Time past is a different country, penned L. P.Hartley: they do things differently there. This statement is getting truer and truer with each passing day, policy or overall change. Time was when the world could be counted on to sit on its bottom and not jostle itself. No more! Things have changed. Things have changed, and almost every institution bears the markings of these changes.
The religious institution has in recent time evolved from an amoeba of chanting followers to something of a Godzilla on a rampage, taking out the old ways with new high-rise buildings, massive service grounds and congregations that number into the thousands on average. Lagos, Abuja and other reputable cities of Nigeria bear witness to these establishments.
One of the most charming of these vast establishments is that of the Latter Rain Assembly, founded and headed by the very outspoken Pastor Tunde Bakare. The beauty of a worship centre, located along Kudirat Abiola Way in Oregun area of Lagos, was just still largely barren only a few years back. And now…
The complex sits on a 3-level basement parking, underlying four suspended floors and galleries, with a helipad to top it all. The Citadel, it is called, is a riot of structures, including a 5000+ auditorium, classrooms, vestibules, bookshops and libraries, to name a few. How many worship centres can boast of a senate chamber with a spacious office for the church’s overseer? This one does.
Most noticeably, the complex will also enclose counselling halls, driveways, transformers, a sewage treatment site, diesel tanks and dumps, restaurants, baptismal pools, beauty parlours and spa, and even a gym. A gym! Physical training, true to form, is of some value.
According to folks, the project is being overseen by the civil engineering group of Italian origin, Cappa & D’Alberto Plc, is expected to be completed before next year, and is about 70 percent in already. Nearly ₦13 billion has reportedly gone into this project and so much is to be expected of its enterprise.
To think that this church was founded about 30 years ago with a handful of congregants, but has grown to house thousands and thousands…that speaks to a victorious vision, and vast resources. Pastor Bakare himself is reputed with having deep pockets and deeper connections, with interests in business, law and automobile sales, and cargo logistics. (Recall that Pastor Bakare hosted a fundraising event sometime in 2016, where dignitaries such as Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufar, were very much on ground.)
The church is marching on…