…Iya Adura builds church, residential apartment, town hall, Oba’s palace
By Segun Adio, who was in Igbaye (Sunday Oyebiyi supplied photos)
The story of His Royal Majesty Oba Joseph Moronfoye Okunlola-Oni Ejilolu IV, the Onigbaye of Igbayeland, in Odo-Ottin Local Government Area of Osun State, and the attendant successes he has brought to the community cannot be told in one fell swoop and will continually be recounted by several generations yet unborn.
Since he ascended the throne of his fathers in 2007, Oba Okunlola-Oni had criss-crossed the country and overseas seeking to bring development to the serene but remote community where he is the traditional ruler.
A learned monarch that he is, Oba Okunlola-Oni was convinced that his reign in the community must come with it abundant development in human, material and infrastructure. That search for communal development took him to many countries beyond the shores of Nigeria to the point where he and Rev. Mother (Dr.) Esther Abimbola Ajayi met in London a couple of years back.
Oba Okunlola-Oni’s search for a divine helper from God to help him transform his ancient community to a modern one finally paid off when, sometime in 2017, he went to worship in the London headquarters of the Love of Christ Generation Church (C&S) where he met with the world renowned philanthropy, Rev. Esther Ajayi.
Eventually, Oba Okunlola-Oni had his prayers answered after coming in contact with Rev. Esther Ajayi where he had been asked by the Woman of God to name whatever he wanted for his kingdom.
The monarch, while recounting his first London encounter with Rev, Mother Esther Ajayi, said that the foremost philanthropist had asked him during a service, to name those things so dear to his heart that he wanted God to do in his kingdom.
He went on to recount that he had solicited citing a branch of the Love of Christ Church in his community, the construction of a befitting town hall for the community, and a complete overhaul and completion of a suitable palace for him, all to which Rev, Mother Ajayi responded in the affirmative.
Barely two years down the line, all projects that Oba Okunlola-Oni sought have been delivered to the community courtesy Iya Adura Agbaye Esther Ajayi, a woman whose philanthropy is unrivaled, at least among the black race in the world.
Today, the Igbaye community of Osun State boasts of a 600-capacity, fully furnished branch of the Lover of Christ Generation C&S church, an eye-popping palace for His Royal Highness, a first class town hall all furnished to taste, to the Glory of God.
So, on Saturday, February 22, 2020, the entire Igbayeland came to a standstill for the unveiling of the projects carried out in their community by Rev. Mother Esther Ajayi. From the academia to the royalty, from the laity to the business world, the lurch Igbayeland was a beehive of activities for sons and daughters who brazed all odds to return to their town for the commissioning of the laudable projects put in place by Rev. Mother Ajayi.
The first of the projects to be commissioned was the Love of Christ Generation C&S Church (The Glory of God Shine branch) in the community, which was not only a beauty to behold, but strategically located at Imuleke Road, border with neighbouring Okuku town. On the sprawling expanse of land where the church is built, Rev. Mother Ajayi also erected a magnificent residential villa for her and her family anytime they stopped by to worship in the church. The residential building, in itself, was quite amazing.
Several hundreds of people had been seated from as early as 8:00a.m for the programme that was scheduled to commence at 11:00a.m.
While the well-wishers were seated outside the church auditorium, no one was allowed in until the arrival of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi (Ojaja II), and his wife, Olori Wuraola Naomi Ogunwusi, at 2:39p.m, who joined in the cutting of the tape leading to the dedication of the sprawling church auditorium. This was immediately followed by a prayer by Rev. Mother Ajayi herself, while she led in the rendition of seven Halleluyah, Hossanah, Iye and Ogo.
The Ooni and Onigbaye were joined in the service by several beaded traditional rulers of neighbouring communities up to Offa in Kwara State, while many Men of God of other denominations were also on hand for the celebration.
In her welcome address, Rev. Mother Ajayi commended the oba and people Igbaye for their show of love and also playing good host.
