By Gbenga Osinaike
Cults use deception to get people. 60-year-old Prince Peter Adekola Bamigbade would readily tell you that. As a student at the Yaba College of Technology he and some of his friends started the Black Nationalist Movement. That was in 1982. The group was established to fight against the then apartheid government in South Africa. But just like what happened to Pyrate Confraternity founded by Professsor Wole Soyinka, the movement metamorphosed into a violent cult group known as Aye Confraternity. It became a terror.
But by the time Bamigbade became born again he took it upon himself to fight cultism in campuses and across Nigeria. He has written over 20 books on cult related matters one of which has been recommended by the Nigeria University Commission as an antidote to cultism.
A prince at birth, Bamigbade who studied Statistics and mathematics said occult resides in many palaces in Yoruba land. “I was born into it. But was named Peter in the Catholic Church.”He said.
He recalled his first meeting with Prof, Muyiwa Awe (now late) at a forum in Ondo on countering cultism noting, “In fairness to Prof. Awe who along with Prof. Soyinka started the Pirate confraternity and a host of other cult founders on campuses many of the cult groups were formed out of youthful exuberance. When Prof Awe met Christ through the ministration of Pastor Enoch Adeboye, he started his own ministry and began to mentor those who wanted to come out of cultism. He appointed me the secretary of the movement. But with time I started my own ministry too.”
Bamigbade disclosed that no one is ever forced to join any cult noting however that “people are being deceived to believe believable lies and therefore join. Parents carelessly encourage their children to join cults through some of the cartoons they expose them to. Joining cult groups especially the big time cults is not free. People pay to join cults in kind or cash. They use some quiet ways to deceive people to join.”
He explained further, “If you want to join Reformed Ogboni Fraternity they will ask you to stay in a place close to where they are having their meeting so you can observe their activities. They will sing hymns but technically instead of mentioning Jesus’ name they will put onile…(house owner) which meant Satan in their cult but to the outside world they will say that name refers to Jesus because Jesus says he was going to build a mansion for us. They do all that to hook the unsuspecting. Until you join you will not know many things about them. But they will not tell you at the beginning. Nothing comes easy.”
The beauty about Bamigbade’s anti-cultism campaign is that he learnt most of what he knew by doing extensive study coupled with his initial campus experience. Since he began the campaign against cultism his house has become a sort of haven for ex-cultists. He recalled that one time Chief Priest of the Reformed Ogboni Fraternity in Ondo State once came to make an inquiry when he got to know he was fighting against cultism. He later became a Christian after he ministered the gospel to him. He wrote a book on the new experience of the Chief Priest in Christ. But he and the man were taken to court by the ROF.
He was threatened with death. But he dared them. “They gave us seven days and said we would die but many of them died one after the other. This happened in 1986. The apena became an evangelist thereafter. One of those who put him to trouble surrendered his life to Christ a few weeks ago. He is now an evangelist.”
He lamented that most of the cult boys are being used by politicians for political gains noting that they have grandmasters that fund them. “I remember the case of one Osita Collins a student cult member. By the time he was renouncing his membership from the cult he had over N30 million in his account. He got this money from sponsors and also from membership fees. There are cults you pay close to N50, 000 before you join.”
Bamigbade who is one of the founding staff of Vanguard Newspapers said there are about 102 church cults in Nigeria. To know a church that has cult elements he says, “Any church that is self centred not Christ centered is cultic. Any church that claims a revelation that is separate from the Bible is cultic. Any church that does anything outside the word of God is cultic”
When reminded some members of the Christ Apostolic Church where he belongs go to pray at the burial ground of patriarchs, he said, “I was ordained an elder in CAC. People who go to pray at the burial site of patriarchs in faith are practicing necromancy. It is the level of their understanding that make them do what they do. It is lack of knowledge. They go to pray in graveyard for lack of knowledge. They believe there is a short cut to get power.”
Bamigbade is the founder of Christ Way Ministry and also the coordinator of the southwest Prison Fellowship of Nigeria. He says, “There is no saint church. They all have their minuses. There is no perfect church there is only perfect Christ. I once wrote: follow Christ way not church way to be wise, safe and holy.”
While noting that many cults seek support from palaces he said there are Christian obas who will not condone that. “The Olu Imasayo of Egbado, Oba Adesola Oni for instance was my prayer partner before he became king. He followed biblical injunctions to be installed. They allowed it because they wanted him to come to the community and develop the place. There was also the case of Oba Williams Ayeni, in akoko, Ondo State the supposed headquarters of witches. He was installed as unbeliever but he gave his life to Christ as an Oba. There was another oba in Ijebu ode who gave his life to Christ and died in Christ on the throne.”
On how to know a cult member he explains, “most cultist are reserved. They are introverts. They read some strange books and withdraw easily. Some children videos have some cultic elements. They are laced with some believable lies. When they share the information they get from the cartoon with their peers that is when they get hooked because their peers may well be a member of a cult group already. In some cases some of their teachers lure them into the cults. Some corpers who are posted to schools are major influencers on young minds.”
He said since 1996 that he started the anti-cultism crusade he has been privileged to influence three governments: Ondo State, Kwara and Rivers. “We have increased awareness about the activities of cultists. Today, people are not bold to come out and identify with cult groups. Most parents encourage their wards to join cults by their actions. Minors who are in universities are easily intimidated and cajoled to join cult groups. There are many cases of cults even in mission universities. But it is common in public schools.”