Launching Launching Launching!!!
We are blessed to present to you a new soulful musical album, from the Celestial Church Of Christ, Indianapolis Parish. This spirit filled musical album titled "IRE NI MONI" (Only You I Have) promises to bring to your hearing, several renditions of heart filling Christian melodies. Laden with soul cleansing messages, the tracks you are about to listen to are conveyed in several melodious varieties. These range from Highlife, to contemporary Jazz, Reggae, Waltz and Calypso. Regardless of your musical preferences, this is a 'must-listen' for your musical and spiritual pleasure.
Put together by the CCC Indianapolis Choir, the album features H/E Deji Kayode Nunayon the writer, composer, and lead performer. Kayode has over 10 years of Choir Master experience, starting from the well-established CCC Oke-Ado Ibadan Parish, which was founded by his father S/E Jacob Nunayon. The choir boasts of several internationally renowned performers, including Femi Ojetunde at the keyboard and bass, Seyi Atunnise at the trumpet, Abbey Jibona at the keyboard Abraham Ogunlade at the saxophone and Lanre Olowo at the Solo Guitar. Like Kayode, they all are very well accomplished. This album is a culmination of their performances, which have taken them to several Parishes of the CCC worldwide
The album, available in both CD and Cassette tape will be launched on Saturday the 12th of May 2001 at the CCC Indianapolis Parish premises located at: 909 West 28th Street Indianapolis IN, 46208
Launching will commence at 12:00 noon.
COME ONE…COME ALL!! … And be sure to get your copy. These can be ordered by phone, mail, or electronic mail at:
· Phone (317) 924-4310 OR (317) 924-2516 · E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org · Address 909 West 28th Street Indianapolis, IN 46208
Like our people say, "ke ku le ko gbo, ko so fun t'oko"
Many thanks to S/E Olaitan Balogun the Shepherd and the all members of the CCC Indianapolis Parish for facilitating this spiritual project.
by Regina Medina Daily News Staff Writer, October 19, 2000
There's evil lurking out there in the world.
But thanks to superhero couple Kehinde and Ninilole Akano, there are at least two fewer robbers to prey on Philadelphians.
For their work helping cops nab two alleged armed jewelry story robbers Monday, the crimefighting duo will receive his and hers Seiko watches as well as a good citizenship plaque from the Philadelphia Jewelers' Row Association. The informal ceremony will be at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Safian and Rudolph Jewelers at the corner of 7th and Sansom streets.
Association president Hy Goldberg said the 148-year-old organization felt the couple's effort "should be recognized."
The husband and wife should be appreciated for "thinking fast and good deeds."
They are being rewarded, Goldberg said, because they assisted the community and not just because jewelry store owner George Cherassky was the target of the heist.
"We feel that whenever somebody steps forward to help another individual or the community in general, we would like to recognize them," said Goldberg.
The Akanos took the chance in what could have been a dangerous situation, they say, because it was the right thing to do.
Kehinde Akanos was driving his cab Monday afternoon near 6th and Markets streets when the suspects, who just moments before had stolen a Rolex watch from George's Golden Scale jewelry store - jumped in his cab in an attempt to flee.
The savvy cabbie, who emigrated from Nigeria in 1991, called Ninilole on his cell phone and told her in their native Yoruban to get the police on their three-way phone.
The alleged robbers were apprehended by cops in Kehinde's vehicle at 29th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.
Police arrested Michael Jones, 18, of Gratz Street near Atlantic and Jonathan Allen, 31, of Cambridge Street near 28th.
The pair allegedly entered the jewelry store on 8th Street near Chestnut where they robbed Cherassky.
They were charged with robbery, multiple counts of aggravated assault and related crimes.
Police recovered a gun and the stolen Rolex watch, which was valued at $1,800.
"I just think that it's something that had to be done," said Ninilole Akano, 27, a British citizen of Nigerian descent. "These people are very dangerous and think they can get away with anything."
The two believe their actions may inspire others.
"We encourage people to emulate what I have done," said Kehinde Akano, 35. "When you see crime, you should support the police officer."
Still, some friends of Kehinde Akano expressed concern to him that his heroism had been widely publicized.
"I told them what Julius Cesar said, 'Cowards die many times before they are dead,'" Kehinde Akano said. "People like Martin Luther King can lose their life, so if I lose my life trying to protect the victim, so be it."
"Whatever the consequences," said Kehinde Akano, "I don't regret what I've done."
October 15th, 2000
With a heavy heart but with gratitude to God for a life well spent in the service of Christ, I announce to you the passing away of Lace Superior Elder Sister Shebioba, wife of the Shepherd in Charge of Elephant and Castle Parish, London. The sad event occurred on Sunday 15th October 2000 at 5.00pm, after a brief illness. She is survived by her husband, children and grandchildren. Indications are that a Christian wake keeping would be held on 26th October,2000 and burial the following day. Formal announcements would be made soon.
Hon. Senior Evangelist 'Wole Famakinwa. Website manager CCC-UK Website.
