How Adeboye is making his Redeemed Christian Church irredeemable

When Siju, the wife of Pastor Idowu Iluyomade of Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), City of David, Victoria Island, Lagos, threw an extravagant birthday party while the body of Herbert Wigwe, the church’s primary financier had not yet buried, the adverse public reaction was swift. The general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, was worried about the negative press and public opinion. He ordered Pastor Iluyomade to resign as the regional head of the Apapa family of the RCCG. The pastor refused to resign.

In the heat of the crisis, Pastor Adeboye and his wife called Pastor Iluyomade and his wife. Unknown to them, the Iluyomade placed them on a speakerphone with other pastors under Iluyomade listening. The Iluyomades told the Adeboyes they would not take nonsense from them. They threatened Adeboye that if they should open their mouths and say what they knew about the church, nobody would again take the General Overseer as a serious man of God.

After that phone call, Adeboye pulled back from his demand that Pastor Iluyomade resign from the church that the late Pastor Eskor Mfon started. Mfon was an assistant to Pastor Tony Rapu, who built and headed the Apapa parish in the 1990s. And when Eskor died suddenly, Pastor Iluyomade and his allies fought and squeezed out more competent pastors to inherit the City of David, the cash cow of RCCG then; you won’t find anything about the history of the City of David, the men and women who helped build it on their website. It is a story for another day.

Using media hacks and damage control measures, the matter of the inappropriateness of Iluyomade’s wife’s birthday party died down. The Iluyomades continued to rule their terrain, grateful that their legal agreement with RCCG, when they built the church, protected them from Adeboye’s takeover.


But other ripples across other regions of the church have not died down. The one in North America has bubbled to the surface again and again, leading to the exit of leading pastors like Adetola. Those are not the subjects of this piece. They are matters for other days.

Before I continue, let me acknowledge that after this piece is published, I will lose all my job contracts and start rummaging through trash bins and collecting plastic bottles and aluminum cans in New York City. It is the kind of punishment that Pastor Enoch Adeboye’s God exerts on people who questioned him about tithes. So, I am ready. Don’t cry for me when it happens.

You must have heard the revered man of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, tell that story about his God turning billionaire members of his church into paupers for demanding that he accounts for the tithes they paid.


It happened in the 80s in Ebute Metta. Here is the real story.

It was in the 1980s, and the Redeemed Christian church at Ebute Metta had a leaky roof. Pastor Adeboye appointed some prominent church members to a committee that would work on fixing the roof. He did not tell you that part of the story.

Within the committee members were, of course, those who paid the most tithes. When the committee members approached Adeboye and asked him how much the church had available for the repair so they would know how much money to raise, the general overseer got angry.

He expected them to figure out how to find the money without troubling him. Some of the members were surprised. They wondered why they should pay tithes and make offerings, but they would be required to bring more money out when something broke in the church. That was how the request to see the tithes and offering accounts came about.


These men were not billionaires, as Adeboye claimed. While one was the managing director of NNPC, he wasn’t a billionaire in the 80s. And I doubt if there were Nigerian billionaires then. They were mostly civil servants. These are the people that Adeboye was encouraging to bring money to repair the church’s roof. From where you may ask? Steal from government agencies where they worked?

Most of the men that Adeboye had maligned are dead now. Their family members who knew the real story most probably watched what Adeboye said about their fathers. They know it did not happen the way Adeboye presented it. I am particularly concerned about the family of one of the men in whose house in London Adeboye used to stay. They know that even if Adeboye’s God approves the attempt at ridiculing the dead, it did not pass the Rotary Club four-way test: “Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendship? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”

I am surprised that Adeboye did not quote 2 Kings 22: 7, where the Bible says, “No accounting shall be asked of them for the money that is delivered into their hands, for they deal honestly.” Who knows? Adeboye may have the above line in mind and expect us to use our tongues to count our teeth. In Exodus 36:6, Moses gave a commandment to the children of Israel in a camp. “Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary,” the proclamation said. In that way, Moses restrained the people from bringing any more. But Nigerian pastors are allergic to giving accounts to the people or ever coming to a point where they would say the giving was enough.

Pastor Adeboye did not tell his audience that the woman who single-handedly paid for the roof repair was no longer a church member. It was an inconvenient truth that would not reinforce his theories about God’s punishment of people who dared to raise any objection.


I don’t know what Adeboye benefits from that message about billionaires who “are not where they ought to be” besides some egotistical and self-aggrandizing vanity. His recent rush to prove that he and God are like 5 and 6 and that God is always ready to fight his perceived enemies intensely concerns those who love him. They may not tell him because they fear offending him and having him tag them as “people who thought they are clever than God.” (sic)

The family of one of the men, in whose house Adeboye used to spend time in London, actually fell into a hard time when the man died, which is a common occurrence in Nigeria’s informal business environment. When the man’s family could not pay his kids’ school fees and went to Adeboye for help, he refused to help them. It was the woman who roofed the church that assisted the family. Yet, Adeboye wanted his audience to believe that he did not have any quarrel with them. “I said we are not quarrelling and God know I wasn’t quarreling. I just ignored it,” (sic) he said. He also ignored the plea for assistance from the family that used to bring “hefty tithes” to his church.


Whatever height you climb, pray that you will not become so big that everybody will be afraid to tell you the truth. The consequences are enormous. In recent years, Pastor Adeboye has been working hard to make the Redeemed Christian Church of God that he built irredeemable.

Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo teaches Post-Colonial African History, Afrodiasporan Literature, and African Foketales at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He is also the host of Dr. Damages Show. His books include “This American Life Sef” and “Children of a Retired God,” among others. His upcoming book is called “Why I’m Disappointed in Jesus.”


Views expressed by contributors are strictly personal and not of TheCable.
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