Oba Adedapo Tejuoso on Polygamy
I?m not a bishop, only bishops are told to marry one wife ?
An interesting interview with Oba Adedapo Tejuosho. He narrates his experience and how he resolved inherent contradictions between tradition and Pentecostal Christianity, polygamy, the place of traditional rulers in Government and a host other issues.? The Oshinle of Oke-Ona, Egba shares his life experiences in this interview with ADEOLA BALOGUN. Here is the full story,? as published by the Punch:
Monarchs? are called? Kabiyesi? (nobody can question him) in Yoruba land which is an attribute of the almighty God. If you had your way, would you stop people from calling you kabiyesi?
I don?t think there is a harm in calling a king kabiyesi? as long as the king is aware of the fact that there is a kabiyesi that is greater than any other kabiyesi? in heaven. We are representing God on earth.
If you had become a born again Christian as a young man, would you have accepted to be king?
You are speaking? as if you believe I control my own life. God knows exactly what each person would be. When I was young, I never for a day called myself a prince; I never even thought I would ever become a king. When I was about 35 years, the then Oshinle was ill in hospital and as we were discussing among ourselves, someone said, ?By the way if anything happens to the king, you know they can call you to come and be Oshinle?? I laughed. I said, ?how could anyone imagine that as a mere 35 years old, I would accept to be king?? And we laughed over it. I said never. I said even if I had attained the age of 50 and I was told to come and become king, I would probably consider it and take it as retirement benefit. But at 35, what have I achieved? The king recovered from the illness and reigned until I was 50 years and? four months before joining his ancestors. So, immediately I was told that he died, my mind went back to the time we discussed the issue. That was how I concluded that definitely, God knew what He was doing and I had no more excuse again. God wanted me to be king, He knew my mind and I voiced it out. That was exactly how I got to this throne. When I became king, my name was Oba Adedapo Tejuoso, Karounwi III, Oshinle Egba but when I was celebrating my 10th anniversary, God put it in my mind to add Oranmiyan. So my title today is Karounwi III, Oranmiyan, Oshinle of Egba. It was later that I discovered that Oranmiyan was a very important figure in history. He was the only king who ever reigned in Ile Ife, Benin, Oyo and in Oko which is the chief town of Oke-Ona, Egba, Abeokuta. Nobody can rule in Oke-Ona, Egba if he is not from Oko. The first person to sit on this throne was Oranmiyan and that is why God said I should add Oranmiyan to my title.
Are you joining the fray with? the Ooni of Ife and the Alaafin? of Oyo who have been tackling each other on the issue of Oranmiyan? For example,? the Alaafin just declared? again that Oranmiyan never ruled in Ile Ife contrary to your claim?
I will give you the answer in a week?s time when I give a lecture at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and by the grace of God, people will be more informed then. But I want to say that it is about time that the Yoruba start thinking of what unites us, not what divides us. There is great strength in unity and I will only partake in things that unite us; there is no need for all the hassles and controversies. We must have a leader, who is the leader? We must stop dissipating efforts on things that weaken us.
When you were to be chosen as oba,? the? Ifa oracle must have been consulted. But now that? you have become a born-again Christian, what? do you think should be used to select future kings?
When Jesus Christ was born, he was born in the era of the law. He was baptised and circumcised on the eighth day. They killed doves and pigeons and all the sacrifices were made for his christening. Of course, Jesus Christ did not come for all those things but he was in the world in an era of the law. The period of grace did not start until he had done the sacrifice that he came to this world to do for your sin and my sin so we can be saved. The mere fact that he was in this world during the dispensation of the law and he had to abide by what the law said at that time didn?t mean that we should now be there after he had done the sacrifice, shedding his precious blood.? We must not go back into that era. Pigeons and others were killed for his naming ceremony and he had done the greatest sacrifice, we will be nailing him to the cross again the second time if we do it. When I was coming in as oba, God specifically told me I should go through everything they wanted me to go through and God gave me a sign. At that time, He revealed to me that I was covered in black and as soon as I left Ipebi, He revealed another sign to me that I was covered in white. That means I had gone through what He wanted me to go through just like Jesus Christ went through everything that was necessary during his naming ceremony. Those who took me through all the ifa and initiation rose against me but they couldn?t overpower me because they knew I knew their secrets. Now that? I know their secrets, I have gone over and above them; I am now in Christ. Whoever wants to attack me would have to contend with God, Christ first and if they succeed, then, they can come for me.