The Comet, By Foluso Ogunmodede
A suit challenging the leadership of the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) resumed at the weekend barely a week after the burial of Pastor Abiodun Bada.
At the resumed hearing, the epileptic power outage which forced most judges to hurriedly adjourn their cases, also prompted Justice Ayotunde Philips to entertain the matter in her chambers instead of an open court.
The suit filed by a senior pastor of the church, Benjamin Dansu Hunkanrin, on August 21, had sought the court's intervention to declare the leadership of Pastor Bada as a flagrant violation of the church constitution.
Hunkanrin claimed that he had received a divine instruction from the church founder, the late Pastor S.B.J. Oschoffa, to assume the leadership to save it from total disintegration.
But, two weeks after the death of Bada, the court, struck out his (Bada's) name from defendants' list as he could not be tried posthumously.
Consequent upon this, Pastor Josiah Kayode Owodunni became the first defendant and the registered Trustees of Celestial Church of Christ joined in the suit as co-defendants.
In the suit, Hunkanrin is asking the court to restrain Owodunni from parading himself as the church spiritual head since he had ceased to be a member of the fold following his secession in 1985.
Supreme Court had in June voided the leadership of Pastor Bada in a suit filed by Owodunni, thereby paving way for a strong contention of the church leadership among pastors.
But Owodunni, in the suit pending at an Ikeja High Court, had filed a counter affidavit claiming that Hunkanrin had no locus standi to institute the action, much more bringing the application as it was not within Hunkanrin's functions and powers to challenge the church and its leadership in court.
Besides, Owodunni stated that Hunkanrin was not only out to secure an injunction described as a panic reaction to the massive support he had received from members, but also to embarrass him, thereby preventing church members form knowing the truth and facts relating to succession to the post of pastor.
In the 17-paragraph counter-affidavit, Owodunni said he had never, at any time publicly or privately in anyway announced secession from the church.
Specifically, the pastor stated that he, on the contrary, successfully challenged the late Bada's leadership and Registered Trustees of CCC who allegedly flouted a divine pronouncement of the late Oschoffa and the church constitution.
He denied any knowledge of the time Hunkanrin was baptised as a church member and his (Hunkanrin's) claim of shepherding any parish as claimed.
Owodunni also picked hole in Hunkanrin's affidavit in support dated August 21, describing it as completely false as it was not in conformity with the church constitution.
According to him, he never founded any known church called "The Oshoffists as claimed by Hunkanrin, saying "it is real falsehood and indeed baseless that he offered money to convert followers."
Backing his claim, Owodunni said by virtue of an interview recorded by Ogun State Television which was viewed during the trial in Suit No. LD/1675/87 between J.K. Owodunni and The Registered Trustees of CCC, the late Oschoffa specifically excluded Bada from being the church pastor.
He, however, debunked the allegation made by Hunkanrin that he was fetish in his religious practices, describing it as spurious.
"It is certainly ethical and approved by CCC to mark Holy Mary's Day as S.99(8) provides that in consequence, the pastor declared first Friday of July every year as Holy Mary's Day to be observed by full congregational service throughout the CCC all over the world. The first observance of Holy Mary's Day took place on Friday July 7, 1978."
He described Hunkanrin's allegations as spurious and unfounded, urging the court to discountenance it.
Justice Philips therefore adjourned the matter to October 31 for definite arguments.
The Comet, October 5, 2000
LEADERS of the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) have endorsed Gilbert Jesse, a senior evangelist, as the acting head of the sect.
Jesse was also said to have been elevated to superior evangelist, dousing speculations that Superior Evangelist Philips Ajose, the Head of the Overseas Dioceses had been offered the headship of the church.
Though details of the meeting held at the Ketu International Headquarters of the Church were still kept under wraps yesterday, sources said Ajose would retain his position as head of the overseas branch.
Members of the Board of Trustees have deliberately evaded the press in a bid not to make statements regarding the leadership and the likely successor the late primate, Rev. Abiodun Bada.
The Comet gathered that the Monday meeting approved the promotion of Jesse to the position of superior evangelist preparatory to his appointment as the head of the church worldwide.
Ajose, earlier tipped for the pastorship, still remain the head of the Overseas Dioceses of the church, putting to rest speculations that he had declined the offer by the trustees to lead the church.
However, when the reporter cornered Senior Evangelist Samson Banjo and Jesse at the Tejuosho home of the latter yesterday, they declined to make any comments in respect of the issue.
As soon as the new acting head of CCC recognised this reporter, he retorted: "Oh, you people (press men) are here again! I won't tell you anything now, when we are ready, we will call you."
Sources close to the sect's Board of Trustees said their refusal to comment on the development might be informed by the fact that it had not been officially announced and there might still be need for ratifications from some quarters of the church before it would be made public.
But at the Ijeshatedo Parish Headquarters of the late Bada's arch rival, Senior Evangelist Josiah Owodunni, he was said to be away, therefore his comments could not be taken on his next line of action since the leadership he craves for seems to have eluded him for the second time.
