His Most Eminence Dr Solomon Gboyega Alao , JP, is the Supreme Head, Cherubim and Seraphim Unification Church of Nigeria, an umbrella body of all C&S churches with the primary aim of restoring the unity of the church and standardising it liturgy and practices. He tells EMMANUEL ABODUNRIN about the divine assignment God has placed in his hands, the challenges and his desire to stop idolatrous practices in the church
So, when did you join the C&S fold?
I became a member of the C&S Church in the early 60s. Prior to that time, I used to dislike the C&S Church with a passion. I was born into the Baptist Church and I believed the Baptist Church was the best denomination. The belief, though erroneous, that C&S members go into hallucination after clapping and clapping during their revivals made me disliked them. However, I got married and my wife turned out to be the daughter of an Aladura man, Baba Abiola by name. In fact, the late Baba Abiola was the Head of the Sacred Order of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church. My wife went out one day and before she returned I discovered she had kept a white prayer garment in her wardrobe all along. Of course, she would not wear it at home. When she came back, I confronted her, saying, ‘So, you have the effrontery to bring this garment into my house. How dare you?’ But when I said I would use the garment to scrub the floor, she insisted that it was very good material and that we didn’t have to waste it. So, she cut the garment and made two pillowcases out of it. That was to tell you how much I disliked the C&S Church. At different times, I attended the Methodist Church, Catholic Church and the likes but none of them pleased me except the Baptist Church. It got to a point that I stopped going to church but I allowed my wife to attend church services but not in a white garment church. I only allowed her to worship at the Baptist Church, where I seemingly thought I belonged because I was a founding member of the Ikate Baptist Church. I allowed my wife to go to church on the condition that my food must be prepared by her and not the domestic worker. So, one day, I went into the church to drag her out in the midst of the congregation. I was that bad but I was doing that out of ignorance. It got to a point that I didn’t even want to allow her to go to church any more.
A day after my wife tore the prayer garment to make pillowcases, a friend of mine came to me and said he wanted to go and see his prophetess and would like to use my car. However, because I wouldn’t give my car to anyone, I offered to take him to the prophetess myself. So, when we got to the church, I reached for my pen and a paper and was about to start jotting things down in the church but before I knew it, I was already in the front of the congregation and I didn’t know how I got there. That was the last thing I knew before I passed out on that day. Before I knew what was happening, I had been involved in a revival in a Benin City church. They (the church) said they knew I was coming for the revival and they testified that Christ had converted me. They testified that I had been called by God and I knew deep down that I had been called by God even before they said it.
Three years after I started attending the C&S Church, my wife refused to join me because she thought I would soon abandon the church for another as I usually did. When I hated the C&S Church, God never waged war against me because He knew I would still be a tool for him.
What were you doing as of the time you became converted as a C&S Church member?
I was doing an insurance job; I was already in a senior cadre in the industry. I was an assistant manager at the time.
The primary aim of the Unification is to restore unity in the C&S Church and standardise the liturgy and practice of the sect. As the Supreme Head of the C&S Unification Church, would you say these are being achieved?
The bottom line is to have one head for the church, which is the goal and the ultimate but it has not been very easy.
So, what are the challenges you are facing?
The challenges include the activities of some white garment churches involved in patent idolatrous practices. How do we speak to them? How do we make them stop such practices?
You mean there are C&S churches involved in idolatry practices?
Yes, there is no hiding of the fact; they do not believe that what they are doing is idolatrous. So, how do you describe the usage of red and blue candles, St. Michael candles and candles with breast, among others? I tell them that if St. Michael throws down his candle today, everybody will run. Carrying Apoti Eri (the Ark of the Covenant) is also idolatry and St. Moses Orimolade Tunolase, who founded the C&S Church, did not build the foundation on such practices.
