Cardinal James Omolaja Odunmbaku, Visioner/President, Christ Ambassador Soul Winners Ministries Int’l, is a known name in Lagos politics. Popularly known as Baba Eto, a grassroots mobilizer, he is also a renowned prophet in the Celestial Church of Christ. Last year, he was ordained as General Evangelist World Wide of the CCC. In this interview with Saturday Sun, the MD/CEO of Highway Managers Ltd didn’t talk about politics but voiced his views on lifestyle, among other things.
I could see lots of people waiting to see you on daily basis. How do you cope handling that with your ministerial work?
I’m accessible to everybody. Whether it’s domestic affair, spiritual affair or whichever level they find themselves and they need advice. If it is spiritual, I’m very much around. I don’t send people away, I will attend to you and at least make people happy with the token I have in my hand and with the special advice of the spiritual knowledge I have. We close church at 2pm or 3pm on Sunday and by 11pm to 12 midnight I’m here still attending to people. I’m not tired of that. But I’m not sure when God would say ‘stop everything and come home.’ I’m a fisher of men. I’m on top of winning souls for Christ, no matter your denomination. That is what I have been doing for the past 15 years on an expanse of land at Ibeju Lekki. Kudos to the Lagos State government since the days of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the national leader of our great party (APC) as the governor. He made that place available for us and he’s a Muslim. He gave us the opportunity to serve our God. Same goes to Governor Raji Fashola and subsequent governors of Lagos State. Their objective is that people should be able to follow Christ Jesus or follow their religion, if it is Islamic religion. The only thing we don’t want anyone to lose is eternal life.
What has life taught you as a person?
Life has taught me that I should do good , irrespective of whoever comes to you. That I should be accessible to people. Let people feel your impact as a living entity and in doing such, we are going to give an account of whatever we do on this earthly sojourn. That has made me humble. Also, life has taught me to follow God’s injunction all the time, regardless of my own faith which is Celestial Church.
Growing up, were you told that you would become a prophet of God or influential?
I was born a Nazarene. Before I was born, there was a prophecy that no razor should touch my hair. Just like Samson that no razor should touch his hair because of the power bestowed on him by God himself directly. That was what happened in my own case. I’m a Nazarene of God and razor has not touched my head since I was born. I still have a living mum, she’s 95 years old. I’m 73 going to 74 by God’s grace. Moving forward, I did not go to any Bible college or attend a Bible class. God taught me His words and He gave me prophetic utterances. I know the difference between sleeping and dreaming, I know what God wants and what He says I should say. Deuteronomy 18 vs 20 says: If God did not say something and you said it, you will die. I’m very much aware of that, so I listen to his voice with rapt attention and I deliver same message without fear and has always come to pass. I’m born as a prophet of God and I’m still in his vineyard, regardless of my shortcomings, which God knows, that I’m not clean. I didn’t say I’m 100 percent clean, because whoever arrogates that to himself is a dead person . But God is there to erase all our shortcomings and make us whole and pure.
What would you say about the misconceptions people have about you as ‘Baba Eto’ of Lagos?
What God has destined to happen will happen. The Baba Eto in question is not my nickname. It was somebody who has been given the opportunity by God to organize people and they listen because we will not tell them what is not going to happen and that is one of those things that Asiwaju did not like at all. He doesn’t like deceits. Don’t tell people you are coming and you are not coming, don’t tell people you are Mr. So, So, So, and you are not. We follow his examples and his teachings. Same applicable to our immediate boss, the current Minister of Interior, Alhaji Raufu Adesoji Aregbesola. He loves truth to the marrow. They are my role models. That is why anywhere you go, you hear Baba Eto. We did not give ourselves that accolade, it is only God that gave us the opportunity . My real names are James Omolaja Odunmbaku.
You look splendid in your white robe and in multi-coloured, meaning looking good is part of your lifestyle?
I don’t serve a dirty God. Have you seen a certain place on earth that God would ask people to come and clean to make the place neat? The answer is No. So, my God is a clean God and whoever must serve him must do that with every cleanliness. No matter the cost of that dress because there are some dresses that fall within the high and low cadre, it depends on the person who puts it on. It’s not about the cost of the outfit. That’s why I’m in a white garment church where you are supposed to appear in immaculate white with clean heart, clean mind about people and about your God. That is my lifestyle. I’m a rigid believer of God and nothing but that. I love every other person to love me as I love them if it’s possible. If it’s not possible, there’s no problem, because God is love. Whoever does not love does not belong to God. That is why I show implicit love to all those that come across me. I can relate with anybody no matter the status. I will respect where respect is necessary, I will be humble where humility is necessary, I will be humble to give advice where advice is necessary no matter what without any discrimination about your age.
So, Baba Eto is a nickname?
Yes, it’s a nickname, not my real name
You are also referred to as Cardinal; Catholics are known as Cardinal, how did you come about yours?
God did not create Catholic alone. He created man and woman in his own image. So, I won’t go further than that. God did not create Anglican, he did not create Apostolic or Celestial Church alone. He created man and woman in his image. No particular appellation or title or designation is reserved for a particular religion.
Last year, you were appointed General Evangelist worldwide by another church, what does that signify?
I’m a preacher of the word and the prophet of the Most High.
General Evangelist worldwide was given to me by Cherubim and Seraphim church. Like I was telling you, God did not create a particular religion and says these are the titles; if you merit it, they give it to you, if you don’t merit it, they take it from you.
So, in London, America, Germany, you are there?
Anywhere; the length and breadth of the world. That is the Lord’s doing.
How do you start your day and how do you relax?
I don’t relax at all. I talk to God all the time.
You don’t relax?
Does God sleep? I relax by talking about God 24/7
Where is your favorite travel destination?
Anywhere in the world is home for me.
What’s your favorite food?
I eat any food aside poison. Poison is the only thing I would not take, but food, I eat everything. God created all foods and if the food is not good I will sanctify it and eat.
You are clocking 74, what are your regets?
I’m contented. Whatever comes my way, I take it as a gift of God. Whether we like it or not, everything would come to an end.