From Dickson Adeyanju and Muyiwa Adeyemi, Imeko
Saturday, September 30, 2000
AMIDST wailing and eulogies, the remains of the former leader of Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) Rev. Alexander Abiodun Bada was yesterday committed to mother earth at the Celestial City in Imeko, Ogun State even as acting leader Superior Evangelist Philip Ajose narrated the pathetic story of how he became blind.
The chocolate-coloured wooden casket which bore the remains of Bada was lowered into the all expansive, all-white tomb at 2.35pm after a funeral service at his private house in Imeko, the International headquarters of the Church.
As the Casket was being lowered, thousands of faithfuls who thronged the burial site wailed. Bada's close confidants could not hold back their tears. According to the church, the late cleric left behind an aged mother of about 100 years old, wives and children.
Apostle Adebayo Abiola, chairman of the Lagos State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) who preached the sermon during the funeral service, described Bada as a man of peace who strived to give the Church all he possessed in life.
According to the cleric, the best way the church and the nation could remember him is for the church to forge a unity among its members while Nigeria should learn from his honesty and consistency on issues he believed on.
"Anywhere there is a great leader, there is bound to be rancour. But for our Papa Bada, he accomplished his life calling as demonstrated by the expansion the church witnessed in the 15 years of his leadership," Abiola said.
Also in a sermon at the wake-keeping Thursday night, the new General Superintendent of the church Superior Senior Envangelist Phillip Ajose advised the followers to be steadfast and remain one in Christ so that they can tackle evangelism aggressively.
Ajose stated that the choice of Bada as the head of the Church could not be faulted by any human being as it was in line with Biblical provisions.
Contrary to earlier claims, Bada was neither buried in his private residence or near the late founder Prophet S.B.J Oshoffa's tomb. Rather, he was buried at the International Conference Secretariat in the town, close to where the late Superior Senior Envangelist Samuel Ajanlekoko and his wife were laid.
His buried site, covers an area estimated at about an acre in which the all white glass mausoleum was built.
Before the final burial yesterday, Bada's remains, after leaving Lagos, was taken to his family house in IIogbo and his private house in Adigbe all in Abeokuta where there was a brief lying-in-state.
The funeral procession which was anchored by M.I.C undertakers led by Mr. Tunji Okunsanya, had a hectic time warding people off from hijacking it.
During the wake-keeping in Imeko, the casket was opened to the thousands who filed past to catch a glimpse of their leader who was robed in an all-white gown with a white Bible in his left hand and his staff of office in his right hand.
Members of the church from America, Europe, Ghana, Gabon, Cameroun, Cote d'Ivoire and Benin Republic attended the ceremony.
But the event was not without tales of woe as Ajose narrated the event leading to his blindness.
Delivering a sermon at the wake-keeping service in Imeko, Rev. Ajose who is the General Overseer of the Overseas Diocese said that the late Rev. Bada alerted him that the leader of the sect in Port Novo, Senior Evangelist Agbaosi was going to France and as the head of the overseas churches was be briefed by Agbaosi about his mission. "Since they are in my territory I went to meet him and Agbaosi explained his mission to me. We had a good service together in France and I went back to London."
He continued: "As I arrived London, I met a ticket for a flight to Italy dropped for me by Rev Bada that I should meet him there immediately I arrived for an urgent meeting. The second day I packed my passport again and set out for the journey. At Heathrow Airport, an immigration lady asked for my passport. I gave it to her and passed through all the procedures. As she was about returning the passport, there was a slight breeze and I just discovered that I could not see again," he said.
The first thing that came to his mind, he said, was to return home but he later resolved to meet Bada in Italy.
Said Ajose: "I continued the journey but the same lady realised that something had happened to me. She asked if there was any problem. I said no. But she still came around to lead me in the plane.
"It was when I came down from Italy that I knew that I had become a blind man. I heard my pastor's voice but as I was about to embrace him, I couldn't do that because I missed him. I told Pastor Bada. He felt sorry and wept for me.
"But I have received over 500,000 messages with some of them pointing to the fact that it is temporary. That I'm still going to see. That I should continue the work of God and that it is during the ministration that I will regain my sight. But I need your prayers. Always pray for me," Rev. Ajose said.
As Rev. Ajose was narrating his ordeal, some members who could not control their emotions, wept. But he remained undaunted.
He used his sermon which lasted for 50 minutes to prove his knowledge of the Bile as he quoted copiously from the Bible throughout the message.
Ajose is yet to accept all entreaties to make him accept the leadership of the Church but a trustee, Senior Evangelist Adefeso, while addressing the members said that "nature abhors vacuum and there is no leadership vacuum in the Celestial Church."
The Comet: October 2, 2000
JOY pervaded the atmosphere yesterday at Celestial City, Imeko, in Ogun State where Governor Olusegun Osoba, representing President Olusegun Obasanjo, joined members of Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) worldwide to inter the body of Pastor Alexander Abiodun Alexander Bada who died on September 8th at Greenwich Hospital, London.
After five hours of prayer, singing and funeral orations, Rev. Bada was lowered into his grave at a site called Jericho at 3p.m.