She used the occasion to tell everyone present that her mission for building the church in that community was her resolve to ‘bring Christ closer to the grassroots’ in the guise of the Cherubim & Seraphim organisation.
She also urged everyone present, especially would-be members of the church not to mingle with the world by joining to practice those un-Christian acts. The foremost philanthropist was quick to announce for intending members of donation of free Bible, free food every Sunday service as well as a promise of two pairs of prayer gowns for any member found to be committed to the church. This drew no small applause from the joyous congregation.
Speaking at the event, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, showered encomiums on Rev. Mother Ajayi for her unparalleled philanthropy, especially her show of love to Igbayeland. Hear him, I greet the C&S Church, I greet the LOC, and I greet Iya Adura for all she has been doing. I am happy because of the life of Rev. Mother Ajayi and her family and for the purpose that we are all here today,” he said. The foremost Yoruba monarch then went on to tell the story of the genesis of the LOC Igbaye that was just unveiled.
In his own reaction, Oba Okunlola-Oni, who sang a modified C&S hymn, ‘Lokede Ayo Naa Fun Gbogbo Aye, P’Onigbaye di Serafu,’ to the admiration of all present at the event. It was worthy of note that scores of well-wishers at the event, who had not been opportune to have a copy of the LOC customised Holy Bible, were freely given copies, while testimonies later revealed that not a few people from Igbaye and other neighbouring communities had signified interest to worship the God of Orimolade at the LOC church.
Immediately after her address, Hymn ‘Egbori Yin Soke Enu Ona’ was rendered by the choir, signaling the end of the church dedication, while Baba Aladura Michael Ebahor of the Eternal Sacred order (Hotonu Mother Church) said the grace at 3:01pm.
From the church, everyone proceeded to the Igbaye Community Open Ground venue of the reception, where popular gospel musician, Lanre Teriba , otherwise called Atorise, was on standby to entertain guests while sumptuous meals were served.
But dignitaries would not come for food too soon as they all headed straight for the palace of Onigbaye for the dedication of the new palace edifice and also the nearby Town Hall built by Iya Adura Ajayi. All the royal fathers at the church dedication joined their colleague in the event which was also led by the Ooni. Of course, by the time they all returned to the open field with a tumultuous welcome from the sea of heads there, Atorise sang to the admiration of all.
The lavish party at the open field, which had villagers not only from Igbaye alone, but several surrounding towns and villages, did not end without the launch of a Yoruba newspaper, ‘Akogun Oduduwa’ by the Ooni and Rev. Mother Esther Ajayi. Residents of the community and well-wishers ate, danced and made merry far into the night of Saturday in celebration of the new dawn at Igbayeland.
If the events of Saturday, February 22, would be described as ‘awesome’, that of Sunday, February 23, 2020, could simply be classified as mouth-watering. Sunday, February 23, was meant for the thanksgivings of all the commissioning of the previous day and where else would be best suited for such thanksgivings than the newly-built church complex?
So, that fateful Sunday, worshippers from Lagos, Osun, Oyo and Kwara states as well as other non-Seraphs gathered early enough to start the thanksgiving service as scheduled for 11:00 O’clock. As is her tradition, Iya Adura Ajayi surprised everyone as she was dressed ready for the service before people started arriving.
In no time, the capacious auditorium was full to capacity save for the front rows reserved for Very Important Persons (VIPs) expected at the service. The service started at 11:00a.m with Rev. Mother Ajayi ringing the bell nine times signaling the call to order for the service to begin.
With opening hymns sung, the thanksgivings service was in full throttle by the time several royal fathers that grace the previous occasion begun to saunter into the auditorium. Since it was a purely thanksgiving service, and with hymns, Bible Lesson, three members prayers all performed, Rev. Mother Ajayi soon took to the pulpit to give the sermon, which she did to the admiration of all that were and around the vast complex.
