By Ena Ofugara
First, let me start by apologizing to my biggest brother, Prince Randolph ErumaGborie who took me in his Pathfinder Jeep that year to worship at Household of God church, where Chris Okotie was pastor, star, celebrity, choir and everything. It is… was… is a church that had celebrities in attendance every Sunday. All upwardly mobile young men and women, including my bros found a home to worship with like minds filled with intellect and ambition. I apologize because Okotie was his former pastor and my bros has always preached the need for us to build up Urhobo. II may not be doing that with this post.
I am not easily star-struck, but seeing RMD seated in the middle pew and Patrick Doyle, fresh off one of his pastor roles in a Nigerian movie, and the beautiful Miss Tetsola walking around, I was happy to be present. Add to this the fact that my father owned a Chris Okotie Vinyl album “I need someone like you in my life… I needed someone like… you been telling me you love tooooo toooo rooo rooo you been telling me you love me.. tooooo tooo rooo rooo” It was just beautiful to behold
(Or was it my bros Jetta we used and was it when I went to write JME in Lagos in 1992/93? I forget)
Point is, Okotie’s church was the “happening spot” in Lagos. The church even had parties on Friday night to rival night clubs so Christians come to church instead of going to “worldly places”. I believe the discovery of used condoms after those Friday parties that made Okotie put a stop to it.
And then came Chris Oyakhilome as his next door neighbour. ChrisOkotie did not seem to mind Oyakhilome. They were both Bendelites doing big and good things in Lagos. Okotie had the formula for bringing the movers and shakers to his church including MKO Abiola through a program he does where he takes church tithe and offering to dash 500 thousand naira to these invited VIPs and give them award with the press present. This was Okotie’s pathway to politics and high society.
Okotie was clean. His suits were flashy and sometimes even metalic. If he was not a pastor, with his Jerry curl and flashy suits and sweet ways, many would question his sexuality. He was the definition of a successful 1970s black American pimp without the gold teeth. But we knew his musician past, so his metalic suits were understood to be just a man with metalic suits.
I will not repeat what happened while at Raymond Dokpesi’s house, where I used to visit, and how a man came to report Okotie to say he was harboring his (man’s) wife in a hotel and sleeping with her. Okotie had to beg Dokpesi (allegedly) stating he was not sleeping with the woman, but was saving her from domestic violence from the man. That story never made AIT news because chief Dokpesi quenched it for his Bendel brother. What did it matter that Okotie himself, his wife was coming to church wearing dark shades to hide suspected beat marks from slaps allegedly received from Okotie himself? She wears the glasses inside the church like she was a widow trying to hide tears. Mrs Stevie Wonder.
But I ramble
The sweet Okotie was to meet his very antithesis in TB Joshua. TB Joshua was a man’s man. He was scruffy. His beards were long and not well cut. His clothes looked unkempt. His hair was hurriedly combed. And then his English. It was gbagaun meets gbagaun. While Okotie was speaking KING’S ENGLISH (when the English pass queen own, na King e done be) and adding Hebrew and Greek words to make it more grandiloquent and high-falluting, TB Joshua was struggling.
At first he was no threat. The movie and football stars chose Okotie. The streets were beginning to choose TB Joshua. And soon the movie stars began to follow. the footballers with career problems, the stars with home trouble. The politicians who were ill…. and
While Okotie was his own choir, oyibos (white men) were playing drums for TB Joshua
While Chris Okotie was paying… giving politicians big money awards to come to his church, they were going to TB Joshua’s church to kneel and cry and beg for healing FOR FREEEEEE!!! No awards needed to entice.
While Okotie was with bodyguards and looking like Michael Jackson in Man In The Mirror, TB was a part of a movement and crowds pressed him like he was Jesus with the Woman With the Issue of Blood.
The people were touching TB Joshua. Bodyguards were touching Okotie… if they even could get close enough to the diva pastor.