Thousands of CCC faithfuls who were expecting to see signs and wonders in the wake of the burial went home not disappointed.
Eyes popped with amazement as members of the church drew one another's attention to seven white smoky stripes that appeared in the sky.
As they were trying to contain their enthusiasm, passions were suddenly inflamed by a mysterious glow that shed a spot of golden yellow light on the white garments of the faithfuls.
In the distance, where a new cathedral was being built, a ball of golden smoke shot into the sky towards a beam of light that shone just as the clouds were parting.
"These are signs that our father has been accepted," explained a leader of the church, Most Superior Evangelist M. Are. "It shows that he is a man of God, and an holy man."
In the sermon read by Special Apostle J.I. Arigbe, Rev. Bada was described as a man who had a pact with God.
According to him, the late leader brought new innovations into the church, which sparked off bold criticisms from some quarters.
"Apart from the liturgy," he said, "he also set up a controversial administrative organ. But he was not bothered by these distractions because he knew he would one day join his Creator whom he had diligently served."
The apostle added that though the Supreme Court may have rejected the leadership of Bada, "God did not reject it, and you 'celestials' did not forsake him".
Noting that people must criticise every great man, he said: "Papa Oshoffa himself was criticised and rejected by cynics who said he didn't wear shoes, and even accused him of likening himself to God with the claims that if people touched his garments they would be healed.
"These cynics witnessed the numerous miracles of Oshoffa, yet they didn't believe him," he said.
Governor Osoba, who arrived with members of his cabinet, left quietly without making a speech.
His convoy had to meander its way out of Meko Road that was heavily congested with human and automobile traffic, which tailed back several metres from the Merryland where CCC founder, the late Rev. Samuel Bilewu Oshoffa, was buried.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade, sent representatives with his staff of office and a goodwill message.
"When I heard of Rev. Bada's death, I was sad, although I shouldn't because whoever comes must go," the Ooni said in his message read by Chief Osanire of Ife.
The chairman of Lagos State branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Senior Apostle Abiola, said in a funeral oration: "Rev. Bada was Baba Oshoffa's child." He added that he was Oshoffa's successor and had gone to meet him.
He pointed out that those who appeared to be happy about his death should realise that they would not get out of this world alive: "It was only Enoch that rose to heaven and did not physically die." ------------------------
The Comet, Sept. 29, 2000
MEMBERS of the Celestial Church are free to bury their pastor, Alexander Abiodun Bada, next to founder S.B.J. Oshoffa in Imeko, Ogun State, a Lagos High Court ruled yesterday.
The High Court, Ikeja dismissed the ex-parte application of Rev. Edward Olayinola Oladokun seeking to prevent the burial in Imeko, the Celestial city.
Mr. Justice James Oduneye said the application to restrain the church's burial committee from going ahead with its plan to bury Bada's body next to Oshoffa's tomb was wrong on the grounds that it was not contained in the writ of summons filed before the court by Oladokun.
Besides, the parties involved in the suit were not put on notice via a motion, the judge held.
Oladokun's lawyer, Mr. Tunde Akinshola, was not in court during the almost 30-minute proceedings, making Oladokun to move his motion ex- parte.
Ahead of preparations for the arrival of Bada's body on Wednesday, Rev. Oladokun, a strong contender for the leadership position of CCC, had sought the court's intervention in the burial arrangements.
Rev. Oladokun said that Bada should not be intered at Imeko, the church's holy ground, because it would erode Oshoffa's good intention. He said the late founder had planned for the burial ground to be a pilgrimage centre.
Oladokun had urged the court to restrain Samson Olatunde-Banjo, Olusola Ogunlesi, Olayinka Afolabi Adefeso, Superior P.H. Ajose and Senior Evangelist Gilbert Jesse from burying Bada as planned.
According to him, the church will suffer an irreparable loss if they were not restrained.
Despite the lawsuit, the burial arrangement had gone on at Imeko with members of the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) putting finishing touches to Bada's final resting place.
The 18ft square (5.4 x 5.4 metres) vault where Bada will be buried later today was taking shape beside the tomb of a former church leader, Rev. Ajanlekoko and his wife, at the back of a massive conference hall on a site called Jericho.
It is situated 500 metres away from the vault of Oshoffa and a few meters from another structure being built for the lying-in-state.
The CCC members said that they saw a strange sign in the sky early yesterday as the sun was rising.
"We saw a sign this morning," said Senior Evangelist Moses Ibipeju Omoakin of the CCC Jordan Parish, Imeko. "We saw a rainbow across the sky. It's a sign that our father was truly a man of God."
Noting that everything about the late leader had been wonderous, Omoakin pointed out: "He died on the same date and at the same month as Rev. Oshoffa."
The Kaduna State Central Choir in charge of the lying-in-state arrived yesterday, led by Snr. Evangelist Innocent Okon, the National Task Force officer of the Celestial Church.
Elders at the church said that any leader would be buried at "Jericho" and that Bada's successor would be buried beside him whenever he passed on.
