that members of the church who are carpenters ought to benefit from such gestures, without the Church spending such huge amount. Ilori, who claims he has been in Citadel since 1996 said even those that Bakare has criticized in the past have now become his role model. Although, he agrees that he was attracted to Bakare through his teachings which focuses on do it yourself as a Christian without being a ‘slave’ to pastor/prophet, a fact which he says he admired him for and benefits immensely, Ilori says Bakare has started doing several things that he (Bakare) has spoken against in the past which calls for concern . “ For instance, when he criticized former President Olusegun Obasanjo, we all supported him based on his principle standpoint, but now he has started going to meet him, may be for political expediency, I don’t know. Even , his incursion into politics leaves much to be desired. He once said that power resides with him, why is he now descending into the arena? As a Pastor, power resides with you because Presidents, Governors , chairmen come to you for blessings (prayers). So what he is doing now is contrary to what he said before.” Ilori told Newsnow that there was a time he confronted Bakare on a certain issue he feels strongly about, but was surprised with Bakare’s subtle threat when he asked if, he was digging his own grave.
We made attempts to interview Pastor Bakare to clarify some of the issues raised by Ilori, but he declined comment, saying he would not join issues with him.
What is your grouse with spending N560million to buy chairs to equip Citadel?
Honestly, as a member of the church for the past 24 years. I think this is the first time Pastor Tunde Bakare will bring up an idea that I totally disagree with him. I have had cause to disagree with him in the past, but it was not total. I disagree with him in the sense that there’s no justification going by the standard he laid to spend such amount for chairs. Firstly, spending N560million to buy 5200 chairs even if the chairs will be made here is a waste. It’s a waste in the sense that I have been worshipping in the Latter Rain Assembly in the last 24years. I joined on January 28, 1996, when Pastor Bakare preached a message titled, “ Where you have received shame, you will become famous because of my Name.” I remember vividly and since then, I have never been a laid back member. I have worked in different departments contributing my quota, though, I’m not a loud person. I am presently a member of the legal department. The idea of spending such colossal amount is even insensitive to the plight of some members as well as Nigerians that Pastor Bakare has more often than not stood on the pulpit or grant interviews to condemn government of doing. And I believe we should not be found doing what we condemn others of doing. So, spending N560million to purchase 5200 chairs for members and 36 leaders of church is a waste.
What’s the unit price?
Well, if it’s 5200 chairs, it then means you have to divide it by N560million. And the chairs that we have been using that I met there; that I have contributed to purchase to increase the numbers. It’s a wooden chair. It was made from Mahogany and we have used it for many years. If we even want to upgrade, I don’t think we need to upgrade to that level considering the mood of the nation; considering a man I expected to be the voice of the people, that ought to live in a way that will enhance not only his freedom, but that of others. Are there no carpenters in the church? Are there no furniture maker in the church? Are there no one in the church that can be beneficiary of the contract? Those are areas of my grouse. If you are going to import chairs that we are going to sit on, is it not the same God that we have been serving in Latter Rain Assembly that we are going to serve in that place? Will there be an imported God that will come down there? Does it mean that God discriminate about where we are sitting right now? And if it’s about upgrading, I think we can do so without spending such amount; maybe N150million will be ok.
But I learnt there’s feedback channel for Chartered Members, have you explored that?
Unfortunately, someone like us don’t go through such channel. I have done that in the past without results. It was the last letter I wrote to him before 2015 general election that got me his attention. When I noticed that it was not the same Pastor Bakare that I followed, even before I joined his church in 1996 because of some people around him. He arranged for a meeting and started to bamboozle me when he learnt that I’m a lawyer. When that didn’t work, because I stood my ground, he spoke like a Pastor. I remembered what he said that day when he asked; “ if I was digging my grave”. And I said; digging my grave for coming to you when I noticed something untoward? What other people are gossiping about?
Why do you think members don’t like to challenge their pastors when it’s glaring that something was amiss?
