Pastor of Citadel Global Community Church formerly known as Latter Rain Assembly, Dr. Tunde Bakare has gone down memory lane unearthing his age long romance with the Christian faith, his early political career and his relationship with some top Nigerian pastors.
In a three-hour online interaction with Dele Osunmakinde, Bakare went as far as giving insight into how he lost fellowship with Bishop David Oyedepo, Pastor Mathew Ashimolowo, Pastor Enoch Adeboye and how the fellowship was restored.
Starting from his days in the university he gave a line by line account of his journey in the Christian faith.
He told Osunmakinde in the live broadcast that his romance with the Christian faith started with a vision he saw when he was being circumcised at the age of 10 in 1964 while he was still a Muslim.
Bakare said it was during the circumcision that he saw a vision of a pillar of light that showed brightly and how the light formed a great impression on him. He said he gravitated towards the light and waded through a stream of water to get to the pillar of light. He said he had just been circumcised and saw himself in pool of blood when he screamed and was trying to share the vision with those around him.
The scene of the vision was to play out 10 years later when he was invited to a Baptist church where he went to take pictures for a client as a professional photographer. That was a few years before he got to the University of Lagos where he studied law.
At the Baptist Church, he discovered there was a baptismal service and he was asked to hold on to take shots of the service. At first the baptism was strange to him being the first time he would enter a church in his life.
‘I was wondering why they were dipping themselves into water and was saying if they wanted to swim, why don’t they go and swim. But after the baptism, I was told there was going to be a communion service. I used to think those who were giving the communion were those who were about to die because of my experience back home. But that day on September 24 1974, Pastor Emmanuel Alabi gave a brief exhortation before the communion service.’
As the preacher was preaching on the topic “Jesus the light of the world”, the memory of the vision Bakare had in 1964 at his circumcision as a Muslim came alive.
That was the turning point. He soon gave his life to Christ noting that nobody could have preached to him before then to accept Jesus.
He was deep in Islam. Apart from being the son of an Imam (Islamic cleric) and a mother who was an Alhaja, he had also completed his quaranic education and was a thorough bred Muslim. But he met the Lord.
That was the situation he was in before he gained admission to the University of Lagos in 1977 where he joined the Varsity Christian Union which according to him celebrated 50 years recently. Incidentally, Bakare was the guest speaker at the anniversary of the LVCU.
Bakare who said his ambition in life was to be a lawyer, a business man and then the president of Nigeria did not mince words giving clinical details of all those he worked with both in his career as a lawyer, his journey in faith and how they impacted his life.
He said he had met Gani fawehinmi before he got admission through a free education scheme Fawehinmi was involved in. While on Campus he had also led a group to meet the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
He described Fawehinmi whom he later worked with as a workaholic who would work from 8am to 3 am and come back to the office again the following day by 8am.
He also worked with Chief Rotimi Williams known as Timi the law; a man he described as strategic in the evolution of the legal profession in Nigeria along with Chief Fawehinmi.
Giving a background of his student days, Bakare stated that he enjoyed real and lively fellowship while on Campus. He recalled that the LVCU was so respected that the university consulted the fellowship before any strategic decision was taken on campus.
Herecalled also that the union was a thorn in the flesh of occult groups on campus revealing that he was involved in all the social and political life on campus and yet was able to maintain his Christian integrity.
While recalling that he and Otunba Gbenga Daniel, former Governor of Ogun State were great friends on Campus he said both of them were involved in the youth wing of the Unity Party of Nigeria founded by Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
He said Awolowo who died on May 9, 1987 was not called a sage for nothing. ‘He was the one who taught us not to drive government car if we are holding political office, live in government house or put our hands into the till.’
Still talking about campus fellowship, he said “the fellowship of believers on campus have become stratified on denominational line” noting that the denominational spirit in the Church today can be traced to the campus fellowships where students’ pastors are almost becoming a law to themselves ‘living with a chip on their shoulders’
On his voyage in the denominations, Bakare said, ‘ when I gave my life to Christ I was in Baptist church and was there for the first four years of my Christian life. Within those four years I was so thirsty for the Lord that I read through the Bible 16 times.’
He said somebody had ministered the Holy Ghost baptism to him and he had started to speak in tongues. But the Baptist church then would not have any of that. He eventually had to leave and later got introduced to foursquare church before he moved to Deeper Life church.
Williams Kumuyi Deeper Life
It was in Deeper Life that he began to see the underbelly of church politics and the nuances that almost derailed him but for the genuine salvation experience he had.
He said he was delivering a talk at a one-day seminar in the church and he was giving an illustration on faith saying faith has to come side by side with understanding. He illustrated faith using a television commercial.
Unfortunately the interpreter rather than relay television as amóhùn máworan, he interpreted it to mean the devil’s box. That got him annoyed. Attempts to make the interpreter say the right word proved futile. He had to leave the church few days after when he discovered that the interpretation was endorsed by Pastor Williams Kumuyi. Attempts to get him back to the church failed.
Pastor Enoch Adeboye
He settled back home and was attending another Baptist church when his photographer came to invite him to Redeemed Christian church of God. At the RCCG he narrated how he bonded with Pastor Enoch Adeboye and how they practically saw themselves on a weekly basis.
He said it was Pastor Adeboye who named his first child. He said they were so close that it got to a point when he needed to take a loan, Pastor Adeboye released the document of his only house then as a security for the loan.
Though he did not eventually use the document, he described Adeboye as a man who has great faith and great love noting however that ‘the best of man is a man”
Bakare however parted ways with Pastor Adeboye not long after the model parish of the RCCG began. He said Pastor Adeboye knew nothing about the idea of the Model Parish promising to write a book on it where he would state the facts and fictions concerning the model parish.