So, you do not believe in the carrying of the Ark of the Covenant and what have you
Yes, I am totally against it because the Ark of the Covenant they carry now is fake. The Ark of the Covenant that Moses and Joshua carried in the Bible consisted of four things: Two tablets of the law, known as the Ten Commandments, which God gave to Moses; Aaron’s rod which budded, and a jar of manna. You can’t produce all of that and I have been telling them. Even if you can replicate the Ten Commandments by carving it out of a stone, can anyone produce the original rod of Aaron? So, I said if you cannot produce the rod of Aaron, I won’t support the carrying of the Ark of the Covenant in the C&S Church. However, if anyone can produce the rod of Aaron that budded, then I will throw my spiritual rod into the ocean and follow him. I have said this in the public and I remember one of the groups in Oyo State threatened to sue me, saying that I was exceeding my boundary as the Supreme Head of the C&S Unification Church. Idolatrous practices have given us a lot of bad names and it is a challenge that I am facing now but it’s reducing. It’s the greatest challenge I have ever faced.
What’s your opinion on the issue of ranking in the C&S Church? Some people say it is an unnecessary distraction in the church.
It is because they are either mischievous or Christ ignorance. C&S members are soldiers of Christ. In heaven, there are ranks when you talk of angels; even in the military, there are ranks.
Talking about your role as a leader in bringing the C&S members together to have one church under one leadership and the enormous challenges you are facing, would you say you are making progress?
I have been looking for ways to set up my own media team. As the head of the unification, I am not earning anything from anybody. I do not believe that priests should earn salaries.
Is it wrong for a pastor to earn a salary from the church?
Yes, it is. I am being a revolutionist here; I am not easily persuaded but I am easy to be convinced. So, if I have a superior argument on this, I will change my position. Samuel was given to God by Hannah. At the time when the congregation provoked him, he said to them: From whom have I taken anything? And the congregation replied him saying: Man of God, you have taken nothing from anyone. In Nehemiah, when he was to offer thanksgiving sacrifice on the altar and the remnants are meant to be eaten by the Levites, Nehemiah 7 says: Alas! The Levites have gone to their farms. Which means the Levites were working? Again from whom has Christ ever taken any money?
I am not against prophetic gift, however; I want to make that clear. But you (a priest) must not look up to church members to give that.
Let’s assume that you are not getting any prophetic gift and you are not earning a salary, how would you survive?
A priest should have something doing to feed himself. If Elisha was receiving gifts all the time, he would not have told Naaman that that was not the time for receiving gifts. I am on OGTV every Saturday at 2:00 pm, and I am funding about 95 per cent of the programme. After the programme, my account details will be displayed on the screen and I always say to the viewers and my supporters that I don’t want fraud money and woe betides you if you pay such money into my account.
How do you get the cooperation of the members of the C&S Church who have yet to identify the Unification body?
I will say so far, I have their cooperation. At the initial stage, I am not the first Olori (Supreme Head). The first Olori was Captain Abiodun Emmanuel, followed by Afolabi Ogunkunle, then Adesanya before I came on board in November 2014. I have the advantage others may not have had in that I am an exposed person in and out of the church. God has been exceptionally kind to me in that I do not have to look up to anybody, not even my children before I feed well. My predecessors may not have had such an opportunity. I have the opportunity of exposure to the West and the best climes all over the world and they are really helping me, and I thank God they realised this grace in me. Because of the opportunity, I had as a former Chief Executive Officer of a company and a well-groomed person, before I embark on anything, I consult. I know my allies and those who will not buy my ideas. So what I do is to sell my ideas to them before I bring it to the open. So, when I bring my programmes to the open, I receive a good and welcoming answer. However, some people still raise a voice against but the majority carries the vote. So I then get closer to those against me and make them my friend.
What is your reaction to some Pentecostal pastors preaching against the C&S Church and its doctrines?
Some of them say whatever they say about the C&S church due to ignorance and others are just being mischievous. They are probably doing it just to discourage C&S members and create the opportunity to bring them into their own folds. But some of them, down in their heart, know that what they are saying is not true. They come to people like us when they have issues and after the issues have been resolved, they go to other churches for thanksgiving . However, it is our fault, not theirs; not everyone who calls himself an Aladura is a C&S member. Some of them are impersonators but if we make a noise and speak out, they will see the truth and people will know the right place to go.
What words do you have for the impersonators?