The straw that seemed to break Okotie’s back was the visits by presidents and politicians and the movie stars. The HOI POLLOI pastor TB Joshua was overcoming. The bourgeoisie and proletariat were choosing the HOI POLLOI Prophet, TB Joshua.
Nothing annoys the upper class than an upstart that seems to be getting the upper hand. Class warfare is an eternal battle. Chris Oyakhilome can compete. He is schooled. But who the eff is that tout TB Joshua? Chris Okotie must have thought to himself.
And it happened. Chance favours the prepared mind.
Chris Oyakhilome, riding on the popularity of his globally successful “NIGHT OF BLISS” and also totally obliterating Chris Okotie on a national scale, Oyakhilome went and visited TB Joshua
“Oghene woruno, vwe yere kevwe”
…seemed to sing Chris Okotie. How can God be this kind? Like a man catching two flies mating and knowing one strike could kill both houseflies, Chris Okotie went in on TB Joshua and Pastor Chris. His ajebutter rival and his ajekpako antithesis could be destroyed in one fell swoop. And swoop in did Okotie.
Again, my bros Randolph Horebabor Erumagborie took me to church on that faithful day. I watched in amazement as a pastor left the sermon he was to preach and went at two co-pastors with the phlegm and flame of a dragon (use of dragon with connotations of the Book of Revelations intended). He said all manner of things about Chris Oyakhilome going to collect powers from TB Joshua, who got his from Satan. He ended by saying he is closing his part of the fence so Chris Oyakhilome’s workers, who were building back then, can no longer access something I do not remember.
Chris Oyakhilome was to give a passionate response that showed he was angry and flustered. He called Chris Okotie a “mad man”. Those were his words.
I waited and waited for TB Joshua’s response.
TB Joshua was busy carrying bag of rice and giving to the poor or scaring me with fine girls telling the church their vaginas are weapons of Satan, making my manhood retract into my belly, promising never to come out again.
And that has been the tale. Chris Okotie wants the streets. He has campaigned severally for president, lying about God saying he will be president. The streets have not loved him back. My brother, AY the comedian and RMD have profitted though. “Uhuh Uhuh!!!” If mugu no fall, guy man no go wack. And YEs I was at Okotie’s inaugural presidential flag off at the stadium with RMD as organizer and a Julius Agu in his prime.
TB Joshua was his own president there at Ikotun, needing no validation of self-worth by aspiring to political office. The call was to be a prophet and not king.
Chris Okotie accused TB Joshua of using Beelzebub’s powers. Same thing Jesus was accused of by Pharisees in his time
Prophet TB Joshua never responded to the HATE and invectives and outright accusations of using demonic powers by Chris Okotie. If he even heard, no one can say. Focusing on The voice of God can make someone not hear noise sometimes. I have come to lean.
I wanted to point Chris Okotie to certain Bible passages like Mark 9:38-40 “whoever is not against us is for us” to tell him TB Joshua is NOt against him or Christ, so he should let him be.
I wanted to tell him of Mark 9:38“New International Version
“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” And Jesus replied in Mark 9:39 Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me”
But then, Okotie has bodyguards and he knows everything.
So three marriages and three divorces, (I am unsure of the number) many accusations of adultery and fornication, two failed presidential runs, and making a buffoon of self over Covid 19 vaccine schizophrenicesque claims, Chris Okotie stands proud knowing he has outlived TB Joshua.
Clap clap clap
One thing he will never never do is be beloved like TB Joshua. He will never have the dogged followership of TB Joshua. He may never be mourned as heartbreakingly as we mourn the exit of TB Joshua.
Temitope Babatunde Joshua, the underdog who scared the lions and elephants of Christendom as much as he scared the demons that came at him at the altar of the Synagogue.
You win Chris Okotie. You outlived the earthly body of the dragon of your innermost jealousy and torture. Rest now.
Can you though?
People have been known to be jealous of even the dead.
So can Rev Chris Okotie rest?
-Ena Ofugara, lawyer, writer and public affairs analyst, writes from Houston, Texas