Posted by News Express | 1 April 2015 | 13,351 times
The fact that Asst Pastor C. J. Akiri has been in the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) for a long time is not contestable. But to state that he co-founded the RCCG with the founder, Pastor J. A. Akindayomi, is to put it mildly, grievously untrue. The picture displayed in the publication was that of the founder and Akiri and his Parish Pastor (Elder Olabode) who by the grace of God is still very much alive and active to corroborate this story.
The same picture was taken when the founder visited Shomolu Parish, one of the branches of the church where C. J. Akiri joined the RCCG. Though he was one of the pioneer members of RCCG in Abuja, a membership he retained until his death, it is worth noting that C.J. Akiri was not a founder of Abuja RCCG, the leadership of the then RCCG North when Abuja branch started and under which the church started is still all available; also history is there for verification.
To even suggest that he was abandoned, sidelined or punished for his holiness lifestyle is at best mischievous and a smear on the image and personality of the Redeemed Christian Church of God as a holiness Church and our revered General Overseer, Pastor E. A. Adeboye, as a holiness preacher. Pa Akiri was even given undue favour despite being a civil servant because he was not at anytime a fulltime minister with the church. However, the church built a house for him and he was on a monthly stipend till he passed on. All records for these are intact and available. We as a church will and want to call on whoever is involved in this campaign of calumny to desist and repent before God the Righteous Judge of both the living and the dead descend on such with his judgement.
THE INVOLVEMENT OF RCCG IN THE LIFE OF PA C.J. AKIRI
A/P Akiri was one of the ministers that God used to start a branch of The Redeemed Christian Church of God in the Federal Capital Territory. He was using his house as a fellowship centre with his family before the church began in one of the classrooms of a primary school in Karu, one of the towns in the outskirts of the city. At the same time, he was still an active worshipper at ECWA Church in Abuja.
Later, he and some other ministers, which included Pastor S. A. Oke, Pastor Taiwo Omolaja, Pastor Emmanuel Abenu, eventually became the willing instruments to start the first RCCG Parish in Abuja after the crusade held at L.E.D.A Primary School Karu in 1990. The Coordinator of the Northern Region of RCCG at that time was Pastor J. F. Odesola, who is presently the Special Assistant to the General Overseer on Admin & Personnel. All this while, Pastor S. A. Oke was the rallying point for the RCCG brethren in Abuja.
A/P C J AKIRI (now late) himself and his family had been attending the Evangelical Church of West Africa for some time beginning from 1987 before he felt the leading of the Holy Spirit to start a house fellowship centre with the members of his family in his residence, Block 53 Flat 1, Karu, Abuja in Nov. 1990. He was later joined by Pastor S. A. Oke and members of his family, Pastor Taiwo Omolaja and members of his family and Pastor Emmanuel Abenu.
In November 1990, Pastor S. A. Oke asked A/P Akiri to apply for the use of a classroom at the L.E.D.A Primary School, Block H, Karu, Abuja, for the purpose of starting a parish of the RCCG since it became obvious that his flat could not contain the activities of the parish. The headmaster gave approval after many days. The first Sunday worship was held on February 17, 1991 with a total attendance of 22 people. The parish then known as RCCG Karu became the first parish of the church in the Federal Capital Territory. It later became known as RCCG Praise Assembly, Karu.
Later on in 1992 Bros. S. A. Oke, Jimi Ajibade, Taiwo Omolaja and E. Abenu took a decision to move to Garki to establish another parish of the RCCG; this parish was inaugurated in Nov. 15th, 1992 now called RCCG Chapel of Life, now the Provincial Headquarters of RCCG FCT Province 4. A/P Akiri was then asked to be in charge of the RCCG Karu Parish.
C. J. Akiri was mandated by Pastor S. A. Oke to get a land for the church where a building of the church could be erected, and this was successful. However, by the time the building was erected A/P Akiri took part of the land and he erected his own apartment there, a development which the Church was willing to condone for a while as a welfare gesture to assist a pioneer member of the church in Abuja to settle down with his family. In the process of time, especially as his children were becoming unruly and problematic to the church, the church decided to secure another parcel of land in the same Karu and constructed a four bedrooms bungalow (pictures attached) to assist Pa Akiri, who was now retired from the Federal Civil Service, to settle down with his family. This building was inspected by Pastor Akindele (A. G. O.), Pastor Peter Amekehinah, Pastor S. A. Oke, and a host of other ministers.
To the surprise of everyone A/P Akiri rejected the building. His excuse then was that the building was in the bush and also the place would not afford his wife to carry out her trading activities. He rather asked the church to monetise the building for him so as to purchase the house of his choice. Because of the leanness of the church purse as at that time a representation was made to the National Headquarters and a sum of N4,000,000 (Four million naira only) was released from the National Headquarters and given to Pa C. J. Akiri.
