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A REVIEW OF THE CHURCH IN 2021
Part 3-IN FURTHERANCE OF THE GOSPEL
-Daniel Breakforth
GOVERNMENT (Continued)
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no endIsaiah 9:7
The Twitter ban came as a result of the pulling down of a post of the Nigerian President by Twitter. Nigerians were thus supposed to be cut off from Twitter. Some Churches however came out immediately to defend their continued stay on the Twitter platform. Churches like the RCCG and Deeper Life Bible Church stated that they were not restricted to Nigeria and could operate from any part of the world.
CONTROVERSIES
But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel…Philippians 1:12.


In July 2018, a young man who identified himself as a former pastor of Living Faith Church Worldwide came out on social media to claim he was sacked for not generating enough money. He complained that he was removed because he pastored only 6 members within 11 months. An uproar ensued on social media with many as usual blaming the LFC for converting church to business.

One of our reporters eventually carried out an investigation which showed that many if not all of those sacked had become stagnant and turned church work to an easy means of making money while doing little or nothing. Bishop Oyedepo responded- ‘When we employed thousands in one day, social media was dead!’. Two very popular clergies passed on during the period of review. The first one, easily very respected globally stated something about not going to Heaven if God was homophobic. Perhaps this affected the magnitude of responses when he passed on as many had mixed feeings in many countries within the Continent. The other, a philantrophist left behind an establishment plagued with all sorts of financial and succession succession battles which though seemingly calm may have some challenges carving a clear route forward except Emmanuel genuinely comes to reside with us. Yet another popular clergy’s birthday was again ignored by the Nigerian Government-7th time in a row-probably because he always makes them very uncomfortable.


CELEBRATIONS, EVENTS, ANNIVERSARIES AND AWARDS


The Loveworld International Music and Arts Awards took place at the tail end of the year with Pastor Chris Oyakhilome led Loveworld Nation giving over $500,000 to deserving awardees on a night of excellence signalling the end of the IPPC at Loveworld Campgrounds, Asese, Ogun State.

The Foundation of African Leadership (FALA) Awards also came up at the end of the year with Presidents Obasanjo and Jonathan of Nigeria as Special Guests of Honour.

One of the special events of the year was the visit of Roberts Liardon to Nigeria for a week long program in the second half of the year.

The venue was the Glory Dome. A historian who had mentored several Nigerians through his books (though he had never visited Nigeria), it was one of the high points in Christendom as he went through the history of the Christian revivals globally and finally declared that Nigeria was now the center of revival globally.

He did not leave without verifying the capacity of the Glory Dome as he explained that Americans were waiting to confirm if it was truly a 100,000 capacity auditorium…the largest in the world as at today. Many Nigerians also decided to let the matter rest immediately Liardon confirmed it after a physical count-by himself.The Dunamis International Gospel Centre also celebrated her 25th Anniversary during the Kingdom Power and Glory Word Conference in November 2021.

On the fourth day of the event, Pastor Dr (Mrs( Becky-paul Enenche, Co-Founder of the Ministry and wife of Dr Paul narrated some personal sacrifices made in the Ministry from inception even up till now, revealing how much sacrifice is made by many pioneers of new church movements to see to their establishment. Some of these included but were not limited to funding of the Ministry at inception, funding of the Glory Dome Project and Environmental Development by regular emptying their personal accounts in seeing the completion of the multi billion naira project; one which according to Dr Paul Enenche, the roof alone could purchase jets.

She did not leave out their pet secondary school project, the Destiny Christian Academy. I grew up to see churches at the mercy of hotels for use of hotel facilities. I cannot forget my encounter observing people like Bishops Ben Oruma and David Oyedepo trying to make use of the Kongo Conference Hotel in Kongo, Zaria, Nigeria in the late 1980s and the efforts they had to make.

One can imagine if the Church was dependent on hotels during the COVID-Lockdown, there won’t have been any church.Note that when the template for worshipping was copied initially, the rule was for churches not to have more than 50-100 people.

It was soon brought to fore that Nigerian Mega Churches could take tens and in some cases hundreds of thousands and so the rule was amended to :half of the capacity of the halls.

If another lockdown is enforced today with 50 per cent capacity as the rule, Glory Dome will take 50,000 as half capacity.

Faith Tabernacle will take 25,000. Deeper Life Gbagada will take 15,000. TAC National Temple will take 40,000.If that rule comes up in a short while from now, RCCG 3km by 3km will take 4.5 million at 50 per cent capacity, Hand of God will take 60,000 people at half capacity, Deeper Life Conference Centre will take 63,500 while The Ark and nearby Faith Tabernacle together will take 80,000 people at same half capacity and this is asides the overflow facilities for all of them.

Foursquare Gospel Church, Nigeria held her 66th Annual Convention and the highlights were the introduction of Bishop Oyedepo by Rev Sam Aboyeji revealing the consistency of the Bishop way back as President of the Joint Campus Fellowship especially how he encouraged students to buy a bus for the fellowship when all appeals for people to give failed as well as the invitation of Matthew Ashimolowo to minister at the program many years after he departed the UK Church and at a time when according to him, all his contemporaries had been retired from the Church.

The Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) held its convocation ceremony where she announced one of the highest numbers of first class performance ever by a government owned university.

Our opinion is that the tide is changing and public universities are learning to give deserving students their due by no longer withholding first class awards to their students as was the tradition. Same students who go out to attain these degrees in the foreign universities.

This change has come because private universities did not withhold these awards thereby forcing public universities to have a rethink.Many other universities held similar convocation ceremonies but notable is the survey conducted by Nigerian Universities Commission where Redeemers University of Nations was rated the second best university in Nigeria and best private university.

