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‘My Father Asked Me To Choose Between The Family And The God Of Idahosa’

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A taboo! That was what venturing into full-time ministry was in the late 1980s when John Osa-Oni became a pastor. But the man, who today is the Bishop of Vineyard Christian Ministries International, Lagos, was undaunted.

Before then, he had faced huge challenges on account of his faith. In one particular instance, his acceptance of Christianity triggered a family crisis in the course of which his father asked him to choose between the family and the God of the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa, whose Church of God Mission he (Osa-Oni) was attending.

In another instance, he was a victim of a charm planted by a teacher in his school, a situation that saw him partially dead, and coming back to life almost at the point of burial.

In this interview, Osa-Oni speaks on the challenges of life, his journey in the ministry and his close relationship with Idahosa, the man who popularised tele-evangelism in the 1970s. He speaks ahead of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Vineyard Ministries and 20 years of his consecration as a bishop. On this occasion, scheduled for between April 3 and 7, Osa-Oni is being elevated to the position of archbishop. Excerpts of interview:

It has been a journey of 25 years. How did it start?

My journey started from the campus in University of Lagos when the Lord ministered to me to set out into ministry. I was reading accounting in the school at that time. And in those days, it was like a taboo to venture into full-time ministry, I had to take up a secular job,worked with UTC Motors and Egunjobi Sulaimon and later for my brother and friend, Dr. Tunde Joda, the Senior Pastor of Christ Chapel,as an associate pastor. I left my secular job completely in December 1985 and started full-time pastoral work in January 1986. Since then, the journey has been fantastic.

It is common with pastors to face challenges. Can you share with us those that came your way?

I have been taught to always look forward especially when challenges come. So the various challenges, for me, are stepping stones for greater heights. When you look back at challenges, you get distracted. Of course challenges did come but I never saw them as one and that is why I don’t have any in the last 25 years of the ministry.

It has been 25 years of testimonies for Christians in the country and individuals all over the world on what Vineyard, one of the front line churches, has impacted. When you are focused, you are naturally going to see less distractions. Vineyard has been very focused in the last 25 years.

Taboo to be a pastor

You cannot quantify the number of lives you are touching. Thousands of lives have been affected. We have raised and trained both Christians and Muslims to university level across the country. We have rendered medical care to various communities in the country. It was a taboo to be a pastor about 29 years ago when I started full-time ministry; when you stepped out to ministry, your parents were never happy with it especially having gone through university and you now returned home to say, ‘dad, I am going into pastoring’, they would scream.

Before then, mind you, I had been in the ministry evangelizing for about 40 something years, that is, since 1972. Those days, we had a lot of attacks, such that some of our friends had their Bibles burnt by their parents. In the 70s, occultism was very rampant, it was the most predominant thing then.

Everybody exhibited his strength through occultism and, so, most of us who came out from paganism, and suddenly found ourselves in church, it was tough being a Christian then.

It was tough coming out to say you are now a pastor, serving Jesus; the first question they would ask you in Yoruba is,’Who is your parent in this community?’ Who would you say you fashion your new found religion after? Certainly not your parents they all knew. Some of us stood our grounds and, today, we are grateful for it.

Can you recollect a particular moment of your tribulation because of your belief?

That should be 1974, I was chased out of the house by my parents around 12 midnight. They called a meeting and asked me to make a choice between the family, that is the Oni family, Archbishop Idahosa and Jesus Christ. I chose Jesus Christ even though they didn’t allow me to mention the name of the second person before I was given a dirty slap on my face and they said, ‘Pack your things from this house’.

They locked the door against me in middle of the night. I had to sleep in one of the kiosks in the market. But I have no regret because I still went to school the next day; it was only after I left school that it dawned on me that I didn’t have a home to return to. But I heard a voice: ‘The day your father and mother forsake you, that day I will take you up’. And since 1974, God has never let me down because He raised up brethren in the church who took care of me to the the best of their ability.

How were you converted to Christianity?

There was a time I went to stay with my uncle in a place called Egbefa, I was about 15 years old, I was in school. Two teachers were fighting and they set charms for themselves. Unfortunately I was the first person to pass through the trap; from that moment, I took ill. I fainted seven times.