Outside the Celestial City, townsfolk said they were ready to accommodate guests who may not have a place to stay.
Youths in the town also met early yesterday to deliberate on their role today. Traders had replenished their stocks in expectation of high patronage.
Security was strengthened outside the Celestial City with policemen attached to the state security outfit, Operation Wedge mounting guard.
Lagos State Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu was at Wednesday's service of songs and wake keeping for Bada at the Stadium, represented by his Health Commissioner, Dr. Leke Pitan, who sat on the same row with the head of the Eternal Sacred Order of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church, Baba Aladura Godfrey Otubu, who delivered the sermon, and Dr. C.H. Onabanjo, President of the Spiritual Churches Organisation of Nigeria.
Others at the event were Superior Evangelist Phillip Ajose, head of the Overseas Diocese of the CCC tipped to succeed Bada; Most Senior Evangelist Gilbert Jesse, head of the Nigerian Mission; Most Senior Evangelist Adosu Leyon, Senior Evangelists O.A. Adefeso, O.O. Ogunlesi and S.O. Banjo, members of the board of trustees of the church.
There were also representatives from Benin Republic, Senior Evangelists Paul Goncalves and Tiamon Lucien, representatives from Congo, Snr. Evang. Patrice Aworodema and Assistant Leader Kaliu Drallo from Mali.
Bada's remains arrived at the venue in a gleaming white Chevrollet Caprice Ambulance, decorated with wreaths and simply marked "Celestial Bada."
However, most members of the church and indeed guests who came to pay their last respects to the departed leader were disappointed as the body never left the vehicle in which it was brought due to disagreements between the youths and elders of the church.
The opening prayer at the service was offered by Most Senior Evangelist Jesse. The two lessons, the first from Ecclesiastes 3, verses 1 to 10 and the second, from 1 Thessalonian 4:13-18, were read by Rev. George Amu of the Good News Ministries and Snr. Evangelist Adefeso.
In his sermon, Otubu sued for peace among members of the Celestial Church, noting that the late Bada worked tirelessly to keep CCC united until his death last month.
He urged the church members to keep the late Pastor's dream alive as nothing would please him more in his grave than to see the sect united.
Said he: "You have gathered here tonight to honour him (Bada) and show the love you have for him. But I know nothing would please my friend more than to see you keeping the church united."
Drawing his text from Daniel Chapter 12 which he quoted copiously, he said: "There shall be a time of trouble such as never was, but at the appointed time of the Lord, your people shall be delivered." He told the members that behind every dark cloud there is always a silver lining.
Speaking on his relationship with Bada, Otubu said they were very close friends and were seen together in Kenya in 1997 when he (Otubu) was elected chairman of the Organisation of Independent Churches in Africa (OIAC), and the late Bada was elected the deputy. -------------------------
Newswatch, By Tunde Alao, Sept. 29, 2000
The hearse, a white Chevrolet Coprice ambulance, adorned with banners and balloons, with a giant photograph of Bada placed on the roof, was more like the convoy of the arriving head of state of an important country.
IT was a tumultuous reception at both the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, yesterday, and the National Stadium, Surulere, when the body of Rev. Abiodun Bada, the late spiritual leader of the Celestial Church of Christ, (CCC) worldwide arrived the country.
Prior to the return of the body 'Cele' (as fondly called) faithfuls in their thousands had began to converge in groups at the the airport. The crowd had congregated as early as 12 noon, awaiting the body which eventually arrived at about 5.20 p.m.
The ceremony, for the colour and solemnity was more than a mourning for the dead. It was also the triumphant return of a loved leader.
In addition to the grieving and sorrow normally associated with the passing away of beloved ones, Bada's had a touch of pomp and orchestrated adulation for the life that was well spent.
Death, the harbinger of sorrow and tears, brought for Bada, glory, and honour.
The Cele were at their best yesterday, as all of them turned out resplendent in their trade mark white robes and long gowns of different types of fabric though bare-footed, the members were obvious at the stones and other sharp objects as they clapped, danced and sang with unrestrained frenzy.
Adding colour to the reception at both the airport and also the National Stadium, Surulere, were the impecably dressed pall bearers from MMC Undertakers.
The hearse, a white Chevrolet Caprice ambulance, adorned with banners, and balloons with a giant half-size portrait of Bada placed on its roof was like the convoy of the arriving head of state of an important country.
The church members, parish by parish, held placards with inscriptions such as "Bada is not dead, but alive with his Saviour." "Man of God, Adieu", "The elect of Jehovah and Jesus Christ," and so on.
According to a member, Senior Evangelist Tokunboh, the crowd along Western Avenue, Surulere was split into groups so that there wouldn't be any hindrance to the free flow of traffic." He also said it was to ensure that each parish was able to honour the late pastor distictively.
At the tail end of the Ojuelegba Road, opposite Barracks Bus-Stop, a long traffic queue was decorated, and mounted by group of parishes. They were a delight to behold, as their singing, beating of drums and display of instruments became a soothing balm to any wearied soul.
