The night of Friday, December 6, 2019, would for long remain an unforgettable one in Ikorodu, a sprawling community in Lagos.
On the night, tens of thousands of men, women and children literally invaded the expansive premises of Ikorodu Town Hall as well as the streets adjoining the facility. They were there for this year’s edition of Convocation to Praise: A Night of 365 Hallelujahs.
It was the eighth edition of the annual programme hosted by Joy Cometh Ministries (JCM), founded by Pastor Olaitan Aromolaran.
The annual night of praise and prayers was started at the venue in December 2012 when the JCM founder and senior pastor was a provincial evangelist with the Redeemed Christian Church of God where he led the Covenant of Peace Parish on Lowa Street, Ikorodu. When Joy Cometh Ministries started in November 2016, the new church took over the administration of the programme, as the man who had the vision was also the founder of the new ministry.
Each edition of the Night of 365 Hallelujahs attracts as many as 30,000 people to Ikorodu. And this year’s event was no exception.
The event kicked off at about 7pm with song ministrations from the choir and other Christian artistes, even as congregants poured into the venue in their numbers.
The event commenced with a ministration by the wife of the senior pastor, Pastor (Mrs) Yemi Aromolaran. She described hallelujah as the language of access and spoke on how God was capable of creating access to life’s seemingly unattainable situations. In her words, praising God was an open door to blessings. She led the first set of 73 shouts of Hallelujah.
The second set of 73 shouts of Hallelujah was conducted by another pastor in the Joy Cometh Ministries, Ola Oriola. He tutored the congregation on how to attract God’s blessings in the coming year. While expressing optimism that the year would be a great one for those that believe and serve God, Pastor Oriola asserted that no matter the state of the economy, people of faith would always have cause to praise God. Even as he read from Genesis 2:19, the pastor charged the congregants to be focused, guard their eyes, their thoughts and the words of their mouth.
Pastor Juwon Adekoya conducted the third set of 73 shouts of Hallelujah. He read extensively from Job 2. 11, Job 16 and John 5, among other scriptures.
Prophet Adeniyi Olowoporoku, General Overseer of Love of Christ Chapel International Ministries, conducted the fourth set of 73 shouts of Hallelujah. He told the congregation that, to be successful in the coming year, they must shun sin, give their lives to Christ and live righteous lives. Reading from the book of Job and other Bible passages, the prophet enjoined them to remain faithful and committed to God, noting that God’s blessings would always abide by those that believe. He said he had known Pastor Aromolaran for long and testified to how God had been using the JCM senior pastor over the years.
The final round of shouts of Hallelujah was conducted by Pastor Aromolaran. He told the congregation that the programme was an initiative handed over to him by God.
Said the pastor: “Years ago when I just became born again, the General Overseer of the RCCG, Pastor E.A. Adeboye, was to have a programme at Ikorodu Town Hall. I went there, but discovered that the rug of the pulpit was worn out and unattractive. I quickly went back home, got some money and bought another rug. I went back and replaced the old rug. After the programme, I took the rug home and it became my prayer mat. Then I heard the voice that one day, I would gather a large number of people at the same venue just to shout 365 Hallelujahs. I didn’t understand, as I wasn’t even a pastor then.
“Then when it was time, I started hearing the message again, and we started it in 2012. And here we are today.”
He also recalled how he got saved as a terrible gangster in the university while returning from a hotel around midnight. He said, if God could save a man like him without anyone preaching to him, then no one should be without hope.
He conducted the last shouts of Hallelujah, assuring the congregants that all of them would be alive to witness the next edition.
There were musical and drama performances by different groups and individuals, including the Footprints of David, Mrs, Fasoyin, leader of the Good Women Choir, as well as the 1,000-strong mass choir that usually ministers at the programme every year. There were also performances from Igbo, Niger Delta, Lagos and Ekiti groups.
Several testimonies were rendered by participants. Two women testified to how their bleeding of several months stopped during last year’s edition of the programme, while another narrated how she excreted a live snake from her body. Another woman said her fibroid disappeared mysteriously.
There were several dignitaries at the event, including the Adeboruwa of Igbogbo Kingdom, Oba Abdulsemiu Orimadegun Kasali, and the lawmaker representing Ikorodu 1 at the Lagos State House of Assembly, SOB Agunbiade.
Security at the venue was tight, with policemen and other security agents on ground. Many traders made brisk business selling assorted articles outside the premises all through the night.