On the 7th time, I heard a voice, by this time, I was already brought back home to my father, they had already dug my grave because, according to them, it was more than fours that I had been in coma, you know they don’t bury young children generally within the community, it had to be done in the forest because it was seen as a bad omen.

As the grave was being dug, I regained consciousness and ran out of the house to the backyard where we planted cocoyam, I plucked a leaf and took a black snail with it and started shouting, ‘ I have seen it’. And people were astonished and began asking,’ who did you see’? And what I saw was a man with a rod who drove me back from heaven,saying,’ go back, go back and serve me’.

But my father’s interpretation was that it was my grandfather that drove me back to come and serve the gods. But it was a teacher in school who later told me that it was Jesus that spoke to me and not the ancestors as my father made me to believe. So when I got to Benin, I got hold of this Gideon pocket Bible and knelt down by the bed and made a confession that was in the Bible for those who wanted to give their lives to Christ.

That was how I gave my life to Christ, not under or through anybody. From that moment, my life changed such that I was attending church programmes regularly until 1974 when my zeal for God became very strong that there was a family meeting because of me.

Of course I packed my things and left Benin when the situation became unbearable. I came to Lagos in 1975 to stay with an aunt. It took me two days before I could locate her. In between those two days looking for my aunt’s house, I was sleeping at the park, that is Midwest Line Park, Jibowu, Yaba. Later, I went back to school, Archbishop Aggey M
emorial Secondary School, for my WASCE .

Your surname was Oni. Why the change of name?

I changed my name from Oni by adding three letters to make Osa-Oni. I really wanted to separate my name from the Oni family. And, today, Osa-Oni has overshadowed the original Oni name such that most of my siblings have changed to Osa -Oni. Many of them now bear Osa-Oni.

What kind of person was Idahosa,your mentor?

He was a man of faith. He was the Abraham I knew. The Abraham of the Bible, I only read about him, but he(Idahosa), I touched him. He was the one that told me that small men were not ideal, but you can be bigger than you think. He was the one that pushed me forward in the ministry. For example, Vineyard Ministries was only five years plus when he came with my friend, Bishop Oyedepo, and the late Bishop Illuputaife, to consecrate me as bishop because he saw something I could not see then.

He is a man I cherished

so much such that his

photographs are everywhere in my office,. He was a man that pushed me to destiny, that is why I can never forget him. He was a man that didn’t eat alone. He never ate alone and I copied that from him. I don’t eat alone too. He never kept malice with people. If he had misunderstanding with you, that is where it stops, it does not go beyond that, that is what I do too. Today is today. Tomorrow is another day.

Did you envisage you will come this far when you started the church?

I think it is about destiny .I discovered that whatever little thing that I may want to do usually gets out of hands to become something big. That is why we call the first week of April, here in Vineyard, Destiny because that was when it was founded. Whatever brought us to where we are today is mainly destiny.

How did you meet madam?

She came to visit my friend at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos; that was when I first saw her. Then when her senior sister was to wed in 1983, we all left campus for the place. We went to her house for the engagement and, before you knew it in 1985, I finally met her in her church, Christ Chapel, where I proposed to her and she said no way because she never dreamt in her life that she would marry a pastor because, at this time, I was a full-time pastor to serve God; unlike now that everybody wants to marry pastors, it was not so some 28 years back.

How did you convince her then?

I didn’t convince her, I was just praying about it. Even though there were other ladies too who wanted me, I was convinced in my heart that she was the one for me. In those days, we prayed before anything could be done unlike now. Now, people just look at the physical appearance, that is all.

TON

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. adejumo oluseyi samuel

    March 17, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    the tree that Gog planted,no one can uproot.

  2. sunday

    March 17, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    I am sunday by name, 4rom ogboji ezziagu in ebonyi state.Nd am hapi 2 see dat ppl re progressing in dia life.Both my greatex surpriz is dat someone is wishin me poverty in my intire life. Nd 4 my listenex, what do u do if is u?..

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Metro News

How it all went down when 9mobile met its subscribers in Kano…

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9mobile customers in Kano had an opportunity to interact with and provide first-hand feedback to the management team of the telecommunication company during the Customer Forum which took place recently in Kano.

