A Nigerian pastor, Afolabi Ghandi Olaoye, has left his pastoral duty to take up an appointment as the traditional ruler of his ancient town.
Olaoye is leaving the pulpit to become the Soun (King) of Ogbomoso, an ancient city in Oyo State, South West Nigeria.
Ogbomoso, the second largest city in the state, has a population of over 450,000 people, according to the 2006 Census. It was founded in the mid-17th century and has five local government areas.
Until his appointment, Olaoye was a pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Nigeria’s largest Pentecostal Church. He was the church’s branch pastor at Jesus Parish, Washington, United States.
Founded in 1952, the RCCG has about nine million members across the world. It also has several parishes in about 120 countries with over 25,000 of them in Nigeria alone.
The church, headed by the revered 81-year old Pastor Enoch Adeboye, is known for her annual Holy Ghost convention with an attendance of about 500,000 people at the Redemption camp in Nigeria.
Olaoye has yet to be crowned as that will be done later in an elaborate ceremony as demanded by the tradition of the community.
Such ceremonies in Africa are believed to be tainted with fetishism. A monarch is required to undergo certain rituals before and after his installation.
His appointment was approved by the governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, and announced on September 2 in Ibadan, the state capital.
“His Excellency congratulates the new Soun-elect on his ascension to the throne of his forebears,” the state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Olusegun Olayiwola, said.
Olayiwola also urged all sons and daughters of the city to work with the new monarch to consolidate the successes of his forefathers.
Olaoye, who hails from the Laoye Ruling House, was among 23 people who showed interest in occupying the traditional stool left by Jimoh Ajagungbade, who died in December 2021, at the age of 95 years after reigning for 48 years.
Many have been wondering why Olaoye would quit the pulpit to become a traditional ruler in a palace often associated with traditional rites and demonic rituals.
The pastor-turned monarch had told journalists in 2022 that he was not interested in the throne initially but changed his mind after hearing directly from God, who He claimed told him it was his destiny to be enthroned as the traditional ruler of his people.
He also said he consulted with Pastor Adeboye, who, according to him, directed him to first fast and pray about it.
Although he did not heed to the advice, Olaoye said he was to hear clearly from God that it was his destiny to become the king of Ogbomoso.
“I heard God told me on January 2, 2022, that becoming the Soun of Ogbomoso was my destiny.
“The next thing I heard, clearly, ‘You were born for this; this is the reason for your birth.’ That’s what I heard. Of course, that’s not what I was expecting. But, let me tell you this is what I heard, I am 10/10,” he said.
Also last year, he told his church members, “All I am doing is to obey God. Let me tell you this: If we find out in five years’ time that this church starts to have a crisis and things start to go down and you find out that the Lord spoke to me and I did not obey and it becomes like the case of Jonah or Achan, I hope you will not say thank God you did not answer God. You will be angry that God spoke to me and I did not obey.
“All I am doing is obeying God. This action is not any action of avarice. It is not any action of greediness. It is nothing but obeying God and this is what I have preached for 30 years.”