There was a particular Reverend, whose name I won’t mention, who did all sorts of negativities in his church. If it had been in a C&S Church, the issue would have gone more viral but because they have a good publicity team, they were able to manage the crisis to a large extent. As an Aladura, it is our publicity that we have to put in place. We have to blow our trumpet by ourselves. I think some of these problems will be solved when we open Moses Orimolade University. If oil drops on a white garment and a coloured garment, the white garment will be very obvious and that’s one of the reasons. The devil is using those people to attack us because the devil will not attack his own kingdom. We are now getting stronger to educate those who are spoiling us. Some of them are doing it because they are hungry. I have a 12 point agenda and one of them is my political agenda.
What is your political agenda, Sir?
To encourage youths to go into politics.
Is it bad for Christians to go into politics?
No, it’s even unbiblical for Christians not to go into politics.
How would you encourage the youth to go into politics?
We let them know that politics is not dirty and if it’s dirty, we need fresh water to lighten the thick dirty water of mud there.
Was that why you went to Aso Villa in Abuja to see the President?
Not really; the way I started the meeting with President Buhari, even if he had wanted to give us something, he won’t give us again. When I met him on January 4, 2019, I said: ‘Your Excellency, you are indirectly aiding corruption. When clerics, Christians and Muslims, come to you to give advice and pray, you must not give them money because it is their duty to do so.’ I went there because I wanted him to see the difference between those he has been calling and me, and he saw it. I believe that if we have more children of God in politics, things will change. Because if we are not there, we won’t be able to influence anything. I told the President that if anybody broke the law of the land, such a person would not be a C&S member. If anyone steals government fund, it would not be a C&S member. If anyone inflates contract, it would not be a C&S member; if anyone takes a bribe, it would not be C&S member. Then I said: ‘Mr President, if you need people with untainted character, we have them in abundance in the C&S Church. You can always call on me and I will refer them to you, and they all exploded in laughter and that is my agenda.’
What is your advice for youths, particularly members of white garment churches, on how to keep peaceful, enduring and lasting marriage like yours?
Spirit of give and take is very important. In my family, my children cannot divorce. Even if you have a wrong wife, that is your luck. I don’t allow divorce; the worst is to separate for a while but divorce is a no.
Are you against divorce just for your family or for the entire C&S Church?
For the entire members of the C&S Church, because it is not good, it affects the children and it has a serious psychological effect on them. So if you want your children to be happy in future, even if you marry a hopeless woman, you have to try and endure it. When issues arise, it should be resolved. Patience, understanding and tolerance are key.
What are your achievements as the supreme head of the Unification?
Well, as the Supreme Head of the church, I may not be able to list my achievements but they say there are changes. It is not for me to score myself but because evangelism is my core mandate, there is nowhere I cannot evangelise. I believe that even if Satan is staying with me physically for six months, Satan will repent if I evangelise to him. I strongly believe that because I won’t keep quiet and I will keep preaching to Satan. This in a way gives me the privilege. I won’t preach stupidity; I will let him/her see the reality of it. God is in charge, not me. But the problem is when the spirit gets hold of me, even in the midst of the storm, I will still speak out.
How many landed properties do you have sir?
I only have one house in Surulere, Lagos; there is no second house and I decided not to have another one.
Have people offered to give you houses before?
Yes, when I was in service I was offered a house in Ikoyi but I said no because I am a man of the people. There was also a politician that God has used me to solve his problems. He offered me houses in Ikoyi but I refused them. In 2015, a political party came to my house with a large sum of money but I refused it. Not many priests can do that. You know when you are called by God, God will give you the ability to say no when it is important.
What is your vision for the church and is the position of the Supreme Head of the Unification a lifetime one?
The position of an Olori (Supreme Head) runs for a tenure of ten years. But my passion is for me to have the grace to anoint my successor. Even if people do not want me to leave, I will make them understand it is better for me to leave and put somebody there who I can mentor.
The giant is sleeping, when the giant is awake, it will shake the world. If God gives me the grace to have the strength and to be alive in the next few years, the C&S church is going to be a better place. I already saw this coming.
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