The Forum which is aimed at deepening the brand’s relationship with subscribers on network saw customers asking questions and sharing experiences with the leading network.

Speaking at the event, Chief Commercial Officer of 9mobile, Stjepan Udovicic, explained that the forum was designed to hear directly from its subscribers in the city in order to serve them better and continuously meet their telecommunication needs.

“This forum is very important to us. We want to know what you think about the company, the brand, and what you think about our products and services because we are eager to evolve. 9mobile is transforming; we are planning substantial changes in the company, but to make these changes right, we need to listen to our customers,” Udovicic
said.

Echoing similar sentiment, Director, Customer Care, 9mobile, Ehimare Omoike said: “We thought it would be nice to come here to feel the pulse of our customers, hear from you as we go into our planning season, to look at how best to serve our customers here in Kano and around the country. The customer forum is an initiative we started years back where we go to major cities to hear from our customers what the challenges are what they expect from us as a network.”

Samson Onwani, a 9mobile customer who attended the event said, “I am happy that 9mobile recognizes the value of its customers which is why we have been invited here today. I am also happy with the flow of the session, particularly the explanations on the different questions raised during the event.”

Another customer, Saadatu Ado, expressed satisfaction with the clarifications the 9mobile team provided to issues raised by participants at the forum. She said, “I liked the interactive nature of the meeting. The 9mobile team was able to clarify many issues raised by customers.”

The Customer Forum featured raffle draw sessions where lucky winners went home with mobile phones and other exciting prizes. There was also plenty to eat and drink in a thrilling atmosphere where @chiboiwazobiafm was master of ceremonies.

The next 9mobile Customer Forum train is set to berth in Lagos.

Watch out!

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Infinix Note 8 on celebrity talk show Rubbin minds with Ebuka, first smart phone in Nigeria

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Last Sunday, the Rubbin minds show took an unexpected but totally pleasant turn as popular presenter and
anchor of the show, Ebuka featured Infinix Content Manager, Kevin Olumese, on a special edition for the recently
launched Infinix Note 8.

If you’d cast your mind not so far back, you’d remember that Infinix set a record with the Note 8’s predecessor
(Note 7) earlier this year when it was launched in a short, Infinix-customized show which was studded with
celebrities. On Sunday, Infinix set another record as it became the first smartphone to be launched on the
celebrity talk show- Rubbin Minds.

If there’s anything that’s more interesting than the sound of this new achievement, it surely will be how exactly the
show went down.

As usual, Ebuka drilled deep into the business of his guest which, on this show, was the Infinix Note 8. No
questions were spared and Kevin, Infinix’s representative, did well to provide precise answers to every question
asked as regards the Infinix Note 8 and the Infinix brand on the show. And, as usual, both the anchor, guest and
most certainly, the viewers at home had a great time sharing laughs and conversation around the Note 8. The
show got off to an early start as Ebuka asked why the Note 8 was codenamed the Night Shot King. Kevin’s
simple answer to the question was “Simply put, it takes awesome shots at night.” However, he did us one better
as he explained in more detail what the Note 8’s night shot camera has to offer.

According to Kevin – and, backed up by several reviews online – the Note 8 comes with a 64MP Ultra HD, Nights
shot camera that introduces adequate lighting into low-light scenes and makes it possible to capture beautifully lit
images with true-to-life beauty and rich colours during the night time.

Kevin posited that this device could not have come at a better time than now. His reason for holding that position is that if the pandemic has thought us anything it’d be to cherish the moments that we get to share
together. Luckily, the lock-down has been eased all over the world and lovers, friends and people in general are
beginning to meet and hangout with themselves once again. Because these meetings are more special than they
used to be, it’s only apt for us to want to have them captured and saved up regardless of the time and the Note 8
makes sure that this is achievable at any time round the clock.

Among other features of the Note 8 that was discussed on the show was the device’s 6.95inch HD+ screen. The
super-wide screen is good for mobile gaming, Netflix or YouTube binging, bantering on social media and
consuming every form of visual content.

Other features include the 16Mp dual selfie camera that sits right in the top left corner of the devices screen, eliminates the upper notch, and captures crisp images. The device also comes with a mobile game-dedicated
processor called the MediaTek Helio G80 processor and runs on a 5200mAh battery.