This is the first time since 2005 that another private university will be rated higher than Covenant University and all glory to God that it is yet another Christian university with strong spiritual content.

The Church of God Mission International (CGMI) also invited Bishop Wale Oke and Pastor Adeboye to the launching of the Archbishop Benson Idahosa Foundation and 1st memorial lecture, a notable quote at the event was that quoted from the reverred and departed Benson Idahosa was- ‘I clothe the naked and feed the poor but I give them the gospel.

Do not feed the poor and clothe the naked into hell because evangelism remains our supreme task’.Pastor David Ibiyeomie had a word for those whose phones ring loud in Church. His verdict was that it is a result of poverty and he gave reasons for that.

During the year, the RCCG (City of David Parish) released her dating App. A cross section of youth made several positive and non-positive comments concerning it. Leke Adeboye also commented but later removed his post. Apostle Michael Orokpo’s wedding was glorious and the year also heralded the start of his ministry. Apostle Joshua Selman is yet to announce his wedding and did not get married in 2020 as had been wished by his erstwhile good friend-Ejimi Olufukeji.

However, Lady Sandra Areh (Selwoman) is a regular feature in the front row of Koinonia Abuja events. We believe good news is in the offing.

We hope to be at Life Camp to celebrate soon. Apostle Selman was also at his Tarok homeland to gift several beneficiaries monies and gifts to the tune of N20 million ($40,0000).

The year was a special year for Bishop David Abioye who clocked 60. He will not be going on retirement courtesy of the special clause in the Mandate which allows him to serve 2 terms of 7 years each as First Vice President. More strength and wisdom to the Bishop. He also held weddings for all his 3 children, 2 sons and one daughter.

While that of his first son and first daughter held at Goshen, that of his second son held at The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) of Bishop Mike Okonkwo.

We would not be left out as we conducted a most revealing interview with Bishop Abioye.
At the CGMI Convention held at Balm of Gilead this year, Archbishop Margaret Idahosa again celebrated the role of Bishop Oyedepo after her husband departed and he took up university staff salaries for 2 years. According to her, ‘he does it quietly and goes’.

During the same year, a Deeper Life student graduated with first class from the University of Ilorin and was unusually celebrated. Major Mega also gave a car gift to Pastor Chris Abraham who has now been transferred from LFC Jahi to LFC Nomansland, Kano. A number of other transfers also took place at LFC. Pastor Triumphant Obamoh whose Akwa Ibom experienced the highest increase in rural churches as well as the highest multiplication of cells was also transferred.

At Shiloh, Bishop Oyedepo warned severely against envy.

In December a beautiful Anglican Church under the Anglican Diocese at Ihiala, Anambra State, Nigeria was completed by Donald Amamgbo and dedicated during the last week of 2021.

The General Overseer of Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (Worldwide), Dr Daniel Olukoya, during the year 2021, won defamation suit against a United Kingdom-based blogger, Maureen Badejo, for libelous publications.

Justice Abiodun Akinyemi of an Ogun State High Court in Abeokuta slammed N500 million damages against Badejo, for libellous publications against Pastor Olukoya, and the church.

The Court also granted “a perpetual injunction restraining the defendant by herself, her agents, servants, privies or other persons howsoever called or described from further making, publishing and/or disseminating defamatory stories and statements about the claimants or any one of them.”
The Judge described the report as the worst case of reckless defamation and evil use of the internet and social media.

Badejo, the anchorperson in the Facebook-GIO TV, had before the judgement, churned out 52 lies against Dr. Daniel Olukoya.

She was said to have reported that Olukoya defrauded the government of the United States by selling his books in America without paying the due tax on the books.
GIO TV, among others, had reported that a particular Pastor from MFM in the UK paid the sum of £150,000 into the personal account of Olukoya and then went to Nigeria to meet the cleric so he could help him cover up his fraud.

But delivering his ruling in a N10 billion libel suit filed by Ime Nya Asanga (lawyer to the plaintiffs), Justice Akinyemi awarded N250 million to each of the claimants, making a total of N500 million as aggravated and exemplary damages for libel.

The Judge also ordered Badejo to “immediately pull down and erase each of the offending online publications/posts concerning the claimants from the internet”.

She was also ordered to “tender a written apology and retraction of the offending publications and posts in a form and content acceptable to the claimants and published prominently in her Facebook, YouTube and Instagram accounts and in at least three nationally circulating Newspaper in Nigeria. The ruling was further validated by a UK Court.

The Year 2021 will surely not be complete if we fail to mention the transform of Omoba Tsola Emiko to Ogiame Atuwatse III, the 21st Oki of Warri who was coronated on the 21st of August 2021. His song was the high point of the event-
Take the stage Lord and have your way.

I’m just a vessel. Nothing more.
When you’re done, please take the glory.
I’m satisfied, just to see you glorified.

YEAR 2022

The Year has started at full blast. West African Faith Believers Convention (WAFBEC 2022) pioneered by Poju Oyemade is ongoing and has already featured Bishop Wale Oke, Apostle Arome Osayi, Nathaniel Bassey and others.

COZA is already on her 12 Days of Glory with Uma Ukpai featuring for the first time ever this year and to be honoured on his birthday on 7th January. Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo’s message concerning giving by a tribe in Nigeria was attacked.

We also know that the Ark project might be the first of its type anywhere in the world with over N100 Billion ($200 million) already paid.

SMHOS Glory Reign 2022 will take place from 24th to 28th January.In a few days time, Pastor Kumuyi will also welcome Bob Fitts (online) as well as Ibukun Awosika, Dunsin Oyekan and many more at the Deeper Life Conference Centre.It is indeed the dawn of a new era.

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