HOW MEDIOCRES DROVE ME TO GOD -PASTOR ADEBOYE
Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, General Overseer, popularly called Daddy GO, the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), rarely talks about himself. He did that recently at the Redeemed Camp, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, when he spoke about 'powerfu mediocres' in our midst.
He used a part of his life story to illustrate the danger of having 'powerful mediocres' at the helm of affairs. It was a Friday night and Dr. Wale Babalakin, chairman, Bi-Courtney Highway Services Ltd, had sought prayers and words of wisdom from the G.O.
Babalakin surely needs all the prayers as the handler of the reconstruction and modernisation of the notorious Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. Adeboye was sympathetic to Babalakin's case:
'Anyone who gets this kind of assignment needs a lot of prayers. There is a saying that a man who has a farm by the roadside is always suffering, because everyone passing by will be able to say, 'Ha! He should have done it this way.' So, no matter how hard tried, they will criticize him. Your farm now is not just by the roadside, it is the road itself.
'Of course, there are people who will already be imagining: 'Oh, how much money Babalakin is going to make out of this?' They do not want to know all the pains, all the efforts, they always look towards the end result.
'I used to be a boxer. I do not look like one now, but I used to be. And people make the mistake of calculating how much money you get when you fight. You fight for 45 minutes, they pay you N10 million. They say, 'whao! Imagine how much he gets per minute.' They don't think of all the hours of preparations. They do not think of the waking up everyday before 5a.m., doing roadwork. They do not think of how you have been beaten almost silly by your sparring partner who toughens you up for the main fight. And that is natural.
'I can assure you, we will continue to pray for you, and you will succeed in the name of God. Those who will not allow us to reach our goal, the Almighty God will help us to change their minds. Those who refuse to change their minds, God has a way of removing them. When God supports someone, no one can defeat him. We are thanking God in advance for the miracle that will begin to happen as from today.'
Pastor Adeboye then shared this testimony: 'Ignorance is a killer. I attended an interview in 1969. I wanted to go abroad for further studies, I applied for the Commonwealth scholarship, and I sat before the panel. As you know, when it comes to Mathematics, it is either you know the answer to the question or you do not know, there is no third way to it. If I say 2+2, you know the answer is four.
'I sat before the panel, and they were asking me questions. I was surprised that didn't these people know that I have honours in Mathematics, because they were asking elementary questions. By the time everybody was satisfied, there was a man who was dozing all the time.
'When they woke him up and asked if he had any question for me, he said, 'Oh, oh yes! Where is Entebbe? I said I was not there for Geography. Fortunately or unfortunately for me, he happened to be the chairman of the panel. Of course, you know the rest of the story. I did not get the scholarship because he was a powerful mediocre. Because he was the chairman, I lost. But thank God, He used that to bring me to where I am today.
'As I was coming out of the place, I met one of my lecturers at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). He asked what I was doing there. I said that I came for an interview, and he said, 'why do you want to go abroad to study? I know you. You are my student, there is no need to go abroad. That is how I ended up at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) for my masters. It was there I got born again, and that led me to where I am today.'
Babalakin had earlier told his story to Adeboye seeking urgent prayers: 'There's nobody who wants to give out money. This road was given to Nigerian banks to finance, Nigerian banks do not have a long-term contract. We were holding meetings upon meetings, but you discover that all they can give is money for a year or two years, and what you need is money for 15 years.
'We are now making headway because a bank in South Africa showed interest. And we are now going to build the road with a consortium of firms in South Africa. After patching the road, proper work will commence.
'Patching is a waste of time and money, because the road has failed from under. Anything you put on top of it is always temporary. It is money down the drain. But we assure Nigerians, we will lay three lanes going to Sagamu, three lanes coming back. We will repair Sagamu to Ibadan, we'll then come back and start rebuilding. At every stage of our construction, there will be two lanes for motorists, while we are working on the third lane.
'We have challenges, sir. We have the challenges of information, ignorance, and many others. When we were working at the (Murtala Muhammed) Airport, Ikeja), I said the greatest problem I had was ignorance. The most difficult thing I have faced in life is to explain issues to powerful mediocre. Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, said there was even a worse type, those who deliberately refuse to understand.
'Most people in Nigeria do not know what concession is all about.
There is no road that has been done through concession in Nigeria before, apart from the Lekki-Epe Expressway, a 45-kilometre road that took the concessionaire five years to start the construction. The Federal Government has no money for road now. There is no road that will receive seven per cent of the cost, none nationwide. That is why it took 10 years to do Oyo-Ogomoso Road. That is why Abuja-Lokoja Road had been on for the past five years, the same with Kano-Maiduguri Road.
'Many people do not want us to build that road. There have been several stumbling blocks. We have been having problems with many powerful mediocres. Many people whose structures will be affected have gone to court. There are 55 legal cases on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.' Pastor Adeboye thereafter prayed for Babalakin, assuring him that Jesus would subdue all the forces against the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway project.