A popular pastor, Solomon Oladimeji, who is founder of Cherubim and Seraphim Church, Orisun-Ayo, with branches at Alapere, Ketu, and Odogunyan in Ikorodu area of Lagos, has confessed to being a member of the Ogboni confraternity.
Oladimeji, 65, says that there is no stigma that should be associated with the cult which is rumoured to be a gathering of evil doers by most Nigerians.
In this interview with SUN, Oladimeji, who is also a member of the Christian Association of Nigeria talks about blood sacrifices, charms and his views on the misconceptions of practising Christians in Nigeria.
When did you become a member of the Ogboni, and what were the circumstances that prompted you to be a member?
Although, my journey as shepherd for Jesus Christ’s flock is over 40 years, I became a member of theOgboni society over 20 years ago. Initially, I was initiated into the Aborigine Ogboni fraternity, that is the one they call Ogboni Ibile, but later I joined Saala Ogboni fraternity, and since I made that decision, I have no regret.
As a member of Ogboni fraternity, my life is having a meaning. I have prospered. My coast has been enlarged. Members of my congregation are increasing everyday. I also thank God that due to my diligence as a committed member, I have been able to rise to the enviable position of Oluwo within the Ogboni fraternity.
Are your members, that is members of your church aware that you belong to Ogboni fraternity?
What is there to be hidden? I am not ashamed of my association with Ogboni Society, and I don’t hide it from members of my church. They all know that I’m a leader in the Ogboni group. When you even come to my house, I openly display my regalia as Ogboni chief. Let me quickly tell you this, by making my members know that I’m Ogboni member, it makes me popular among them. They describe me as an open and honest person. For that, many of them have been voluntarily coming to me pleading to be initiated as a member of Ogboni fraternity.
Some people would think that you use charms on them?
Why should I use charm on them or to charm them as some people will say? God forbid. I’m a child of light; darkness or anything evil has no place in my life or church. Your member will like you, when they know that the power you are using to solve their problems is power from Jesus Christ, my Lord and Saviour. I have never committed evil in my life and I will never do so till the day my Lord calls me home.
Are you saying that charm doesn’t exist?
No. I’m not saying so. Charms do exist, but it depends on how you use it. I used herbs and leaves combined with other items to prepare soap, anointing oil for members and other people that are having spiritual problems.
It is unfortunate that today a lot of Christians are suffering out of ignorance. You see some saying it is what my pastor or what my prophet tells me I believe. I will never use any soap, cream, oil by just any minister of God, but only if those members know what those pastors are doing.
Some of these pastors and prophets come to people like me to acquire power to perform miracle and wonders. Some of them are even Ogboni members like me. But they are hypocrites. I will never deny somebody who is my benefactor, and that is why you see me wearing and displaying beads and other items being used by Ogboni fraternity. To me, what matters again is saving life, and it doesn’t matter where you get saved whether it is in the house of babalawo or any juju priest. We are all calling on the name of the same God.
In my neighbourhood, both at Alapere and Odogunyan, many residents know me both as a cleric andOgboni leader. In fact, Baale of Odogunyan, that is the community leader, knows me as the Oluwo ofSaala Ogboni. I’m highly respected in the community. I joined the Ogboni fraternity because I like their ways of life. They are decent people. Contrary to misconception some people have about Ogboni, that we are evil people. Far from it, rather I will say that Ogboni members are not only children of Light, but we are also messengers of the Most High God because, we don’t kill but only save lives.
But some people believe that Ogboni is evil, and that it is an evil association condemned by the Bible.
Those who say so are ignorant. They have been brainwashed by our colonial masters. But thank God, we are now in a different era, and we can all be reading the Bible without relying or depending on what the imperialist swould want us to believe in order to suit their own purpose. Some will tell you that Ogboniis evil because they use juju, they still carry out sacrifices of various forms by shedding blood of animals, and birds. Some even out of ignorance say we eat human flesh. Rubbish. May Almighty God forgive our traducers.
If you are talking about sacrifice, where did the Bible condemn sacrifice? Let our accusers point it out either in the old or the New Testament. Throughout my years at the seminary and the Bible school, I never come across such.
Then the sacrifice you are talking about, on several occasion especially in the Old Testament, sacrifices were carried out to atone for the sins of the Israelites.
It was also often carried out when the children of Israel were looking for one favour or another.
But coming down to the New Testament, don’t mind those confusionists who say that Jesus Christ, my own Lord and Saviour condemns sacrifice, what a big lie. If you can still remember when Jesus Christ himself was born the day His parents Joseph and Mary were taking Him to the Synagogue, Joseph has to sacrifice doves, and pigeon. He took the birds to the church. You can read in the book of Matthew and Luke.
So, if the parents of Jesus, my Master, the Author and Finisher of my Faith were involved in sacrifice, why would I say I want to distance myself from such?
Again, they accused us pastors of asking some people that have problems to go and bathe in a running stream, what is wrong with that, did such not happen in the Bible? Have we forgotten the story of Naman, the Syrian Army General who had leprosy and was looking for a cure, how Prophet Elisha asked him to go bathe inside River Jordan, and Naman was healed after complying with the prophet’s instruction, and this is why I said some people are dying due to ignorance.
Sacrifice is biblically ordained. I sacrificed animals and birds to offer prayers to cure and heal people of their ailments.
When I pray for you and it is revealed to me that I should kill duck, cow or even goat to offer prayers for you, I will tell you to make available such animals for sacrifice, and the moment we do that, you receive your healing.
When I kill fowl, goat, duck or even cow for sacrifice to heal somebody, I have not in any way transgressed. I’m only doing the will of Jesus Christ, who is my personal Lord and Saviour. Whatever is outside the Bible, you will never see me doing it.
Even in the book of Revelation, the use of leaves and herbs was recommended for healing. And for those who describe Ogboni fraternity as a cult, this is wrong. Ogboni is a society. We are transparent and honest people. Ogboni abhors evil. We are organized and disciplined. A cult is a group of people involved in secrecy, we are open to scrutiny. Let those who out of hearsay say evil about Ogboni be bold and come to our meeting and see whether it is true that we drink blood.
All those pastors saying rubbish about Ogboni are doing so to attract membership.
You say you sacrifice animals, if that is what is needed for someone’s prayers to be answered, but the Bible says Jesus has done that by His death, are you not going against the Bible?
Far from it! Whatever I do as Ogboni Pastor is biblically ordained and inspired. If you read your New Testament very well, Apostle Paul who is regarded as one of the most dynamic evangelists of his era says that without shedding blood, that there is no redemption. Am I the one that put that in the Bible? Even when Jesus Christ was about to be dedicated, His parents, Joseph and Mary took pigeons and doves to the church which were slaughtered as a sacrifice.
You also read in several other places both in the Old and New Testament where blood sacrifice took place. You remember the case of Cain and Abel. I even read Bible before I carry out this killing of animals as sacrifice in order to save souls.
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