In and around Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State in Nigeria, Prophet Richard Adebayo Kolawole, founder of Christ Apostolic Church, Arogungbogunmi, Olomi Area, is one man of God who needs no introduction. Those who have not met him have either read about him or heard about him. In an exclusive interview with PMParrot.com and Parrot Xtra’s WOLE ADEJUMO and ABIODUN ADENIYI,‘Baba Arogungbogunmi’ as he is fondly called, spoke on his journey into the ministry, what it was like when he started 20 years ago as well as how he came by the name ‘Arogungbogunmi’, which when translated has to do with the total annihilation of all kinds of wars (spiritual and others).
He also spoke on the crisis rocking the Christ Apostolic Church as well as why he believes with the present crop of Ministers, President Muhammadu Buhari’s government might just be on a journey to nowhere.
How did you get into the work of the ministry?
I received God’s call precisely in July 1986. After the call, I had to undergo training for ten years under the supervision of Prophet Timothy Obadare, founder of World Soul Winning Evangelistic Ministry (WOSEM) and Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) Oke Anu, Adamasingba in Ibadan. Though, my parents were not CAC members then, they were attending Anglican Church, it was through my aunt, Mama Alice Monsunmola Apata, who happened to be the President of the C.A.C Good Women Association Worldwide that I joined CAC.
Around 1995, I fell ill and it was so bad that many hospitals rejected me. I even died for five hours. My body was brought to Mama Apata for prayer and to the glory of God I was healed without any medication. After I recovered from my sickness, I heard the voice of God that I should go to Olunde area to start my own ministry. He described the place to me in a vision that I would see a stream, a mango tree; The voice went as far as describing the house I would start the ministry from. I followed His instruction and on getting there, I met the landlord and I explained to him that I needed accommodation, he allowed us. I started my ministry from a rented room and parlour apartment and to God be the glory, we moved from that room and parlour to our present site. We have branches at Obatedo, Kajola, Ore, Akure and Ondo Town, all in Ondo State and another branch at Odo-Ona Elewe in Ibadan.
There is usually a turning point for every Christian, how did your turning point come?
I was a chorister at the Anglican Church that I was attending and as time went on, I rose to the position of Deputy Director of the choir. Though I claimed to know Jesus that time; I was still taking alcohol and partaking in other worldly things. I left home due to my father’s inability to finance my education because I came from a polygamous home. I had to stay with my aunt. It was through her that I had a true encounter with Jesus.
Despite all I faced, I finished my tertiary education at the Institute of Professional Studies in Ibadan and obtained a Diploma in Business Administration. So, after my education, I struggled to get a job but all my efforts were not fruitful. So, one day, I decided to have fasting and prayer in order to seek God’s face. I locked myself in the visitor’s room. My aunt had told me that the room was where Prophet Ayodele Babalola, Baba Akinyele and Prophet Odubanjo always stayed whenever they paid the family a visit. During the course of my prayer, there was a powerful wind and the next thing I saw was a very bright light. I noticed it was dark outside but that light illuminated the room.
I saw three men and they identified themselves as Prophet Ayodele Babalola, David Ogunleye Odubanjo and Oba I.B Akinyele. In that vision, they anointed me and told me that they have anointed me as one of the prophets in Christ Apostolic Church. What surprised me on that day was that when I woke up and touched my head, oil was on my head. I had to inform my aunt and she advised me that God wanted to use me and that I should attend a Bible School. So that was how I received the calling.
Most of the branches of your church are in Ondo state. Is it because of your closeness to Prophet Timothy Obadare?
No! Although, I’m from Ondo State but it is not also because of that. After the founding of the Ibadan branch, God showed me a vision that I should establish another branch in Ondo State and he gave me the direction. So, when I got to Obatedo, I had a second thought that how will I establish a church in this area that is dominated by mud houses? The place is about three miles to Ondo State Forest Reserve but I had no choice than to obey God’s voice, so, I built a church there and put one pastor to head the church. I thought my mission in Ondo had finished but I heard God again, telling me that I had not finished my mission. He directed me to another town called Kajola, where He instructed that I should organize a three-day revival programme. So, after the revival, I established another branch there. That was what led to the establishment of the Kajola church. After I finished there, God also directed me to Akure and Ondo to have branches there also.
The appellation ‘Arogungbogunmi,’ how did you come about it?
That’s a good question. When I got here 20 years ago, I didn’t know the exact name to call my ministry. Many ideas came to my mind but God told me that He has many names that are hidden from people and that He will give me one out of those names. Through a vision, He wrote “Emi ni Olorun ari ogun gbe ogun mi” (meaning, I’m the Lord who sees and consumes adversaries) boldly written on the wall. So, when I woke up, He instructed me that right from that moment I should use the name to evangelize and preach His word across the world.
Your ministry clocks 20 this year; how has the journey been so far sir?
There were many challenges but I thank God that He is always with me and my family. Since I started the ministry, my wife has been very supportive. One of the challenges I faced that almost affected my ministry was when a local government chairman led some thugs to scare worshippers away during a revival programme titled ‘Oru Arogungbogunmi’. They shot sporadically in the premises. Their mission was to stop worshippers from attending the programme but to the glory of God it failed.
In the course of the ministry, I lost my twins about two months after we got here. There were many demonic attacks. Someone even told me to my face that he was giving me ten years, he said the church would close down within those ten years but I thank God the ministry is 20 this year. Apart from that, there was also a gang-up against my ministry in this area when we first started but despite all these challenges, God helped me to overcome them.
The crisis within the Christ Apostolic Church seems to have no end, what do you think is responsible for this sir?
I was in the Youth Department when the problem started. To be frank, CAC started as a Holy Spirit-governed church. During that period, it was the Holy Spirit that decided who would be President, Superintendent, General Secretary as well as those who would hold other important positions.
The problem of the CAC started when the church sent the likes of Pastor Elijah Oluseye, who happened to be the Sunday School superintendent and others abroad to garner more knowledge. When they came back, they brought up an idea to reform the church system. Although, that time, the youths of the church tried to stop them from achieving their aims but all our efforts were in vain. Pastor Oluseye thereafter organized a General Executive Council meeting at Chief Tewogbade’s house. Then, Chief Tewogbade was the church’s major financier and their plan then was to hijack the church from the founding fathers. They went to Arakeji in Osun State to serve a court injunction to these church leaders and at the end they were retired from their various positions.
They ended up using; dumping and destroying Chief Tewogbade. It was this General Executive Council that brought factions into CAC up till this present day. It is a pity that Oluseye and Akinosun didn’t practice what they preached because if they did, they were not supposed to be fighting because of position.
What do you think is the solution to this problem?
The only solution is that all the CAC executives should vacate their various positions, although, I know that they won’t follow this advice because of the money they are making. Their corruption is worse than that of politicians.
Nigeria’s problems seem to be rising almost on a daily basis, as a minister of God, what do you think is responsible for this?
The Lord told me that He is angry with this nation because of the shedding of innocent blood and according to the Bible “blood shedding destroys the land”. Concerning President Muhammadu Buhari, God told me that Nigerians should pray for him in order to finish his tenure. My only advice for him is to be patient concerning the Senate, House of Representatives and Niger Delta issues. The Lord also revealed to me that if Buhari wants to succeed, he must change all his ministers because no good thing will come out of those ministers throughout the four years. I pray that they will not cause the downfall of his government.
Since you started the ministry, can you tell us some of the miracles that God has performed through you?
They are too numerous to mention. God has healed no fewer than 40 mad people through our ministry; many people afflicted with leprosy and other diseases have also been healed, all to the glory of God.
Source: PM PARROT