The reception at the stadium was not by the 'Cele' faithfuls alone, as other members of the public turned out too in thousands.
However, it was not all singing and dancing, there were eyes reddened by tears, and voices gone hoarse with crying and sobbing as the casket was brought to the arena. Most deeply affected were the more elderly, among the faithfuls, especially the women.
An elderly member said what really troubled him as an individual was not the depature of the late leader, but rather, the crisis he left unresolved. Said he: "How can a good man and compassionate leader and father like Pastor Bada be so hated by a clique to the extent of being happy about his death? This is terrible," he concluded.
A member of the group who came from Epe church said about the late Bada: "Bada was as much as a father as a leader. When he was alive, he was always ready to listen to every sorrowful member and proffer solutions to their problems. He may not have wrought miracles, like Oshoffa, but certainly, he served God and humanity like any other great man of God.
But even as preparations were going on to lay the remains of the late church leader to rest, it seems the controversy that trailed his leadership of CCC would follow him to the grave.
A member of the church, Edward Oladokun has asked an Ikeja High Court to restrain the trustees of the church from burying Bada near the burial ground of the late founder of CCC, Rev. S.B.J. Oshoffa. He has averred that where Oshoffa was buried is a holy ground, on which Bada should not be laid to rest.
By Muyiwa Adeyemi and Dickson Adeyanju, Sept. 29, 2000
ACTIVITIES that will culminate in the final interment of the late leader of Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), Pastor Alexander Abiodun Bada began yesterday with the Church faithful paying their last homage to him inspite of the heavy down pour.
The ceremony which was more of a carnival began at the Makoko Parish where as early as 8 am members had gathered for the lying-in-state.
His remains was taken to the church's international headquarters and then to his house for another but brief lying-in-state.
It was directed by Supreme Evangelist Philips Ajose and Senior Evangelist Gilebert Jesse.
Bada's body arrived Ketu in Lagos at 1 pm where the filing pass was delayed for five minutes due to the surging and uncontrollable crowd attempting to have a final glimpse of a leader they have rooted since the demise of the founder Pa S.B. Joseph Oschoffa.
The funeral train departed for the new international secretariat at KM 35 on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway where the body was again laid-in- state.
Some officials of Ogun State University led by its Registrar, Mr. Samuel Ajayi paid their homage to Rev. Bada who was until his death a member of the Governine Board of the institution.
The ceremony at the new secretariat was described as symbolic by the members because the project was initiated and backed by the late leader.
At the M.K.O. Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta, a service was organised for the late cleric. Among the mammoth crowd comprising millions of celestial faithfuls were the pupils of Oschoffa Memorial Nursery and Primary School who were not left out as some took vantage positions around the casket.
As soon as Supreme Evangelist Ajose led the convoy of cars that Bada's remains, the atmosphere became charged and electrified as soon as the crowd sighted the body which arrived the stadium at 5.10 pm.
It was brought by a white Cardillac limousine owned by the Lagos State undertaker in a chocolate colour wooden casket with a white interior.
He was dressed in an immaculate white gown with a white religious cap to match. A white Bible was placed in his left hand, while his staff of office was on his right hand while his dark moustache was well trimmed.
Even the rains could not deter the faithfuls from honouring Bada as they turned out en mass.
The burial prossession was led by Supreme Evangelist Adefeso, Banjo said Ogunlesi, others in the train were Evangelist Ajose and Gilebert Jesse.
By Andrew Bayagbon
IT was carnival-like yesterday at the Yakubu Street, Ketu, outskirts of Lagos home of the late Pastor Abiodun Bada as senior members of the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) received Superior Evangelist Phillip Ajose, tipped to succeed the late Pastor of the sect.
Ajose, who reportedly arrived in the country on Monday, ahead of Bada's body, expected to come in today, was ushered into Bada's compound at 11.40 a.m. by Most Senior Evangelist Gilbert Jesse and Senior Evangelist Samson Banjo.
He rode in a Mercedez Banz jeep, cheerful. Shortly after commiserating with Bada's widow, some of her children and other members of the Celestial family, Ajose took his seat under one of the canopies erected for the funeral, which begins today.
An imposing four-foot portrait of the late Pastor stood at the corner of a special space in front of Bada's home.
Wind of Ajose's arrival reached members of the church, who in droves came in on what could literarily pass for a pilgrimage to welcome the exalted cleric whom most of them were meeting for the first time.
Ajose, dressed in the church's traditional white cassock, donned a purple hat and a purple girdle. He pumped hands and slapped backs at every introduction made by Jesse.
Meanwhile, preparations for the arrival of Bada's body are in top gear at the church and at Bada's home. -----------------
The death of Alexander Abiodun Bada, supreme head of Celestial Church of Christ world-wide offers an opportunity for the Church to put its house in order
By Akinniyi Sowunmi
The death of Alexander Abiodun Bada, 71, the supreme head of the Celestial Church of Christ, CCC, world-wide, whose leadership of the church was nullified by the supreme court on June 30, has offered the church an opportunity to put its house in order. Bada died at a London hospital on September 8 after serving the church in various capacities for 49 years. He joined the CCC as a pioneer member in 1951. A release from the CCC headquarters in Ketu, Lagos, signed by P.H Ajose on behalf of the pastor-in-council, announced the demise of the embattled church leader.
