Prophet M.O. Olowere is one of the Christ Apostolic Church’s most respected ministers of the gospel. With his journey into the ministry, spanning six decades, he has spearheaded the planting of several churches within the CAC mission, beginning with the CAC Oke-Imole, Agbowo, in 1978. Now in his 80s, Baba Automatic, as he is popularly called, in this encounter with RITA OKONOBOH, speaks about his time in the ministry, why he bears that epithet, what he thinks of luxury lifestyle of some clerics, among other issues.
Journey into the ministry
YOU can call me an Ibadan man. I came to Ibadan in 1952, when I was still quite young. However, my father is from Ifaki, Ekiti, while I was born in Ilesa. My journey into the ministry is a very long story, full of so many experiences. However, let me give an abridged version. I was a worker, acquiring skills, before I received the call into the ministry.
When I was five years in the profession, I was attending the CAC, Oniyanrin, at the time I received the divine call. I worked in many parts of Oyo State. We repaired scales for cocoa, and generally, worked with as many things that had to do with iron, metal, bolts, and nuts. I was very dedicated to my work and mastered the art, such that my boss at the time praised my skill. We even worked on the iron rods erected at the Oyo Water Corporation at the time. I learnt bricklaying for two years as well. When it was almost eight months that I would have finished my service as it related to learning the ropes of the business, the call into the ministry came again. However, it got to a point that I couldn’t evade the call anymore. So, I went to the CAC church in Kano State, as God directed me. When I got to Kano, the chairman there said I couldn’t be there because, according to him, the work of the gospel was not what I imagined. I also went to Zaria and got the same response.
However, I worked for three and a half years in other CAC churches, before I was brought to UI area, a church around there. With time, I worked in some other places before I became an evangelist, and continued in the ministry, till where God has brought me to today.
I went to theological school for two years. Although, I had been in the ministry long before then, I was ordained a cleric on December 14, 1975. The CAC, Oke Imole, Agbowo was the first church which I planted, through God’s grace in 1978. There are many branches that the CAC Oke-Imole has birthed. I worked under a lot of renowned CAC prophets. Although, I didn’t work with Prophet Ayo Babalola, I knew him. To mention one or two examples, I worked under the tutelage of Prophet Babajide between 1974 and 1975 in Ilesa. I also witnessed Baba Obadare’s resurrection. There have been challenges, but God has been faithful. The challenges have been many, in many regions of Nigeria. It’s one of the reasons I’m thanking God for clocking 60 years in the ministry.
Why are you referred to as Baba Automatic?
19 years ago, God spoke to me in a dream. In that dream, He showed me what He referred to as the way through which He wanted his people to call on Him, and through which their prayers would be answered. He said if they called the name, ‘Jesus’ and responded with ‘Power,’ He would work wonders in the lives of people. God also asked me, in that revelation, to start a programme tagged Automatic Prayer. That was how we started. Today, the attendance for that programme features more than 35,000 people, who come from within and outside Nigeria. That’s why people call me Baba Automatic.
You have been in the ministry for 60 years now. How would you compare Christianity of the time when you embraced the ministry and what obtains now?
Sadly, unlike when we joined the ministry during that time, now, it would seem people want to run faster than God; there is impatience when it comes to waiting for God’s time. And if a person refuses to wait for God’s time, you won’t reach your desired destination, because God will not go faster than you, just to please you. Many people nowadays are very impatient. For 20 years after I came into the ministry, I washed with caustic soda. How many clerics today can take that? Instead, clerics nowadays want to tour around the world in luxury in the shortest time as possible after they come into the ministry. They are anxious to become popular and rich. That is not how it should be. You come into the ministry expecting trials and hardship, especially at the beginning. However, when God wills, He will bless you through that ministry. Being a cleric demands perseverance and endurance. If a cleric is impatient, wanting to be successful, before God’s appointed time, you will miss it and, instead, become labelled a false prophet. I would advise clerics to be truthful to their calling in totality. They should also be humble, whatever the gift God has blessed them with. Even if you have been blessed with the gift of raising the dead, you must be humble. They should follow the dictates of the Bible. They should also learn from the biblical examples of prophets.
You’re in your eighties, yet you don’t seem to be slowing down. You even do dry fasting. What’s the secret?
It has been by the grace of God. My life has been dedicated to spreading the gospel and serving God and He has remained faithful in giving me strength for this race. Even at my age, I fast a lot. Fasting and prayers are part of what God requires of us as clerics, and as Christians. A Christian must learn how not to eat too much, lest he/she opens up the passage for the devil to take hold. Fasting and prayers build discipline, resilience and helps a Christian stand ready at all times. Also, I relax well. When I want to relax, I don’t receive visitors. I sleep, pray, and I also use that time to hear from God.
You are quite older than your wife. How did you express your interest to marry her?
That she would be my wife was through divine revelation. In fact, three times, an angel showed her to me as my wife. Initially, I refused the revelation. Then God told me if I didn’t want what He wanted for me, I should go ahead and do what pleased me. You know when God tells you that, you have no choice but to follow divine leading. I had known her since when she was young and was even friends with her elder brother, who is also a cleric. One day, I invited her to see me. When we met, I didn’t mince words, and asked her if she would be interested in marrying me. She was very shocked. After we parted that day, I told her not to tell her parents. However, when she got home, she told her mother and interestingly, her mother told her it had also been revealed to her that we would get married. Three months later, her brother, who is also a cleric, came to my house on a visit. He said God had repeatedly revealed to him that I would marry his sister.
Next year would make it 40 years you got married. How has the experience been?
In all the years we have been married, I have never raised my voice at her in anger. As a prophet, I have to be very careful with my utterances and it has never happened that I have been angry with her. Even my children have wondered how we never argue. We read the Bible, follow its dictates, and my wife is a person who fears God.
The CAC is known for prayer mountains; is it compulsory a person visits a prayer mountain before his/her prayers can be answered?
It’s not compulsory. However, praying on a mountain helps a person to be focused. I’ve been visiting prayer mountains for more than 60 years now, and I can say the ways prayers are answered for those who visit prayer mountains are different. Even Jesus Christ visited prayer mountains.
It is not uncommon for prophets to, sometimes, demand monetary compensation for revelations. Is this supposed to be?
Such prophets are not Bible-inclined, and are simply criminals. In fact, sometimes, when people come to see me, I give them money. It is insensitive to ask a person who comes to you with problems for compensation to do a divine duty.
What is your advice for the CAC on unity?
The devil is responsible for the disunity but before long, there shall be unity. We have been praying and by God’s grace, we will experience unity soonest.
Prophets come across all sorts of people, seeking answers to life’s questions. Take, for instance, some persons come to seek revelations regarding future spouses, some coming with as many as ten names. Is this right?
Bringing ten names is greed. Two, three names are enough. In fact, single people need to be very careful about people who come to seek their hands in marriage.
Do you think Nigeria would do better if the country disintegrates?
If God wills it, Nigeria will disintegrate. It’s not in the hands of man for Nigeria to break up. If God wills it and sees that our being together or apart will be for our good, it will be so.
How would you advise government on insecurity?
They should ensure that perpetrators of violence are brought to justice. Even the Bible preaches against all these vices, so it behoves on government to ensure that the law takes its due course as it relates to insecurity.