In her sermon, which she anchored on the need to focused on God at all times, Iya Adura Ajayi declared to all that her mission in life was “to make people love the Cherubim & Seraphim Church anew.” She also used the opportunity to encourage residents of Igbaye and other adjoining communities to worship at the church, while assuring them that their supplications would be promptly answered by God once they belonged to the church. There was also an assurance of meals for members of the church every Sunday service, while many new converts into C&S church would also be rewarded with two pairs of prayer gowns by the church once they were sure of their resolve to worship there.
Shortly after the sermon, some groups came forward to make presentations to the Ajayi family. First to make presentations were members of the C&S Unification Campus Fellowship, who were led by their National President/Apostolate, Apostle Sola Arigbangba. In his short address, Apostle Arigbangba told the congregation of the coming 40th Anniversary of the Fellowship this 2020 which has been tagged ‘Isokan @ 40’.
The Campus Fellowship had two awards to present and the first went to Rev. Apostle Ademuyiwa Ajayi, who was awarded as Distinguished Grand Ambassador of C&S Unification Campus Fellowship, while Iya Adura Ajayi was also conferred with the award of Distinguished Grand Ambassador of C&S Unification Campus Fellowship. That was not all, Rev. Mother Ajayi was promptly reminded of the important roles earmarked for her during the 40th Anniversary of the fellowship coming later. In her response, Rev. Mother Ajayi assured the Fellowship of her partnership with them during the forth-coming anniversary.
It was remarkable that the Odo –Ottin chapter of the C&S Unification Church of Nigeria in Osun State, were also on hand to present an award to Rev, Mother Ajayi, who in turn, encouraged them to forge ahead in the Unification ‘project’ as she said that the C&S church could only grown and reach its ‘promised land’ in unity which is best achieved under the Unification setup.
Since the Sunday service was merely for thanksgivings, several notable gospel singers were invited to entertain the audience to the glory of God. First to perform was Evang. Elijah Akintunde, singer of the famous ‘Olorun Ko So Bee’ music. He truly received a standing ovation at the end of his performance. Next was Lanre Teriba, clad in white Buba and Sokoto, and who soon sent the entire complex aglow with his trademark dance steps and songs.
It would be the turn of the Adegbodu Twins to sing praises to God and when they took the microphones, not a few members sang their sonorous songs along with them. Then came Dare Melody, who was clad in white garment, and also sang to the admiration of all present.
After the dancing and singing, it was time for testimonies and first to take the microphone was the ‘happiest man’ at the event, the Onigbaye of Igbaye himself. He was full of praises on behalf of himself and the entire people of his Kingdom to Rev. Mother Ajayi for what she has turned their town into. He even said the people of the community were mooting giving Iya Adura Ajayi about 100 acres of land for her to be used as Crusade Ground. A good singer that he is, the Onigbaye ended his speech with songs from the C&S hymn book.
Next was the monarch of Ogunmakin in the state who used the occasion to recount the challenges of his community but with assurances that the God of Iya Adura Ajayi, which he said he believed in, would join to cleanse the land. The monarch thus requested Iya Adura Ajayi to anoint him with a anointing oil handed over to her for blessing, to the admiration of all. It was a moving site to behold as the monarch extolled the God that called Rev. Mother Ajayi.
The thanksgivings service came to a joyous end with a closing prayer said by Rev. Apostle Ademuyiwa Ajayi, who prayed for peace and abundant joy in Igbaye land and for journey mercies back to various destinations of everyone present at the event. Baba Aladura Ebahor later said the Grace.
If anyone thought that the stress of the two days would force Iya Adura Ajayi to head straight to Lagos, that person would be wrong. Several minutes after the church service, the Iya Adura’s entourage proceeded to the community school close by where a novelty football match between LOC football team and a select team from Igbaye was organised, all in honour of Rev. Mother Ajayi. As if by design (but which is not) the LOC team won the match via penalty shout-out after a one all draw in regulation time.