Newswatch learnt that Bada, who became head of the church in 1987, two years after the death of Samuel Bilewu Oshoffa, pastor-founder of the church, had kidney problems, ulcer and diabetes. Though Bada himself and the church have been trying to shroud the late pastors' ill health, Bada has been going for kidney and diabetes treatment abroad since 1997. At his birthday celebration last year when he turned 70, Bada was said to be very ill and frail looking, such that he had to sit throughout the festivities. He left Nigeria in July this year for treatment in London. His corpse will be burried at Imeko, Ogun State September 29 after funeral rites that include lying in state at the National Stadium Surulere, on September 27 when it arrives Nigeria.
Bada was renowned for his patience and the peaceful ways he conducted the affairs of the church. P. H. Ajose, Bada's deputy has been appointed by the Church's trustees to succeed him, while Gilbert Jesse, a senior evangelist of the church has been selected as Ajose's deputy. The trustees decision put to rest Josiah Owodunni's bid to lead the Church.
Josiah Kayode Owodunmi, one of the trustees of the church had gone to court in 1985 to challenge the appointment of Bada as successor to Oshoffa. Owodunmi won the case at the high court, though the appeal court upheld Bada's appointment. The supreme court in June this year, granted Owodunmi's prayer to set aside Bada's appointment on grounds that it did not follow church's constitution. Though the supreme court agreed with Owodunmi that Bada's appointment did not follow section 111 of the church's constitution on the selection of a successor to Oshoffa, it directed the church to amend the knotty and controversial provisions in its constitution, particularly as regards succession to the headship of the church. The court refused to proclaim Owodunmi the new leader of the church.
CCC constitution stipulates that a successor to Oshoffa should be divinely revealed through a vision and proclaimed by the founder before his demise. By the time Oshoffa died in 1985, there was neither a vision nor proclamation on the founders successor creating a 15-year legal controversy on the appointment of Bada by the church's trustees.
The trustees were still fashioning a new constitution for the church last week when Bada died. With his death, the church will not only have a constitution that can be operated, the CCC has also been able to decide that Owodunmi who had unilaterally declared himself the head of the church at a press briefing on July 8, following the supreme court's judgment, and repeated same at Bada's demise is not the church's leader.
A new constitution being fashioned out by the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) Worldwide may discard 'Pastor' as designation for the church's head, to undercut the basis for a decade-long leadership tussle.
Indications have emerged that the designation, 'Head of the Church', may be substituted for 'Pastor' in the new code book expected after the burial of the immediate former head, Pastor Abiodun Bada, slated for September 29.
Most Senior Evangelist Gilbert Jesse broached the impending realignment to The Comet on Saturday in Lagos. He said when it is adopted and ratified by the Board of Trustees, the word 'Pastor' shall cease to be the title of the church's new leader.
"You can call goat a Pastor. Anybody can be called a Pastor, that does not shake us. In the Celestial Church, we have had two Pastors-(the late founder and spiritual head, Bilewu) Oschoffa and Bada. Anybody who is going to head the church now, according to the new constitution, can be called Head of Church. We are not even after the name Pastor again. Let them (contenders for leadership) call themselves pastor," he said.
Evangelist Jesse, the professed head of the Nigerian mission of CCC, acknowledged having held telephone conversations with Superior Evangelist Phillip Ajose, head of the church's overseas mission who is reportedly reluctant to take up the leadership mantle after Bada. Jesse said he was persuading Ajose to have a rethink.
He also acknowledged being pressurised by some persons to have a shot at the post if Ajose declines it. But he said he could not claim what did not belong to him.
"People who are pushing for my candidature are exercising their freedom of speech. But as for me, I am not interested at all. I am contented with my present position. Let my boss (Evangelist Ajose) take up the post. I am ready to give him my support to make sure he succeeds, no matter his disability."
However, the option of constitutional review is not going unchallenged by a prime leadership contender, Evangelist Josiah Kayode Owodunni, who declared the move a nullity. He anchored his position on the fact that only the Pastor or Pastor-in-Council, comprising the Board of Trustees is vested with the power to conduct such an exercise.
"There can be no amendment to the documents," he said, citing sections 143; 144; 151-154 of the current constitution which empowers only the Pastor to convene the meeting of Trustees as well as make a final pronouncement on any issue.
Another contender, Evangelist Agbebakun Okhuese of CCC Ikeja Parish I has declared his right to the pastorate. According to him, his selection as the successor to Pastor Oschoffa was relayed to him in 1987 through some members of the church who claimed to have been sent by the Holy Spirit.
To back up this claim, a statement signed by the Church Chairman, Snr. Evang. S. Aigbokhai, Patron Hon. Snr. Evang. J.E. Ohiomah and Church Secretary Superior J. Ebikhumi, all of Afuze Parish, Afuze in Benin, Edo State, affirmed that Prophet Okhuese was chosen during the "Seek God Messages" on Power Day, September 8, 1985 at Mercy Land, Afuze.