During the course of the show, Kevin also revealed other things like why the brand adopts the type of designs
and uses the colour options that it currently uses for its product. He also shed some light on why Infinix has
Davido as its brand ambassador and why the brand has a keen interest in entertainment. This was a very
expository moment on the show.

Towards the tail end of the event, Infinix announced two of its empowerment activities that are already ongoing.
The first is the Storm X challenge, designed for young entertainers who can either dance or sing. Infinix has
promised to reward the winner of the challenge with the opportunity to feature one of Nigeria’s leading artiste.

The other empowerment activity is called the #EmpoweredByinfnixNote8 campaign and is targeted towards
young entrepreneurs. At the end of the campaign, lucky entrepreneurs will walk away with 1million naira
empowerment fund.

Interested participants can follow @Infinixnigeria on Facebook, Twitter r Instagram to get more details on any of
the empowerment activities.

This special edition of the Rubbin minds show was truly insightful and engaging and Infinix is set to entertain
viewers once more as they also announced that they’d be the lead sponsor of the second edition of the Turn Up
Friday which is set to kick off later this month.

Infinix has always devised means to connect better with their fans, and they seem to be intensifying their efforts
during this final quarter of the year. Hopefully, this move will yield great dividend for them as they prepare for the
end of the year.

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Hit the Infinix Global Jackpot and you might win a brand new car!

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There’s no better way to celebrate Christmas than with a big win. This year, Infinix will be giving its customers the opportunity to win big this festive season.

Infinix, premium online-driven smartphone brand, will be launching the “Infinix Global Jackpot” for the first time. The leading smartphone brand has decided to do this as a way of appreciating brand loyalists for their support over the years. Premium gifts, such as cars, refrigerators, home appliances and other grand draw prizes will be given out during the festive season.

Before you start making room for that brand new car, here’s what you need to know about the Infinix Global Jackpot.

The promo is set to start on the 27th of November and will end on the 13th of January. During this period, anyone who purchases any of the Infinix Note 8 series, Hot 10 series, Zero 8 series, or the S5 pro will be entitled to participate in an online raffle draw. At the end of the raffle, emergent winners will walk away with one of several amazing prizes including a brand new car.

Concerning the promo, Mr. Philip Pan, Infinix Global GTM and Retail Management Director said, “Infinix has achieved great milestones over the years and we couldn’t have done it without our customers. This is why we have made it a culture to continually show them our appreciation in the best way that we can. The ‘Infinix Global Jackpot’ is another gesture of appreciation from us to our beloved customers in Nigeria.”

There are three ways to benefit from this promo.

1. Offline purchase
Walk into any authorized retail store and buy any of the earlier mentioned devices i.e. Infinix Note 8 series, Zero 8 series, Hot 10 series or the S5 pro and stand a chance to win branded gift items like bags, flasks, umbrellas etc.

2. Join the Infinix community – Xclub
If you’re not a part of the Xclub and you own an Infinix device, you can simply register byaccessing the Xclub application on your smartphone application list. If you do not own an Infinix device, there’s nothing to worry about. You can also join the community by registering here.

Participate in Xclub activities after registration to stand a chance of winning discount coupons to purchase any Infinix device at a discount. Lucky individuals might also get to win one unit of the Infinix Zero 8 for free.

3. Participate in the raffle
The biggest winners will come from the raffle draw. Participants will stand a chance to walk away with selected home appliances and the Grand prize – one new car.

Here’s what you need to do to participate;

1. Get a ticket when you buy any of the Note 8 series, Hot 10 series, Zero 8 series, or S5 pro from offline stores to qualify for the raffle draw.

2. Follow @Infinixnigeria to get updates on the promo.

3. Watch out for your raffle ticket number during the raffle draw winner announcement.

Promo runs from November 27th till January 15th . So, get ready to see some wonderful surprises roll in from now till the New Year. The draw dates are as follows.

  • Lucky Prize:11 December 2020 – 13 January 2021 Live Draw.
  • Mega Jackpot:11 December 2020 – 5 January 2021 Draw date: 8 January 2021.
  • Super Jackpot:6 January 2021 – 13 January 2021 Draw date: 15 January 2021.

For more information, please visit Infinix on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram @Infinixnigeria.

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