He said when God gave him the vision of the parish he was led to a property on Ladipo Oluwole street, Ikeja which according to him was slated for demolition. It was after work had begun on the property that Pastor Adeboye was invited and he was asked what to name the parish and he had mentioned to him “model parish of RCCG”.
Bakare who was the Senior usher in RCCG at a point said when he joined the Church he brought some young folks like Pastor Tony Tapu and a host of others to bring finesse to the church noting that he was uncomfortable with the appearance of some people in the church. This is coupled with some other practices in the church which he could not relate with.
But then, when the Model Parish began, Bakare said he and some members of the church spent days praying and fasting for the parish to have sound footing. But all that came to a head when he signified his intention to leave the Church in obedience to God’s instructions.
That was the point of departure. The decision to leave apparently did not go well with Pastor Adeboye who allegedly made some unpalatable pronouncement on him.
Bakare had to meet Pastor Kumuyi on the matter. He however stated that he and Pastor Adeboye has since made up stressing that Adeboye made so much impact in his life.
He said, ‘kumuyi taught me, without holiness no man shall see the Lord. Adeboye taught me without faith no man can please the Lord.”
While recalling that he had to do another baptism when he joined RCCG he said of Adeboye, ‘we had unique relationship. Adeboye has the capacity to put old and new cloths together. That is why the classical and model parish have become a success’
Bakare eventually left RCCG on October 1 1988 to start Latter Rain Assembly.
On Bishop David Oyedepo he said though he had issues with him too but that they had already made up. Recalling what caused the separation at the time it happened, he said, ‘ we were involved in a program in Abuja and I saw that he was anointing the palms of people with oil and declaring that their hands will begin to attract wealth.”
He said he asked him what that meant wondering how anointing somebody’s hands will make wealth gravitate to that person. He said Bishop Oyedepo tried to link it to his experience with Pastor Adeboye and what he told him about Jezebel but that he was not satisfied with the explanation. He eventually had to part ways with him.
It was after that experience according to him that he did the series on television tagged the “synagogue of Satan” years ago. He tore the book of Oyedepo in the course of the message stating however that Bishop Oyedepo came to him to challenge him for tearing the book in an atmosphere of love. ‘what I told him then was that I did not tear his books. He was the one who wrote it but I was the one who bought it with my money. So it’s no longer his book’
Bakare went on talk about his relationship with Pastor Mathew Ashimolowo saying that they were so close to the point that he was the first trustee of Ashimolowo’s ministry but he had to re-sign from his trusteeship the moment he became uncomfortable with his practices.
He said of Ashimolowo that he was at the forefront of righteousness in the UK Church wondering what happened to him later. He recalled an incident of one of his pastors who left his church.
Ashimolowo had thought he was the one who encouraged the pastor to leave. Bakare recalled how Ashimolowo barged on him accusing him of being treacherous. Bakare said he slammed the door on him that day, warning him never to accuse him unjustly again.
The truth eventually came to the glare. Both parties eventually made up. He said the last time he saw Pastor Ashimolowo was at the burial of Archbishop Lanre Obembe last year.
He recalled his relationship with Bishop Mike Okonkwo saying he has maintained a cordial relationship with him. He stated however that their relationship had also been tried.
Bakare also spent time talking about his relationship with Lester Sumrall, the US based prophetic teacher of the word who went to be with the Lord on April 28 1996.
He recalled how God brought the two of them together in miraculous circumstances and how that exposed him to a global mission.
He shared in the course of the interview how God enabled him to wade through temptations in his legal career. He mentioned an instance where a lady brought an offer to him on getting a particular license and how he jumped at the offer even when he did not know anything about procuring such license.
He said the client agreed to pay N60k and had agreed to bring the money the following Monday. He was happy about the deal and was already going to price items he would buy with the money.
But as God would have it he got to Church for Bible study which was being held by Pastor Adeboye. He said it was as if God had gone to report him about the deal because as soon as he stepped Adeboye mentioned the exact deal he was getting involved in and the exact amount in his message.
That was too exact for him to continue with the deal. He said he rushed to the woman the following day and said to her that he was no longer interested. When the husband of the woman heard why he came to decline the offer he was so impressed that he surrendered to Jesus wondering how a man could be so faithful to Jesus to decline a juicy offer.
He said he had to turn down several offers on the basis of integrity stating that being a lawyer is no room to misbehave. While noting that Jesus is our advocate and would not tell a lie so why should a lawyer tell a lie. “Most of the laws used in the judicial system were derived from the ten commandments.”
Bakare said he won his first case in the court of appeal when he was just 21 days old in the bar recalling that Chief Fawehinmi was full of joy when he heard how he performed in the court.
He encouraged young ministers of the gospel to stay true to their calling.
For those who want to go into full time ministry, he stated that, “if you must go into full time you have to depend on God for your survival. Don’t become a fool by putting pressure on people for your survival. As far as I know, only the Levites were full time in the Bible.”
He described the prophetic ministry as a slippery terrain because “you will pay kindly for it if you misled the people. Don’t manipulate people. You can prophesy loud and clear but God can change his mind. Remember the case of Nineveh. God changed his mind because the people repented. I don’t tell people I am prophet.”
He recalled his relationship with Morris Cerrulo and how that relationship catapulted him to a lot of open doors outside the country. At a point he was given the offer to be vice to Cerullo. He however turned the offer down because God had need of him here in Nigeria.”
Story by Gbenga Osinaike