Well, some have become conquered slave in religious garb. Some of us are not born the same way. At least, I may not be there when he was in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, Deeper Life and Baptist Church, but he never hide his story; how he confronted the powers that be right in the church to change some archaic ways of doing things. So if he had to find someone like that in me. I didn’t expect him to react the way he reacted that day. I was in a state of confusion that this character is not what I know. Is this the Pastor Bakare that I followed during the dark days of the late dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha? Even when things were really tough then and Latter Rain Members were being hunted, we stood by him. We gladly played his sermon titled , “ Abacha will be butchered” in our cars stereo without molestation. In the days of persecution that it was difficult to say you a member of Latter Rain Assembly, some of us carry the garb everywhere we go. In fact, when we speak, people ask if we attend Latter Rain. And once we answered in affirmative, they will say, ‘Oh, Bakare is in you.’
But Pastor Bakare said the auditorium is more than a worship Centre, that there are other features like school and hospital. What is your take on this?
Even at that, I have my misgivings at the Citadel, I have. Yes, I contributed, but I have my misgivings.
Are you saying the Citadel is bogus?
Yes. It’s bogus. Spending N13Billion to build auditorium. What’s more beneficial and pronounced to God is; “when I was hungry, you fed me, when I was without home, you provided accommodation for me, when I was sick, you catered for me.
And they asked, when did we do these? And Jesus said inasmuch you have done it to the least of these ones, you have done it to me.”
That is what is more befitting to God not gigantic worship centre. That place would have been Hospital with state of the art equipment to handle kidney transplants and other serious ailments that people travel abroad to treat. That N13Billion would have been better utilized. That’s where I picked my offense from. I look at peoples antecedent. I remembered very well when Bishop David Oyedepo was building the Winners Chapel in Ota. The 50 thousand seaters. Pastor Bakare spoke against it. He said the people you did not build will destroy the building. He said what do you need 50 thousand seaters for?
So to you Citadel is a waste of scarce resources?
I don’t consider it a priority. It’s not a singular priority to God. If the place was an Hospital, I believe it will serve people better. And you can upgrade the present structure on Akilo Street. I was part of those who built Dominion Hall when I joined in 1996. I carry sand and also donated cement with my little meagre.
What is your next line action now that you totally disagreed with your General Overseer on the issue of chairs?
I have not come to worship pastor and that’s why my spirit, soul and body will speak when things are not ok. People in the church know that it’s only me that can talk when I feel strongly about any issue. I can say it because I’m not bound. I come there to pray and praise . And there is no department I have not worked except maybe the choir. So if I have the opportunity of going to the Citadel, I will go there and serve the Lord and leave.
What do you think is obstructing the feedback mechanism from being effective?
I don’t know if it has been rearranged now. Even last year, the youths revolted when because attempts to meet with Pastor Bakare met a brick wall. After series of letters that always end on the Administrative Officer’s desk. The youths felt they have been left out until Pastor Bakare had to call a meeting of the youths and rearranged the communication feedback channel with them.
But the good side is that Pastor Bakare taught us about integrity. He taught us how to stand and pray to God. And that’s what made me his highest loving disciple before this issue of chairs. From 1996 when I joined Latter Rain till 2015, every Wednesday, I pray for Pastor Bakare and his family for making me a total Christian. He really worked on us and I will not take that away from him. But now we are seeing a different Bakare. The Bakare I know will not spend N560million on a chairs, something that can be produced locally. That’s what politics can do to a man. He was criticizing former President Olusegun Obasanjo before because of some certain omission and we supported him. But now you see him fraternizing with the same Obasanjo. Maybe for political expediency, I don’t know. That’s what politics can do to a man. Where is the nigerianity in Pastor Bakare? You are aspiring to govern Nigeria and you want to import what can be produced locally when the government is talking about patronizing made in Nigeria goods. Pastor is not supposed to be a politician. He’s losing his power as a father of the nation.