Interview

How I Was ‘Arrested’ By God To Spread The Gospel – Afolabi

Apostle (Dr.) Johnson Afolabi, popularly known as, Okoto Jesu, in this exclusive interview narrated to our Oyo State correspondent how he encountered God and eventually dedicated his life to
evangelism. Excerpts:

Tell us about yourself; your background and you divine call?

You have just asked a big question. I am Apostle (Dr.) Johnson Afolabi, popularly known as, Okoto Jesu. I was born on the 22nd of February, 1960. God called me into the Ministry in the year 1977. I came from a very poor family; because my father was a herbalist but my mother was a staunch Muslim, My father converted into Islam because he wanted to marry my mother. But once he got what he wanted, he returned to his erstwhile traditional religion. Due to this reason, my mother despised my father and she sent me to go and study Arabic language. But something happened at that particular period as my grandmother took that opportunity to teach me more about Ifa divinity. She was of opinion that as her grandson, I must be well versed in African traditional religion. The old woman revealed to me that when I was born, the Ifa oracles foretold that I was seen with white garment; probably a reincarnation of Obatala whose apparel is white. This I did not understand, because we were worshipping many gods in our household then such as Ogun, Sango, Oya, and Esu. Although I did not join them to worship those idols, yet my grandmother believed I was a deity, bowing down to me and according me excessive adulation. But, funny enough, certain changes started taking place in the household especially when she praised me. This sent a good signal to them that I am a special one and was sent back to Quranic School and I finished my studies and did the mandatory Walimah.

There and then, I detested Christians and Christianity. I joined others calling them (Christians) ‘Kiriyo’. Whenever anybody comes for the revival at Ilesa, we would go there and scatter everything. But when it came to the turn of Prophet Timothy Obadare, we asked ourselves who Obadare is? An ordinary blind man. Even a man with two eyes came and he was dealt with. How would a blind man be deceiving us? I did not know that God had set a trap for me. That was how God arrested me! I had some boys that worked with me then. Once Prophet Obadare announced that a miracle is about taking place, we would do something that will bring pandemonium into the arena and everybody would scamper for safety. Sometimes we would get gloves for ourselves and place ourselves at strategic locations. Once they closed their eyes to pray, we would just blow “werepe” (dried mucuna leaves) into their midst and people will begin to scratch their bodies and the Prophet will be thinking that a miracle is taking place and we will be making jest of them that truly miracle is taking place. But when he found out, Prophet Obadare would say; “this is not a miracle but an attack from some people. But the Lord said He will arrest the ringleader the way He arrested Saul (Paul) and used him for the course of the gospel”. I will just reply him from afar off; “how can God use me, it is you that God will use. And the second day I would come with ten cats. Once they said miracle was about to taken place, we would quickly release those cats into the crowd and who will see a cat without running for his dear life? Obadare will still come forward and Prophesy that God will use the ringleader of that group. So the more he prophesied, the more I got annoyed. Thinking that after I finished my Quaranic studies and did Walimah, how can you say God will use me?

There was a man called Ajagbemo Keferi in Ekiti State, it was this man who trained the Ajagbemo Keferi of Ibadan. And I was under the tutelage of the Ajagbemo Keferi of Ekiti and the one at Ibadan happened to be my most senior. I am well versed in the Holy Quran and I believe that there is no being that is superior to Prophet Mohammed. But I thank God, one day as I went as usual, on getting to the crusade venue, I heard “you are welcome”. Then, I became unconscious, I said who are you? He said “I AM”. It was a great crusade with great crowd, and then people there were speaking in tongues here and there. I heard “you are welcome once again”. I was dazed. It was as I got drunk and at that point, I began to confess all the evil things I have done. I said Prophet Obadare, I was the one who threw stone at your vehicle car last time you came and broke your screen. I was the one who brought cats to disturb your pragramme. Those who could testify to this matter were Obadare himself, Prophet D. O. Babalola, Pastor Awee, Paul Olaiya who is now at Igbajo and one of Prophet Obadare’s disciples, Pastor Olaniyi Agunwo (now late) and Abiola now in Lagos. They were all there and when Pastor Paul Olaiya took me, since I had been on his wanted list for the havoc I wrecked in the course of the said revival. I was locked up in a certain room and asked me to be praying. I didn’t know how to pray the Christian because I was a Muslim. Then one of them said; “You see that boy is a thug, you must not allow him to step out of that room. All of them were showing where they sustained injuries as a result of my attack. At that point, I just had to give up, but on the seventh day of my being in that room, they asked me to come out so that I can go break my fast with garri. I then discovered that they have been keeping vigil.

I managed to join the programme and that was when I received the Holy Ghost. After that, I was locked up again in that room. So as I was going to buy garri, I just saw a lame body and asked him of where I could buy garri and he said he did not know where I could get it. Hearing this, I became furious and shouted at him, “get up and go and buy me garri!” Instantly, the boy got up and began to shout: “God of Obadare has raised me up.” I said finally, the secrets behind these people’s falsehood were being revealed. I said you thought I was a thug and pretended to be lame and you now discovered that I wanted to beat you now got up. I never believed the boy was born lame until the miracle took place in his life. He was 18 years old then. People were just shouting; “God of Prophet Obadare has healed him ooo”. It did not make any meaning to me. After all, I returned to where I was kept in the room, I was taking my garri then I saw crowd coming to me and I saw the lame boy pointing his finger at me saying, “this is the man”. This of course, terrified me and I started explaining in a sober mood; “Sir, I did not beat him oo”. One man said; “He claimed you were the one who asked him to get up? I replied that I said that when I knew he was pretending. They said he was not pretending, and that he was born lame some 18 years ago. Then the news travelled around Ilesa in 1977. This is me since that time. I give thanks to God for His mercy over me. It could be hard for you to believe that I am a primary school older and learnt tailoring work, so that tailoring is what I was doing when I was persecuting Christians. For your information my brother, I suffered in life. Even the primary school I attended, I sponsored myself. My mother divorced my father and I became a garage boy.

