Some of the things that stand Reverend Esther Ajayi, founder of the Love of Christ Generation Church, Cherubim and Seraphim, Worldwide, out are her contagious smile and dancing steps. Although a lot of unanswered questions abound about the clergy woman, one factor is constant; her love for giving cushioned through acts of philanthropy shines forth. Recently, she dedicated one of the biggest religious edifices in Nigeria and in this interview with Ayodeji Ake, she touched on the source of her wealth, how to combat the disturbing insecurity situation of Nigeria spiritually and divine message for Nigerians
With your newly built church, you are sending a message to the world that Nigeria is a better place to live, what’s the worth of this mighty edifice?
We can’t estimate what the Lord has done. It was during the era of COVID-19, we know the worth of oxygen. Nobody can quantify the goodness of God. But we thank Almighty God, He has done what He wants to do and the prayer is what He has done should be an everlasting thing.
At the time Nigerians are trying to migrate, you came and built this mighty edifice, is there something Nigerians do not understand about where they are migrating to?
Ignorance has made Nigerians migrate to developed countries. We have to be very careful on how we educate our people. After I left for 15 years, I realised that I can’t live anywhere except Africa because at some time those who had left the country regret their actions. It’s a bit very difficult to correct their mistakes but at some point we need to believe that developing countries also have their ups and downs.
I believe very soon Nigeria will get there. The difference is just that the white people do not have the mentality of keeping billions in their account. I could remember when we were abroad we were paying 650,000 pounds for rent.
When my husband was working over there, the tax was about 60,000 pounds per annum. A lot of Nigerians do not know how difficult it is outside. As a Nigerian, if you have 100,000 naira every month after necessary bills as savings then you can survive.
In England where I live, at the end of the month it’s even hard to have 40 pounds left for saving and that’s how their society is. Those that make some money are those in the health sector. It’s better to stay here and live your life. Let’s learn skills and develop ourselves.
We don’t have to wait for the government to do everything for us. Where we are missing it is that a lot of people are waiting for the government. The world is developing that with a smartphone you can start a business and you won’t pay rent. I pray God will help us.
Have you ever received any message for Nigeria?
Yes, I am a dreamer and a visioner. At some point I see Nigerians running and also at some point I see myself telling some people that things will get better and there won’t be war. I will wake from my sleep and will pray for Nigeria that there won’t be war and God will take us out of where we are at the moment. The Holy Book says, there is time for everything. We will face another regime and I’m very sure that God will help us.
Are you finally in Nigeria now?
I will be travelling abroad because I have a church in England and Osun State but I will be here because there is nowhere like home. It’s just like someone running from the village to Lagos but it’s not as easy as they thought. They always feel they pick money on the streets of Lagos but it doesn’t happen like that. By the time they leave Nigeria they will be able to come back.
I know a woman who wants to save money for a ticket to come home. She couldn’t make it but when I came into her life we both discussed it and she was worried that not only the ticket but also will need money to buy things for people in Nigeria she already left for years. Ignorance is taking a lot of people abroad.
In Nigeria, all you need to do is to cut your coat according to your cloth and not your size. If you are obese you have to lose weight to ensure the cloth sizes you (laughs).
At the moment Nigerians are going through a lot and over the years we have had motivational speakers and clerics chip in their advice but it seems the situation is beyond motivation. What do you have for Nigerians differently that can give them the succour they desire?
In England there are still people that are homeless. Charitable activities have been my thing and I know what people go through on a daily basis. You will see citizens with passports sleeping on the street in England. Which simply means that no government of any country can give perfection, it is not going to happen.
The government that will give you perfection is in heaven. In Africa, all we need is divine intervention. Some leaders will take our money outside the country and use it to develop their country. We want God to touch the mind of our leaders to make them become selfless.
What will somebody be doing with millions of dollars in his or her house, that’s madness. Going to the grave to keep money there is also madness. We need to pray that God should touch their heart to remember the poor.
The big concern is that the poor people are far more than the rich. The developed countries put the poor people first before the rich but in Nigeria reverse is that case. They put the rich first before the poor people. We will continue to pray that God should touch our leaders.
It’s no more news that insecurity has been a major challenge in Nigeria at the moment, what is your charge to Nigerians?
You can’t use the devil to battle the devil. What’s happening in Nigeria now as regards insecurity can be likened to a marriage. For a marriage to work patience is needed if not the marriage will hit the rock. We can’t use violence to curtail violence. At some point, God will intervene and will never leave.
In the Holy Book, God said He is with us till the end of our days and I’m very certain I repeat that He will never leave us. If we start to fight back, it will definitely lead to war and we don’t want war in Nigeria. Our story is different from Afghanistan. The COVID-19 have sent a message to the world. A lot of countries have recorded very high mortality rates and still God kept us. How God did that still remains a mystery. I’m very sure that by God’s grace we will get there.
Months ago you said the C&S mission is moving to the 21 century, is this mighty edifice part of the big idea?
The C&S mission is not divided nor is the entire Christian mission divided. The Holy Book says we are one in Christ. My spiritual father, Pastor Enoch Adeboye came to a C&S church to preach. It simply means we are together. Before now, no one will ever believe that a white garment church can put up this structure which also means God is working. It is a process and we will definitely get there.
One important thing I want to also say is that we don’t stop. A lot of people have been praying and dreaming that this is just the beginning of amazing grace and the Lord is about to start with me. I have given to Jesus this edifice and I know He will multiply it and so I am expecting.
It’s obvious you are always ready and available to work for God. What inspires you to spend more on God’s work?
In the United Kingdom I became bold on the streets of London while my husband was on the hospital bed. From childhood I have been a giver. The story of my life is like forever. One day I saw a woman under the sun selling oranges and I was moved to help her which I did. I discovered the more I give, the more God gives me the space to do more and I will still go back to the Holy Book that says, give and it shall be given unto you. As you give, God will give you.
You seem to have a good relationship with church leaders, so which of them is your spiritual mentor?
All of them (laughs). Like the head of Cherubim and Seraphim all over the world, Solomon Adegboyega, is from a Muslim background. He was campaigning when he used his wife’s garment to sew pillow case and now the head. Pastor Adeboye of Redeem Christ Church of God, the camp then used to be a forest and now a city, and same to Bishop Oydepo, Pastor Olukoya and the rest of them. And I sit back and wonder how they managed to transform a wilderness into a city. People like that, I look up to them. I also have international church leaders I look up to. Often I use their names to pray that if God can use them He can use me too.
How do you determine who to help?
Yes, my team does a lot on that. We don’t attend to all because we have seen scenarios where people lie to get money. My team investigates and ensures we are actually helping the right people. It’s impossible to finish the problems of this world unless you want to finish yourself. I have travelled to Madagascar for charity. I saw they needed intervention and we empowered the citizens. We bought sewing machines, boats for the fishermen and a lot more.
People said you are rich, are you?
I am rich in Jesus Christ. Once you have Jesus Christ then you are a rich person. Once you accept Him as your personal Lord and Saviour and have a personal relationship with Him, you are a rich person. By every standard, I can’t thank my creator enough. Except I want to be a hypocrite, if I say I’m poor then I will be lying to you (laughs).
Where is the money coming from?
The money is coming from Jesus. Give and it shall be given unto you.
If opportune to meet with the president today, what would you tell him?
I will kneel with my two legs, call him daddy and tell him to help appeal for peace. The truth is, no man is an island. It is because he is the one leading is why we chorus his name often. If we choose to understand the affairs happening and be honest, you will understand it’s not easy to run Nigeria. There are too many big people. Only God will help us.