The statement reads: "As it was being said by the late Pastor Founder, Rev. S.B.J. Oschoffa that (the) Holy Spirit will choose his successor, and in confirmation with (sic) the prophecy of our prophets and prophetesses of this 27-year-old church, we believe the message strongly that Prophet Okhuese is the chosen CCC Pastor worldwide."
There is another contender, Rev. Edward Olayiwola Oladokun, who has criticised the appointment of Superior P.H. Ajose and Senior Evangelist Gilbert Jesse as the Supreme Evangelist and Deputy Supreme Evangelist respectively. While declaring himself Pastor of the church, he argued that nobody could succeed Bada because "Section 178 of the constitution made the post of the Supreme Evangelist personal to him in his lifetime, it does not provide for a successor after his death. "The post of the Supreme Evangelist is not synonymous with the post of the Pastor, who is the ultimate spiritual head of the church."
He recounted his Thursday, August 7 meeting with some members of the "Women Council, CCC Worldwide" at his residence in Ikorodu where he asserted three times that, if indeed he (Oladokun) was the "divine chosen successor" to Pastor Oschoffa, that the Supreme Evangelist A.A. Bada would die if he refused to publicly renounce his alleged membership of a traditional fraternity. "By divine coincidence, the Supreme Evangelist Bada died in London early Friday morning of 8-9-2000! Indisputedly (sic), I am the 'NEW PASTOR', he said.
Oladokun also debunked claims that Evangelist Ajose is the next in rank to the late Supreme Evangelist Bada. Rather, he argued, Superior Benois Agbaossi was next to Bada, followed by the late Superior S.O. Ajanlekoko, before P.H. Ajose. Following Ajose is Godwill Abiassi; Senior Evangelist Jacob Ediemou, trailed by Evangelist Kayin of the Ghana diocese. He threatened to charge Superior Evangelist Ajose and Senior Evangelist Jesse with fraud, conspiracy and stealing along with the members of the Board of Trustees if they touched the church's revenue; adding that his earlier expulsion of Honorary Evangelist J.K. Owodunni from the church stood.
September 22, 2000; By Andrews Bayagbon, Religious Affairs Reporter
THE Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) announced yesterday details of the burial of its late Pastor, Supreme Evangelist Alexander Bada.
Unfolding the week-long programme to reporters at the International headquarters of the church in Ketu, Lagos, the Chairman of the Publicity Committee on the burial, Senior Evangelist Sammy Shotunmi, said the ceremonies will kick off at the United Kingdom national headquarters of the CCC in London, with a commendation service on Monday between 5 and 7 pm.
Bada's body will lie in state at the Chapel of Rest, Brixton Road London, from 10 a.m to 4p.m the next day while on Wednesday, it will be conveyed to Nigeria aboad a British Airways flight billed to touch down at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport at 5.25 p.m
It will leave the MMA in a motorcade for the National Stadium, Surulere at 6p.m for an all night inter-denominational service from where it will be taken at 10 am the next morning for a farewell stop-over service at the national headquarters of the church in Makoko , Lagos, where Bada once held sway as head of the Nigerian mission.
From the Makoko cathedral, the body will leave for Bada's Ketu home from where it will be taken in a procession to the Ketu international headquarters of the church for a brief service before departure at 2.00 p.m to the new international headquarters of the church at Kilometre 35 on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway for a whistle stop at a project he initiated a fear years back.
Not undermining the biological family of the late Pastor, Shotunmi said the body would lie in state at the Adigbe country home of Bada in Abeokuta, Ogun State, between 3 and 4p.m after which it will be taken to the International Conference Centre, Celestial City, Imeko, Ogun State, for a Christian wake-keeping and prayer vigil .
Bada's remains will be interred at the complex at 10 a.m on Friday and a thanksgiving service on Sunday at the Makoko headquarters in Lagos.
Shotunmi said the chairman of the burial committee, Senior Evangelist M.I Jolapamo, left the country a few days ago for the UK to ensure that there were no hitches in the programme.
According to him, "the church has involved all the dioceses and parishes worldwide from Europe, Canada, Asia and the Americas, exchanging ideas and programmes to ensure proper articulation in the final programme."
He said visitor s will be coming from all parts of the world, both members and non-members of the church, to pay their last respects to the departed pastor.
However, he declined to comment on other issues involving the budget for the burial, leadership of the church and the involvement of the Federal, Lagos and Ogun State governments in the burial, pointing out that his committee was not given the mandate to speak on such issues bearing in mind the controversy that trailed the leadership in the past.
He directed further questions to the Board of Trustees.
Sept. 10, 2000
THE remains of the Head of the Celestial Church of Christ, Pastor
By Andrews Bayagbon, Staff Reporter, Sept. 11, 2000
Sept. 13, 2000
By Remi Edwards-Adebiyi, Senior Correspondent, Sept. 14, 2000
By Foluso Ogunmodede
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