That was where I got some of that rubbish I practiced. After giving my life to Jesus, I had a room in my grandfather’s house, I will now be singing all alone in the room. One fateful day, as I was singing somebody who I couldn’t see was backing up the music. Then I said. “Who can that be?”. I wanted to see this man who is backing up my voice and I couldn’t see him. Later the voice began to multiply itself. Before when I was singing, I would still be using that same mouth to play beats to it, but from that moment there was a divine intervention. As I sang, they back it up with voices and different kinds of beats. I now started praying that God should open my eyes to see those who were backing up my music and the instrumentalists. And then I saw an angel for the first time in my life. He alone was backing up my music, but it seems as if it were the voice of 40 people. Once that angel clapped, you would hear all kinds of musical sounds. That was what made me a prophet, once he clapped, I will begin to dance, and I now preferred to stay in my room. I didn’t want to see anybody. I began singing series of new songs. Anytime they said somebody wanted to see me, those angels would reveal the purpose of my guest’s visit. The moment I opened the door, I would reveal why they came to see me and tell them the way out to their problem. Then those people would be saying “This is a mystery” and immediately, I would close the door.

As time went on, people started coming to our house en masse. One day, Baba D. O. Babajide said “Brother Johnson”, I responded “Kabiesi sir”. He asked whether I have applied for training, I said I don’t need to undergo any training again, because I have been laying hand on people and they are receiving healing. I even told him that some people had come to me that the Lord said I should light seven packs of seven candles in seven places that God wants to use me worldwide so that my light will shine around the world. Prophet Babajide now said these fakes prophets will hijack you because they know you are an embodiment of God’s grace, but they will waste everything. I said; “thank you sir, you really saw it. They have been coming to me”. I then asked him that where should I go to be trained. He said there are many Bible Schools but the one you must attend is that of the man you persecuted and through whom God saved you. That was how I finally arrived at Prophet Obadare Bible school. As somebody who has never seen Jesus before, neither seen the light, I later discovered that all what I had been doing before were darkness, including Islam. God saved me in 1977 and subsequently called me in that same year. God now led me to be holding revival around Ilesa town. So I gained popularity from Prophet Obadare. Whenever he had a crusade at any place, he would ask me to come along with him. In 1983, we came together to a crusade in Ogbomoso, before I now came back to Ogbomoso in 1989.

You are celebrating 30 years of impactful Ministry in Ogbomoso, can you narrate how you finally returned to this city?

I resigned from Prophet Obadare Ministry in 1984 and God asked me to come to Ogbomoso in 1985, but something happened in 1983 that made me to vow never to step my feet on the soil of Ogbomoso again. So when I left Ogbomoso, I drove along Ilorin and when I got to Gambari, I packed some sand as a token that I will never come back to Ogbomoso.

What transpired then Sir?

After the crusade I came for with Prophet Obadare, he asked me to wait for him in Ogbomoso in 1989. And before that, I have been conducting a vigil with someone who had a problem; his name is “Kasolayo”. He lived around Idi-Oro area in Ogbomoso. This man was looking up to God for a child. People then started pleading with me to start a church in Ogbomoso. I refused to plant a church in Ogbomoso, sometimes I would go to Warri and Onisha to stage revival and also had branch to Nnewi and Enugu for the same cause. So, anywhere I went, I always experienced signs and wonders. At a time they gave me land at Warri, but God said I should go back to Ogbomoso and I asked him to provide money for posters and handbills. God provided but I spent it. God provided money for five times and I spent all, but the last one, God said He is not going to provide money again. After that time something terrible happened to me, God took my two eyes, I could not see again. God insisted that he wanted to use me in Ogbomoso town and I arrived at Ogbomoso as a blind person. My first revival in Ogbomoso town was held at Anglican Grammar school, I mounted the podium blinded and there were signs and wonders. When I arrived at Ogbomoso almost all the churches in Ogbomoso started holding revivals so that their members would not come and attend my own programme and we held our own revival for two weeks, to cut the story short, after the revival in Ogbomoso, God surprisingly opened the eyes immediately after the first revival. That is the reason why we are staging another two-week revival to commemorate our 30th Year Anniversary.

What were the challenges faced so far and how have you been able to overcome them?

I bless the name of God. Challenges are normal in the Ministry, it shapes our calling and brings about maturity in us. When I first arrived Ogbomoso, I saw what they called ministerial challenges. What happened then was that when I began my Ministry In Ogbomoso, people who had been deceived and duped by fake prophets were liberated and this of course, propelled those fake prophets to summon me to their meeting and warned me that if I did not join them, they would attack me. And I thank God this is me today because I stood for what God called me for. As I am taking to you now I have over 22 branches of our churches across the country.

How did you get the inspiration for that your popular song “Ilekun mi ti si”?

I have composed too many songs and I have released numerous records. One of them is “Mi o le balo”. Let me speak on “Ilekun ayo mi ti si”. The song came when I overcame a certain problem of those who pulled out of the church, my deputy and 3 people that we started together pulled out with some people in the church. When I was disturbing myself over it, God told me that those who left are not your sheep and he said he will now open a new door. And when he finally opened it, it went beyond my capacity. That was when the song came that “Ilekun ayo ti si, orun si nti rojo ore, emi mimo la-la sepe ise, o mu ikolo pada wa”.

Your advice for your fellow men of God?

My experience with God taught me that we were all called for the great commission but with different purposes and different assignments. Everyone must stay focused with his assignment without losing focus and ensure that you fulfill the calling.

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