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By ISAAC OLUSESI
Nigeria’s pursuit of peace and development, away from the scourge of insecurity and social injustice lies at the heart of the nation’s harmonious existence as government endeavours at better quality of life for the governed.
His Grace, Baba Aladua Prophet Samuel Adefila Abidoye dropped the hints at the 83rd international conference and convention of the Cherubim & Seraphim Movement Church, CSMC, (worldwide, Ayo Ni o) as the church reinforced its commitment to peace, stability and security in Nigeria such that at the end of the first year of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in office and stock is taken, the balance sheet would be positive for the nation.
In a keynote address on the state of the nation, Prophet Abidoye asked the government to be more decisive on the armed groups or militias known locally as bandits to permit the nation’s economy strive and individuals’ legitimate businesses carried out without fear, adding that no investors would want to do business in a country where there’s insecurity. He declared the current shots by the government at repositioning Nigeria in all aspects of national life as worthwhile just as he advised, “let the government make the welfare of the governed its cardinal focus with the implementation of the people centric programmes and policies to alleviate poverty.”
The church’s spiritual father and chairman who charged that all the refineries across the country should be made to work within the next six months to mitigate the negative impact of the oil subsidy removal, especially, its inflationary trend on foodstuffs, other services, spoke during the just concluded 2023 conference and convention, held at the CSMS Galilee, Orile-Igbon, Oyo State, Nigeria.
He stated further, “I urge Nigerians to be moderate and cut down your spendings to survive the current global economic effects on the nations of the world. Have faith as God is on the throne and will soon turn around the situation for the good of all. Be strong, steadfast and unmovable and keep praying to the Most High God who’s able to do all things as the days of old.” And he alerted the nation’s president that Nigerians are law abiding and tolerant, deserving of improved living conditions.
Delegates from 184 districts of the church across the world and federated states in Nigeria, finally landed at the Ilorin airport, Kwara State, the nearest airfield to the venue of the annual event, and an orderly accredited crowd of business, political, religious, traditional, professional elites and pressmen, all represented the barometer of the church sprang for joy as the airplane roared down and screeched to a gradual halt at the airport and the delegates, including Most Senior Apostle Dr Thomas Olaleye Ogungbangbe, alighted. Immediately, there were moments of ecstasy; they radiated humour and exchanged pleasantries. Seconds ticked away thereafter, the atmosphere became electric, heralded by drowsiness of the day but the configuration was accompanied soonest by refreshing sunshine, warm and bright on the particular day that the writer was on hand.
After much shoving and jostling by the airport officials and security operatives, the church delegates, unproclaimed by the intimidating blares of sirens or frightening hazards lights, were shepherded in honour and sobriety into waiting cars and buses, waxing praise worship music. The traffic, with the road safety marshals at the ready, trudged at snail speed, in long snaky rows, to Galilee, the event venue at Orile-Igbon on Ilorin-Ibadan expressway. And before the bell ringer could let go off the rope, pulling the clapper, the hallowed Galilee was already full, filled to the rafters and spilled peoples to the surrounding settlements. The mood of the community folks and church members who lined the streets was a mark of honour to the church delegates whose greatness wasn’t measured by the hounds of power, position, fame, money, affluence or influence but humility, spirituality, holiness, faithfulness, and total submission to God.
From the onset, the 2023 conference and convention promised to be grand, and that was beefed up by the galaxy of church grandees, the delegates from the world over, leaders in diverse human endeavours and renowned for their professional and business status and achievements. But they have chosen what others will simply ignore, to be workers in the vineyard of God, donned or attired in the church vestments for the lined up programmes at Galilee. Revivals and intercessory prayers were held for the nation’s president, his executive, and the legislature, judiciary, state governments, public servants for divine wisdom and guidance, good governance and uprightness, justice and fairness, peace and harmony, and protection for the citizenry of Nigeria, at home and in the Diaspora. The resurcitation of the growth and development of Nigeria and other nations of the world also came under prayers.
The meetings of Baba Aladura in-Council, church board of trustees, church management, ministers’ conference, plethora of sermons, symposiums, lectures, goodwill messages and expositions on the theme of the conference for the year 2024, ‘Good Tidings,’ taken from Luke 2:10 had none of the accredited speakers stare at any notebook like a soothsayer immersed in divination process. Yet, the audiences listened with the eagerness of a litigant awaiting magisterial ruling. The speakers, enamoured to the unity and progress of the church, consonance of religions, and the amity or harmony of the nation, jump started a true rein of rational views also on other contemporary challenges faced by the church and our nation.