If you don?t want people to go to? the Ifa oracle again in choosing kings, how should kings be chosen?
In the good old days, were they going to Ifa in the Bible when they wanted to choose new kings? When did Ifa come around? Was Ifa our origin? No. Our origin were Adam and Eve and when both of them disobeyed God, they continued to multiply and sins took over the world. God decided to wipe out everyone except those Noah was able to save in his ark. So, if anybody is supposed to be our forefather in the world today, it should be Noah. Noah was an evangelist sent by God to preach salvation to the people. The people refused to listen to him but he found favour with God. He was described as someone that walked with God.??? That is my own forefather; where my customs and tradition come from and that is why I am probably doing what I am doing. So if that is my origin, where did Ifa come in? You must believe that God exists and if you want to choose a king, let Him choose for you.
I want you to be specific and scientific; if we have 10 princes, would you advocate election just like in a democracy to choose one from them as king?
Do you think God understands democracy? What does the Bible say, you have a thousand people vying for something but one with God wins and that one is a majority; is that democracy? Let God direct our affairs.
When you renounced all that were fetish in your life and became born-again, your community did not revolt but the Olu of Warri had to recant his belief after his people revolted, what is your take on that?
It?s too early to talk on the Olu of Warri issue now. Come and talk to me after my lecture in Ile Ife. God is in charge of everything; that is what I can say at the moment. The? Olu of Warri has God and God has directed him the way He wanted him to go but we will talk about it later.
What role have you played in reconciling the two leading obas, in Yorubaland-the Ooni of Ife and the Alaafin of Oyo, who are always in conflict?
That is why you have to attend the lecture because God will talk to everyone that day. We will get to understand one another that day.
How did you come about the yearly programme, Kings Day of praise, where you gather kings to praise God?
That is a very loaded question and I feel that everybody should know that we didn?t create ourselves, somebody created us. And if you look at the Book of Isaiah 45, verse 9, it says, ?Woe be unto any man who is struggling with his creator.? God created us human beings, not for anything else but for? us to worship and glorify Him. Without Him, we cannot breathe and if today He decides to take the breath? away, that is all. So what should stop us from praising Him every minute? King David was a very wise king; he said in the Bible that he would pray to God three times a day and that he would praise God seven times a day. If King David, who was the apple of God?s eyes could say and do something like that,? what stops us from doing so?? If? the 24 elders in heaven could put their crowns down to worship Him everyday, who are we not to set our time apart to do same?? Only God is worthy of our praise and adoration.? Maybe I was just lucky because it was God who inspired me when He said He was looking for somebody who would organise kings to praise Him. He gave me the enablement to do it and He has been blessing me. We started? the programme 10 years? ago and kings come from all over Nigeria? and outside to participate in the programme.
If you are sure you are a born again Christian ,? how do you confirm that others are Christians?
If God tells you to turn to your right away from a tarred road and you look at the right and see jungle, don?t query it, turn right but be sure that it was God?s voice that you heard. I hardly do things without the promptings of God and since I have been doing that, I have never been misled. For instance, I sat? here about 20 years ago and God told me that Nigeria was going to call me for one important assignment and that when they called me, I should not hesitate to take it because He was the one sending me to do it. About six months after, the call came. I was invited to represent the entire South West at the Constitution Review Conference. That voice kept coming to me and almost everybody in this world didn?t want me to go but thank God I went. A number of things that God planned for Nigeria, came through and that is why we are still here today as Nigeria; otherwise we would have broken up.? That was why a Yoruba man was brought in, in the person of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, to be president in place of Chief M K O Abiola who was denied the chance. It shows you that God knows the end even before the beginning and so if he who knows the end tells you to do something? and you who cannot even see beyond your nose say you are not, then you are going to make a great mistake. God who asked me to do it knew that I would succeed and don?t forget, God never does anything for a multitude. God may be doing it because he only wants about 10 kings to be doing it; even two are enough for God to achieve His purpose.
How did you then approach your colleagues with such message?
