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Posted by By TUNDE THOMAS on 2006/02/28 | Views: 917 |


The story of Elijah Afe, an evangelist and pastor of Christ Apostolic Church, Egan, on the outskirts of a Lagos, is a paradox of a chilling extreme. His case is that of a self-confessed saviour who cannot save himself.

The story of Elijah Afe, an evangelist and pastor of Christ Apostolic Church, Egan, on the outskirts of a Lagos, is a paradox of a chilling extreme. His case is that of a self-confessed saviour who cannot save himself.

It seems as if his spiritual arsenal has been badly depleted with his lifeboat drifting on the stormy sea of life like a rudderless ship. By his own confession, his erstwhile foes that he used to fire and scatter at will with his spiritual missiles seemed to have reinforced with a legion of other dark forces to launch a bitter attack on him, chase him out of his church and shatter his beloved family. The strange development has also forced the embattled cleric Elijah Afe to become a squatter.

A disheveled Afe, also a civil contractor, told Weekly Spectator tearfully that his ordeal began a few years back when he stopped being tenant and became a landlord after building his dream house. Sadly, what would have been a gargantuan personal blessing turned to a tragedy of an unimaginable proportion.
“My ordeal started exactly six years ago the second day I moved into my newly completed house sometime in December 2000,” he begins his heart-rending story. “Our first night in the house was very peaceful. The entire family slept soundly.

The following day, I gathered members of my family together for a thanksgiving unto the Lord. But unfortunately, that was the day my peace and happiness in that house ended. The following night, my children started having nightmares while I also had a terrible dream where some strange-looking men were pursuing me. But being a minister of God, I felt that I would be able to subdue them.

“However, rather than abating, terrible nightmares became a regular occurrence for me and other members of the family. On some occasions, we will be hearing strange voices. At other times, when we were walking within the house, the whole building will become so hot to the extent that we wouldn’t be able to walk bare-footed within. It was the same situation in the church. As a pastor, I launched a spiritual warfare against the powers of darkness tormenting me. I got a little relief after some time. But not too long after, the problem returned with a bigger force. I prayed and fasted till I had no waist to hang my trousers. Still, the evil forces would not desist.

“One problem led to another. At first, I lost my life savings in mysterious circumstance. Although I perfectly executed the contract I won for the construction of a road in Somolu Local Government when Mr Adelani Dada was the chairman, the local government officials bluntly refused to pay my fees. I borrowed money from several people to execute the contract worth N250,000. Creditors would not allow me to sleep. They were embarrassing my family members and I at every point. I could not feed my family. I was forced to withdraw my children from school as I could no longer afford to pay their school fees. As if all these were not enough, Ruth, my wife became mysteriously sick and died.

“ The sickness started one afternoon when she was observing her siesta and suddenly screamed from her sleep. We moved from hospital to hospital, church to church. They could not diagnose the problem. Nobody could tell me till today what was the exact sickness.

Eventually, she died about two weeks later at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja. It was after her death that it was revealed that some household enemies, witches, were responsible. Still, they would not leave me alone. When I could no longer pray and it appeared they were going to kill me next, I packed out of my own house. I also abandoned my own church that I built near my house. That was two years ago.”

Asked why would an evangelist of his standing be frightened and chased away by common witches despite his fire prayers, Afe hissed slowly before answering: “You can only boast of being a man if you have not seen a real test of life,” the distraught cleric replied rapidly. “If Job could be tempted, then who am I?” He then likened his ordeal to the travails encountered by the biblical Job, stating, however, that he believed that he too would overcome his afflictions. “If worst calamities could befall Job and he survived them, I too believe that what I am presently going through is a passing phase in my life. I will surely overcome,” he enthused.

Afe, who expressed enthusiasm of returning to his house and church “shortly” said he only made a tactical withdrawal from the two properties because he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day. “I will surely bounce back,” he said. “ The house and the church belonged to me, and I will never abandon them again once I return.”

While appealing to Governor Bola Tinubu of Lagos State to do everything humanly possible to secure the release of the money being owed him by the defunct Somolu Local Government, Evangelist Afe said that doing so would alleviate the enormous sufferings confronting his family.

“I believe that the only person who can bail me out of my predicament is Governor Tinubu,” he posited firmly. “ And I beg him in the name of God to help me appeal to the chairman of Somolu Local Government to release the money they have been owing me since 1992. If I can get this money, things will turn better for me. All my children have been staying at home for two years now as I could not afford their school fees. I humbly appeal to the governor to assist me,” he stated.

Asked whether he had any regret constructing the house that had become a source of trouble for him, Afe said: “I have no regret whatsoever. By building the house, I was only obeying my late father’s admonition. When I was coming to Lagos, he counseled me that I should not eat with my “ten hands,” that I should accord building a personal house a top priority. So, by building the house, I was only fulfilling my father’s wish. I know what is happening to me is the work of enemies, but they will not triumph over me.”

The besieged pastor believed that the area where his house and the church are located is demon-infested adding that four pastors that tried to set up churches in the area before him were forced to abandon their plans due to harassment by witches and other forces of darkness. “My neighbours told me when I came here that I had to be very prayerful as four pastors who tried to set up churches in this area not only had their hopes dashed but that one of them actually became mad. The danger signals were there all along but I thought that I would be able to overcome. But I still believe that I will be victorious at the end,” he said.

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Comments (3)

Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.