He is by ever stretch an accomplished and consummate man of God, whose adventure into the vineyard of God through his fast-rising and ever increasing congregational church, Inri Evangelical Church, located on the outskirts of Lagos State and with many branches in Nigeria and abroad. Talk of one servant of God that has an infectious and lasting effect on any one that has the rare opportunity of meeting him for one reason or the other, then you are talking of mercurial and highly spiritually-endowed Primate Elijah Ayodele. However, one unique and distinctive thing that resoundingly and remarkably stands the Servant of the Most High God, as he is also fondly referred to, is his free-giving nature and extremely generous nature, especially on every February 14 of the year, which happens to be his birthday and interestingly Lovers’ Day i.e. Valentine’s Day. Last February 14 was not an exception for the Primate as he was again in his element dishing out gifts in cash and kind to many of his adherents and sundry human beings who came to rejoice with him on the Thanksgiving Day of the Church. Yinka Sotayo, Publisher of Newsthumb Magazine was among those who besieged the man of God to hear him out on how and why he chose to be a giver without let or hindrance. Enjoy the excerpts….
How did you become a prophet seeing prophecies?
Well, I didn’t use to go to church before and I didn’t believe that there was God as at then. I was so much in love with fetish and magical things. I was born in Lagos. Then I went to my village. I stayed in Mushin when it was a municipal area comprising of Oyingbo, Mainland etc. So, when I went to the village, I started associating myself with different people. Actually, my step-mother trained me. She is a woman I appreciate so very much because she told me everything I needed to know. She taught me how to be very hard working. Initially, back then, I used to believe that she was punishing me, but when I sat down and thought over it, I realized she was training me and even my mother cannot do anything different. She taught me in a hard way and I appreciate her efforts so much, so, so much now. So ever since, I started learning how to help people. But the day I was to celebrate my 17 or 18 years birthday, I started attending church. I actually started in the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), from there I moved to the Celestial Church of Christ (CCC) and from there I joined the Scripture Union (SU.) When I left the SU, I joined a Gospel Church; I also attended the Catholic Church. So, what I am trying to say is that the journey has been so fruitful. I love the journey. Although, I passed through a lot of challenges, but the bottom line is that I got to understand God more and I now greatly appreciate Him. The lessons I learnt in my Christian journey are how to give, how to manage human beings, how to work very hard and then have a plan. You must have a template of maybe 10 to 20 years. That was the journey so far before we now started our church. I initially did not want to work in the Vineyard of God but I was just giving my token, and when we started our church in 1993, we started at home before we decided to find a place. We did a New Year crossover night, and when we finished, we just saw a crowd and when people started pestering me to have a church, I was just reluctant and my own was that, that 31st or 1st, I will just run away. But a girl now told me that we should visit a mountain in Ibadan, and so we went. We were praying and I didn’t know why we were praying, they told me that they were training me. So, finally we dropped three names for the church and one prophet came out and said this is the best that I should pray on it when I get home and they said if it is this man that will lead this church, let there be rain at a place and at a point let it stop. So, nothing happened and when it was my turn, I believed that nothing will happen. Then, it rained at Ilasa and it did not get to our area. Someone came in and said it is raining at Ilasa Bus Stop and I said, why? So we now said, let there be rain at this place too. Then we now told God to show us a Rainbow sign and He did. I now said; let me start the responsibility, because I don’t want to take up a responsibility that I will not be able to say something about in the final analysis.
Sir, congratulations, I learnt you are also celebrating your birthday today…
(…cuts in.) I am not celebrating my birthday. What we are only doing today is an Annual Calling. You see, when the Pentecostal movement started, there was one guy called Zoe of the Zoe Ministries. Somebody came from there and promised to change my status if I could partner with them. He also pledged to change my 505 car then and offered me a whopping and staggering one million Naira and then one million is like a hundred million naira today. I don’t like to be deceived because I do not deceive people. So one needs to be careful and look at himself properly to know what he wants for himself. Once again, I cannot deceive people.
Sir, I know you are a man of vision, determination and a courageous person, and for years we have been hearing of different churches. What is your advice to followers on real and fake men of God?
It is the work of a man of God to help his members to succeed either in prayers, fasting or advice. But, if any man of God is deceiving anybody that is pretty bad.