It?s like you are asking me how one preaches to a non-believer and why he accepts. It?s not me doing it again; God had chosen the one I am talking to from the beginning that he would be one of the saved. If God is using you, count yourself very lucky because He can do without you. He says that if all men refuse to praise Him, he would raise the stones to praise Him. I can?t convince kings to come to this kind of assignment, it?s only God Himself who can arrest the kings to come to functions like this because the heart of men is in the hand of God and He manoeuvres them the way He pleases.
How significant is the number of traditional stools that understand what you are talking about?
Well, we keep preaching. The number of kings participating in the Kings Praise? has kept increasing every year. And God in His infinite time could even make all the kings in this world to come, it can happen. I don?t do things on my own; I do according to the dictates of God. Whatever He asks me to do, no matter whose ox is gored, I would do it.
What should be the specific role for traditional rulers in the society, particularly on insecurity and Boko Haram insurgency?
Maybe God is sending messages to us in Nigeria on? the way traditional rulers are treated in this country. I pray that God will give us a leader who understands the meaning of government. Government in Yoruba means ijoba, government by traditional rulers. But it was hijacked; maybe the era would come sooner than later when people will know the worth of traditional rulers. You can only become a king if God destines it and if He destines it, that is when you can have the wisdom of God. If you don?t have that, you cannot successfully rule. But the time will come sooner than later when God will open the eyes of our leaders to know what they are losing by not making use of traditional rulers.
How challenging or idle is the stool?
Of course, you can see for yourself. It wasn?t easy for you to come for this interview as scheduled because of other pressing demands that I had to attend to. If I were idle, I would want you to stay all day. Right now, I am planning what God would say through me on September? 27? and I can see this as solution to some of our problems in Yoruba land.
Despite the fact that you have people running your clinic, don?t you miss medical practice?
It?s like asking a fisherman turned evangelist whether he misses fishing; he is doing the same thing; fishing and winning souls for Christ. That is my case. The job I am doing is humanitarian and spiritual, just like the medical practice which is physical. I am still in contact with those running the hospital not clinically but administratively; I am still very much part of it but not clinically.
People talk so much about your three glamorous wives, how do you manage the home without rancour?
Who am I to manage? I don?t manage anything; it?s only Christ who manages our affairs. The Bible says the man will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one. It may not be too easy for the two of you to become one if you are not a believer but it is easy if you have Christ. It will be very unfortunate for the couple if the wife does not have Christ living in her as her husband because they will continue to be at loggerheads. Now imagine three of them with different things living in them, that could be very terrible. But if Christ lives in me and Beelzebub lives in one of them, we will never agree.
In Christianity, it is one man one wife but at a point in your life, you became a born again Christian with three wives. How were you able to convince them to accept Christ?
I have told you I have absolutely no power of my own. In the first instance, God knew why He brought the four of us together and he knew what He wanted to achieve. In the Bible, people say one man one wife but really if you look in the Bible thoroughly, I do not see where God specifically says so. The only thing? that God says? in ?the Epistles is that if you want to be a bishop in the church, you must be a man of one wife. I am not a bishop, although again I wonder why God is using me as an evangelist. God said he would show mercy to whoever He pleases and no one can query that. It?s God who decides all these things. Look at all? the kings in the Bible, they are all polygamists. Where do you think King David is today? In? heaven of course. Do you know how many wives he had? David was one of the greatest prophets in the Bible: he was a king, he was a polygamist and God told everyone that cared to listen that he was a man after His heart. Even Abraham, the father of faith; this is the way I look at this thing. I am not justifying polygamy; I am not saying it is good but I thank God that I was a polygamist before God arrested me? and I thank God that He did not arrest me alone but arrested all my three wives with me. So, it is Christ that reigns in our lives.
Has the murder case file of your late mother been closed?
Was there actually a file? As far as I am concerned, what happened has happened and whether there was a file or not does not matter. Whatever anyone says, she cannot be brought back again. Even if you say you are opening the file, at the end of the day, what will happen? At the end of the day, they will probably kill somebody because she was killed or they fine the person to go and pay one trillion naira. What would that do, wake her up again? She would be 17 years in the grave tomorrow but we give God the glory. Whoever killed her is probably either dead or still alive; he would die one day.