Early 1980s. The setting is Iroko, a sleepy town along old Ibadan-Oyo Road. A crusade was holding on the field of one of the primary schools there. At the centre of this was the preacher, whose words oozed with the power that commanded the attention of many people that had been attracted to the crusade ground.
After preaching fervently against iniquities and man’s wickedness against his fellow man, it was the time to battle witches and wizards. The man of God launched into a special prayer that practically shook the ground. In the process, weird sporadic cries erupted from several angles of the pitch. Some of the people making the noises, mostly women, fell down unconsciously, with some rolling on the ground with the impression that they were under the spell of some powerful spirits.
Soon, normalcy returned at the end of the prayer, but it was confession time. One after the other, some people climbed the platform on which the pastor and his interpreter stood. The fellows said various strange things, mostly indicating negative things they had done on the strength of the wicked powers they possessed.
Among other people, many pupils of Iroko Community Grammar School, who were in the congregation, would not forget in a hurry the confession made by one woman from whom they bought dried fish, ‘puff puff’ and groundnut. She said she was a witch, but she was ready to change her ways for good.
The story did not end there. The man of God noted that some of the trees that punctuated various parts of the town, including those standing by roadsides, played hosts to the contrary spirits who held their nocturnal meetings there. He ordered that such trees be felled, and the instruction was promptly carried out by residents who yearned for succor from captivity.
The man of God in question is Prophet Timothy Oluwole Obadare, the founder of World Soul-Winning Evangelical Ministry, who died on Thursday. With his passage, Nigeria has lost a veteran preacher and, one may say, a spiritual warrior, who dedicated his life to the prophetic, preaching and healing calling.
Before radio and TV evangelism became the fad in Nigeria, Obadare’s voice had for long reigned on air, and it will continue to ring in the mind of many people in years to come. Although, he could also not completely escape some controversy, many Nigerians will remember Obadare for his not submerging himself in the kind of politics that affects the credibility of some men of God.