And in a typical homage to a colossus, the stillnes of the night was total in the day for Baba Aladura, Prophet Abidoye, the spiritual father and chairman of the church- he church that has the “Bible as the standard, evangelism as the ministry, pursuit of the well-being of the members, and salvation of souls for the attainment of the Kingdom of God” as its mission. Why? His forensic odyssey at the 2024 theme of the church conference, incandescent brilliance, and candour of delivery was incisive, candid, penetrating, analytical, vivid, lucid, edifying, seasoned with refreshed allusions to the Bible and shaped the past, patterned the present and defined the future of the church and nations of the world. Indeed, his dissertation on the theme evoked both spiritual and intellectual pugilism as the sub-themes’ handlers did facultative to drive home the conference theme.
And then came question time. The speakers’ answers to all the questions, elicited broad smiles on the faces of all. Prophet Abidoye reminded the delegates to build their Districts’ houses at Galilee, saying, “it is unGodly for District officers to come for functions and sleep comfortably in hotel while members look for where to sleep inside the auditorium. I appeal to you to work hard on your District house.” Alternative findings indicate that MSA Dr Ogungbangbe, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ijesa North, Osun State, had positively responded to the building of Iragbiji House at Galilee, Orile-Igbon. And a cathedral, on-going in Shagamu, Ogun State, is soonest due for completion.
Meanwhile, Senior Apostle Biodun Jegede, Chairman, the 2023 Conference and Convention Planning Committee had recommended the spread of good tidings about Jesus Christ as ‘Bread of Life’ to the nations of the world in response to the threats of poverty, deprivation, profanity, other provocative trends against growth and development, insisting that no nation could attain dignified existence, sufficient enough to tackle the challenges in the face of globalization that has failed to address the needs of the poor peoples of the world. “Jesus Christ is the good news to all nations. This is the good tiding we are talking about, the hope of the world,” Jegede avowed.
The revival hours at the 2023 conference and convention had people come in chartered buses, others in their cars, yet there were those around who trekked to the Galilee, the event venue. And those who could neither walk nor stand were helped by their relatives. A pallid Orile- Igbon became drenched in the sweats of spiritual excitement as everyone on ground wore sober look, hummed choruses and prayed but aggressively, and waited impatiently for the revival hours. One revivalist, a vibrant teacher of the Word of God, digged deep; another, a great preacher of salvation called out prayers for forgiveness of sins, redemption of soul and made altar calls; and yet, another revivalist had healing as his stuff. The three spiritual geniuses, they most certainly are, mounted the rostrum, each day, and the arena came alive with the greatness of God re- enacted just as exhortation, edification, comfort and expansion of the vision of Jesus Christ rented the air. And miraculous works of healing and deliverance and signs and wonders, spiritual re-awaken and revelatory visions wrought in the lives of the people.
And time for the ordination of men came as quite a good number of men, totalled 675, had the hands of church spiritual father and chairman laid upon their heads in holy orders, ordained with prayers for the gift of Holy Spirit and grace required to be strongly focused “on the expansion of the Kingdom of God, the growth of the church, and the spiritual and moral development of members.” The ordination certificate, issued to them as a legal license verifies their status in the church, all that was after the administration of the ordination oath and anointing of ordainees. Such sacrament ceremony as rule oscillates between men and women, every other year, with only women to be so ordained next year.
Spiritual walk, health awareness talk, health and fitness walk with medical team on standby, practically shed off the delegate’s excess body weight, blasted tommy, thigh, hip, all sorts of stress, and increased aerobics as gains and benefits. And to the sauna where the delegates cleaned and refreshed the body kick started physical and psycho readiness for the other items on the programme that included sports.
The novelty march held out by youths and women, initially expressed trepidation, but turned out to be a more demonstration of skills, most heart warming that it fixed attention on grassroots sports as spectators routed, cheered and jubilated as one side won. But a particular footballer who paced up and down, and made a score, stole the show. More than that, he was at his jocular best like in a rehearsed plot as he had an uncanny sense of humour tempered with real theatrical streaks. He burrowed into the heart of everyone. Beyond that, the novelty march at the 2023 conference and convention was a veritable avenue for identifying talents and discovery of new talents for national team.
The one-hour break, everyday of the one week long 2023 conference and convention afforded guests an atmosphere enlivened by entertaining music and tantalizing meals recked with the irresistible aroma that was distinctively perceptible. It was a culinary triumph that one would want to have a taste of the gastronomic delight, delicacy spiced with cow meat, fresh fish and other assorted.
The conference and convention didn’t go without its undersides. The Galilee’s host communities came alive with economic activities as event provided a brisk business for vendors of food, water, religious books, other souvenirs. There were hordes of remarks on the aura of the power of God at Galilee, and comments by those who witnessed this year’s conference and convention predicted that Galilee would become another Jerusalem to be visited by the mighty and the lowly, across faiths, to seek the face of the One who created heaven and earth.
*OLUSESI writes via firstname.lastname@example.org
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