Nigeria: Ife/Modakeke: Bonnke Set to Break the Ice

By Chris Anucha, 2 December 2002

Lagos — _Returns for reconciliatory crusade in communities

Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke may well be on the path of making history. If what the Holy Book(Bible) said about “If God does not watch a city, the watchmen watch, but in vain” is anything to go by, then the people of Ife and Modakeke may have at last chosen the right process to peace. The people of the two warring communities, going by emerging signals may have realised that the much needed peace in the- ir domain can only be achieved through spiritual intervention, rather than political. This is after the two communities have been on war path for ages with many lives lost and several peace moves evolved without the desired result. Towards the new intiative, Christians in the two communities are said to have invited the German-born Bonnke to hold a crusade to be specially devoted to enthroning lasting peace in the spiritual headquarters of the Yorubas.

The Crusade, which kicks off on Wednesday, City Diary gathered, is to seal the peace accord signed by the warring Ife and Modakeke Communities on the initiation of their leaders last year.

On November 25,2002, a large crowd of Modakeke women were seen singing and dancing to Christian praise songs as they marched to the palace of the Ogunsua of Modakeke, Francis Adedoyin.

Policemen and palace guards, having mistaken them for rioters, wanted to stop them but, Adedoyin, who had earlier been informed by the women of their plan to stage a peaceful rally, quickly intervened to enable them go ahead.

Addressing the excited crowd, Adedoyin said the planned crusade was coming at the right time.

“We are happy at this divine intervention in our affairs. It is evident that lasting peace is coming to our two communities. There will be no more war”, he said.

The monarch promised to co-operate with the organisers of the forthcoming crusade to make it a success.

City Diary gathered that a delegation led by the Obafule, High Chief Solomon Omisekan, visited the Lagos office of Christ for All Nations,the body overseeing Bonnke’s now regular crusades in Nigeria, to invite Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke to come to the area to solely hold the crusade for the peace initiative.

Venerable Ayo Bamosu, a member of the delegation, confirming the move, said the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, sent for the German-born evangelist to assist to salvage the community.

“We recognise that the Socio-political crisis, facing Ife can only be tackled spiritually. We Know that Bonnke is a servant of God, who can do it”, he said, explaining that when it eventually became clear that Bonnke would honour the invitation, the Oba gave the crusade full backing.

“When God eventually led Bonnke to respond to our call, the Kabiyesi gave all his support to ensure that the crusade achieves its desired goal”, he said.

Bamosu, who is the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN), lamented that Ife has always been thrown into one crisis or the other, adding that the community was eagerly waiting for the evangelist.

Addressing journalists on the crusade last week, Chairman of the Organising Committee,Pastor Ebenezer Osasonu, said Ife and its environs was facing divine chastisement as a result of idolatry. He said several shrines, such as the world shrine of Ifa, the shrine of Sango, among others, still exist in the city. He argued that sin, especially idolatry, is the root cause of Ife’s problems, adding that sin would always be a reproach.

He expressed the hope that at the end of the crusade, the communities would no longer be the same.

Also speaking, the Director for West Africa, Rev. John Darku, said that Bonnke, who is best known for crusades throughout Africa, was prepared for what he called a crucial crusade this time around.

Apart from saving souls, Bonnke’s mission in Africa was to ensure that people live in peace and love one another, saying that since love was the pillar of all the commandments, there is need to reconcile Ife and Modakeke so that evangelism in the communities can make impact.

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