About a century after the exploits of their founders in indigenising Christianity in Africa, particularly Nigeria, recognition and honour came the way of the renowned quartet of charismatic and evangelical movements in the country since the early 20th century for the significant roles they played in the history and development of the church in the country.
The historic honour came from the University of Ibadan as it inducted their present leaders as Distinguished Fellows of the Nigeria Academy of Church History and Missiology (NACHAM).
Newly listed in this hall of fame are, the Supreme Head, Cherubim & Seraphim Unification Church of Nigeria, Prophet Solomon Adegboyega Alao; National Vice President, The Apostolic Church Nigeria, Pastor Emmanuel Segun Awojide, President Christ Apostolic Church, Pastor Abraham Olukunle Akinosun and Primate Church of the Lord (Aladura) Most Revd Okikiola Oshitelu.
A 92-year-old Professor of Church History from Scotland, Andrew Walls, also shared the pride of place with the eminent church leaders
The academy is an integral part of the Department of Religious Studies, Faculty of Arts, UI.
It has conducted extensive research on the growth of indigenous churches and evangelical activities pioneered and promoted by these leading churches and which revolutionize mode of praying, dressing, and liturgical practices from the othordox denominations of the western missionaries. Their emergence also created waves as it was marked by miracles, and manisfestation of prophetic and healing powers.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof Abel Idowu Olayinka, welcomed the awardees and their entourage, lauding them for their prayers and important role they continued to play in the affairs of the nation. He described religion as key to nation- building and urged the church not to relent in this task.
Represented by his deputy (Academics) Prof Adebola Ekanola, the VC, urged the religious leaders to also pray for the university, whose founding, he said, was divine.
Head of Department and National President of the Academy, Prof Samson Adetunji Fatokun, said the honourees were deserving and carefully selected national leaders of Nigerian initiated churches of the earliest 20th century origin:
“Historically evaluated, the four selected Nigerian instituted churches, have in their formative years in the country, significantly played pivotal roles (without the physical presence of any white missions with them), in laying the foundation for indigenous Pentecostal Christianity in the Nigerian church which in turn ignited the flame of ‘Spirit-Renewal Movement as we have all over the country today.
“The honourees are, indeed, men of ‘timber and caliber’ who have significantly contributed through their respective church denominations to the advancement of Nigerian indigenous Christianity both in African countries and overseas, as evident in their numerous branches outside Nigeria with striking Nigeria indigenous identities.”
He disclosed that all researches conducted so far extolled St Moses Orimolade Tunolase as a true Prophet of God and admonished some churches using candles for what Baba Tunolase never used it for.
The National President of the academy particularly expressed delight that the C&S leader, Baba Alao, was toeing the path of Baba Orimolade, hence the honour by the university. He told the awardees they would be constantly expected to contribute to religious studies in the Ivory Tower.
Baba Alao thanked the university for the award stressing that he was particularly happy that the first university in Nigeria held St Moses Orimolade in high esteem and recognised the good works he did for salvation and deliverance of many people.
He, however, pleaded with the federal and state governments to do more in alleviating the suffering and hardship of Nigerians and curtail corruption.
He also urged religious leaders to join hands with President Muhammadu Buhari in his quest to fight corruption and make the country better.
He pledged the cooperation and support of Cherubim & Seraphim Unification Church of Nigeria towards research work on the C & S as the first Pentecostal church in this part of the world with over 750,000 branches worldwide.