Rudolf Okonkwo: First draft of Leke Adeboye’s ascension speech as Baby G.O. of RCCG
My dear brethren,
I send you all Calvary greetings and love from my daddy’s office. As we get ready for Easter, I have a recurring vision about death and resurrection that I want to share with all the over five million members of my daddy’s church. As you all know, our beloved Daddy G.O. has surpassed the three scores and ten years that God promised us. For all practical purposes, that he is still on the field playing is all thanks to injury time. We may need an urgent transition to new leadership in our ministry any time from now.
As Daddy’s most beloved son and his most senior special assistant, with whom he is well pleased, I need to address you about this inevitable transition in our church.
We cannot afford to leave things hanging the way primitive and local churches like the Cherubim and Seraphim and the Celestial Churches did. Ours is an international church with branches in over 196 countries. If we do not have a solid transition plan, we may find ourselves entangled in the type of embarrassing fights that made those poverty-ridden churches like Cherubim and Seraphim and Celestial the laughing stocks of the world when their founders died.
Having looked at the capacity of the current leadership of our church, having gone through their personnel files, I can authoritatively tell you that none of the people in those positions has what it takes to take our church to the next level. Apart from my late brother, Dare, all the other people out there in London, New York, South Africa and Abuja parading themselves as potential replacements of our beloved Daddy G.O. are nincompoops. They do not have the grandeur, the gravitas, and the sophistication we need in this jet-setting Bitcoin age to take the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) to a place that the Catholic Church did not dream of.
In our future church, it will not be enough to get an average of $1 for every 5 million of us each Sunday. We need to position daddy’s church where we can raise our membership to 10 million people in the next ten years and get $10 for every member. My daddy wants to put a church “within five minutes walking distance in developing cities and five minutes driving distance in developed cities.” I want anyone, anywhere who looks out of a window to see the shining light of a Redeemed Christian Church of God. For every African member of our church, I want two non-African members, preferably from countries with hard currencies. Never again will we depend on Nigerians who are abroad as our main source of cash flow. Now, that will be a church that I will be proud to say deserves my ingenuity.
Therefore, I, Leke, having studied the Christian movement from the medieval age to this modern age, having watched our beloved Daddy G.O. travel around the world like a colossus, having been the power behind some of the most consequential decisions our Daddy’s church has made in recent time, I can tell you that nobody is more prepared than me to ascend the throne.
I may be younger than most of the pretenders to the throne, but I have the Wisdom of Solomon. I have been in the thick of things, and I am not carried away by sentiments; neither do things of the world wow me. I have seen it all. I have the maturity to knock knucklehead pastors in line. Years of service by these errant pastors do not move me. I will do what is best for the bottom line of our church.
This has become necessary as we face this stiff challenge from Winner’s Chapel and their one-man operation led by Bishop David Oyedepo and sons. We must not let them outshine us. It is a real danger that we will face in the next ten years as the new generation of leaders takes over across the Pentecostal churches in Nigeria. As long as I am alive, I will not let Daddy’s lifelong investment go the way of Bishop Benson Idahosa. Iro! I am the only one very well equipped not only to give them a run for their money but to maintain our RCCG as the premiere church out of Africa for the next 100 years.
During my reign, I want my daddy’s church to top the list of churches with the highest weekly attendance in the world. I want our church to beat South Korea’s Yoido Full Gospel Church and India’s Calvary Temple with 480,000 and 350,000 weekly attendances, respectively. I know we can do it. I have studied what those churches are doing, and I assure you that I will replicate it at our Prayer City right here at our Lagos-Ibadan Expressway headquarters. I have noticed that the ragtag Deeper Life Church is ranked higher than us in weekly attendance. That is an absolute insult.
Unlike some of the pretenders to daddy’s throne, I have spent long hours 30,000 feet up in the air, in my daddy’s private jet thinking about stuff like this. If we fail to move in and dominate our domain and even beyond, some of the edifices that we are building today will be desolate in the next 50 years, left for rats to occupy or be converted into a nightclub. I bet you, some of the people angling to take over from my daddy will not be around in 50 years. How do you expect such goats to think about where to position our church in 50 years’ time? I will be around, and I have a vivid dream of where our church will be then.
For those of you who do not know, I have a masters’ degree in Aerospace Technology and Engineering from the University of Hertfordshire, England. I could have been a very successful engineer anywhere in the world. But I humbled myself and subjected myself to an eight-hour interview to be a personal assistant to Daddy G.O. In that interview, I wore a suit and tie when I went in and came out eight hours later wearing only a singlet and boxers. It was torture. Only Jesus, who suffered on the cross, can fathom what I went through in that interview. All for what? All for the lowest paying job in my daddy’s ministry. Am I humble or what?
While Daddy G.O. loves to fish and watch James Bond films, I am more like Buhari’s son, Yusuf. I have a flair for hot bikes. That means that I will bring speed and excitement as your General Overseer. You don’t have to worry about how I will sustain myself. My hot wife is the CEO of OASIS Suya Eatery and Shawarma and Mimi’s confectionary. I may be the last son, but I am the first in line in terms of astuteness and preparation.
For those who cannot wrap their minds around my logic, I will use a canal example to illustrate what I mean. Daddy G.O. is like the beloved Queen of England, Elizabeth 11. Everybody agrees that what would be great for the United Kingdom is to have the crown skip Prince Charles and go straight to Prince William. Our beloved Redeemed Christian Church of God is facing a similar dilemma. The good news is that, unlike the British Crown, where the Imperial Majesty must follow the signed and documented ancient ascension plan, ours has no such encumbrance.
It is my daddy’s and my daddy’s alone. And like the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, I do not have to wait around to assume power. I do not have to go to any parliament or in front of a committee or a team of kingmakers to transform myself from the presumptive leader to the substantive leader. So, let this letter serve as an introduction of my humble self to all our brethren and as a warning to all those who may want to be on my way.
Even though I have the three cutesiest children in the world with my hot wife, I know some of you traditionalists may have difficulty calling me Daddy G.O. at this young age. I do understand. To accommodate you all, I am willing to answer Baby G.O. until such a time when I am older than the median age of our church members.
Let me stop here. I have to catch a flight. My daddy’s private jet has been waiting for me for the last two hours on the tarmac. Please file this under your top-secret files. Don’t let those leeches on social media get their hands on it. It is just a draft that shows a man ready to accept and ascend the leadership of our great church at a minute’s notice.
May God bless you all.
Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo teaches Post-Colonial African History 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”, “Children of a Retired God,” among others.
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