In addition to this, Pa C.J Akiri was placed on monthly stipend by three different arms of the RCCG apart from other care from the church and members. As at the time of his death the latest amounts are as follows:
1) N15,000 (Fifteen thousand naira only) monthly from RCCG FCT Province 3;
2) N25,000 (Twenty-five thousand naira) monthly from RCCG Praise Assembly;
3) N15,000 (Fifteen thousand naira only) monthly from RCCG FCT Province 10.
In addition, RCCG Praise Assembly bought a Volkswagen Golf Station Wagon car for him in November 2011 with a promise to pay the salary of a driver of his choice. Maintenance, including major repairs and servicing of the car up to vehicle particulars, was done by RCCG Praise Assembly.
The current pastor in charge of RCCG Praise Assembly can attest that Pa Akiri displayed appreciation for every gesture extended to him. According to him:
“In all fairness, Pa Akiri was very grateful to the church for all these gestures. Hardly would a day pass without him passing through the office to bless the pastorate. And we in our little way did what we could do for a father and an elder in the church. We made sure he never lacked handset and even went outside his stipends to provide extra money and food for his family.
“We left a standing instruction with the wife to notify us of any need for the family especially as regard to late Pa Akiri. We can’t start writing everytime we reached out to assist him. But late Pa Akiri was grateful to the church and never hid it and that encouraged us to do more and resulted to our decision to increase his stipend to N30,000 from January 2015. Unfortunately, he never lived to enjoy this little increase as he passed on to glory on 03/02/15.
“He fell seriously sick on the 29th of January 2015 and was rushed to the hospital. Immediately, RCCG Praise Assembly released N30,000 (Thirty thousand Naira) to the son. There was a problem of the choice of hospital because of the then health workers’ strike. The church took over everything about his treatment, even up to transportation of the wife and son. Unfortunately he didn’t make it, despite the prayers of the brethren all over, the church, the province and even beyond. When he finally passed on in the early morning hours of 03/02/15, after informing my PICP, the church looked for an ambulance and we conveyed the remains to Asokoro Hospital. All arrangement was made and taken care of by the church. About N148,000 (One hundred and forty-eight thousand naira) was spent on him by RCCG Praise Assembly within the period of his brief illness. To my awareness, the family never spent any money within this period; we took care of everything, including the deposits at the mortuary. We were told at the mortuary that we were to pay whatever accrued on collection of the body. The charge is N2,000 (Two thousand naira) per day. The family did not spend any money at the mortuary either.”
When he died, the pastor of RCCG Praise Assembly acting for the church told his brother and the widow that arrangements were to be made by the family and they were to notify the church of their plans. Meanwhile, we told the widow to notify us of any need in the family. He gave her N5,000 just to hold apart from what several individuals in the church gave her. The women of the church ensured that they were never abandoned. A roster was made for the women to attend to her in shift – just to ensure that she was never alone.
The family held a meeting and fixed the week of 23-27th of March for the burial, which date was communicated in writing to the higher authorities of the church. Their defence for that date was because of the elections that were fixed for February.
The burial was later shifted to the week of 16th to 20th of March due to rescheduled elections.
The church has since set up a committee to plan for the service of songs that will take place in the church on Monday the 16th of March, 2015. The church is also involved in all other activities.
On Monday 16th of March, a Service of Songs was held at Praise Assembly for Pa Akiri at the expense of the church. The Pastor in Charge of RCCG Region 10, Pastor Emmanuel Ibitayo, the pastor in charge of RCCG FCT Province 3, Pastor Jide Oluwajobi, the National Elder, Pastor Adebowale, and other senior pastors were in attendance. After the service, a total sum of N300,000 (Three hundred thousand naira only) was handed over to Okechukwu Iwegbu, first son of the deceased, acting on behalf of the family.
A total sum of N1,305,000 (One million, three hundred thousand is estimated as burial expenses to be borne by RCCG FCT Province 3 and RCCG Praise Assembly. Our Pastor in charge of the Region in Delta, Pastor E. A. Kalejaiye, the pastor in charge of RCCG Delta 7, Pastor Ezekiel Olukahunsi, and other senior pastors are on hand to conclude the funeral rites for the deceased.
To God be the glory.
•Being RCCG’s reply to the story, “Shocker: Pioneer Redeemed Pastor (Adeboye’s predecessor) dies wretched and neglected •Why RCCG abandoned him”, published on 15/03/2015 by News Express. Photo, courtesy of RCCG, shows Pastor Akindele handing over the keys to a three-bedroom bungalow to late Pa Akiri and wife.
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