God Said: Destroy Your Juju And I Loaded Them In 2 Trucks Into The Lagoon - Paul Ukpabio's Blog

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Tuesday, 7 May 2019

God Said: Destroy Your Juju And I Loaded Them In 2 Trucks Into The Lagoon

Apostle Alexander Bamgbola (Lagos CAN Chairman)


Apostle Alexander Bamgbola with wife

The story of Apostle Alexander Bamgbola may sound like a story straight from a children’s bed time story book, but truth is, it is a real life story with many of the characters involved still alive with scars to show for it!

Ifa predicted his birth and cautioned his parents on how he would be preserved, seeing that children that came before him were dying.

His grandfather, a celebrated Oba, was the Chief Ifa priest from Kwara to Oyo in those days. "He was very powerful." Apostle Alexander Bamgbola also found power! He shares this frightening but exciting story of his lifestyle with us in this interview with Paul Ukpabio. 
In what ways will you say that your early background influenced the person you are today?

Of course, early life determines the foundation and there is no building without a foundation.so certainly my early life influenced what I am today specifically in areas of moral background and even spiritual background. My grandfather was an Oba. He was very strict with morality and integrity.

Are you from Lagos?
No, we are from Igbo Owu igbaja in Ilorin, Kwara state. I was raised in Ibadan and then Lagos.

What memories of early life can you recall?
I recall the love of my parents.  My parents were in Lagos in the early 30s and 40s. They had three children before me who all died. At that time, my grandfather was an Oba and traditionally, they had means of checking out such misfortune. So my mother was advised to return home to Kwara state when next she was pregnant and ready to give birth. So I was the fourth child and was given birth to outside Lagos. So I didn’t die!

Did you grow up with your grandfather?
No, I grew up with my mom and dad. There is a lot of mystical things about my life. My grandfather was he Chief of Ifa priests in the old region of Kwara to Oyo. He was a spiritually powerful man. He instructed that I should be kept away when I was born for a year or so. Ifa said I was to be carried away to an unknown place to be hidden. And so my parents carried me to an unknown place. What they did was that they were heading to Lagos after sometime after my birth in a public transport. But when they got to Ibadan, the vehicle broke down beyond immediate repair in a town called Iroko in Oyo state. The journey to Lagos was immediately disturbed. My parents were forced to look for a place to stay the night there. They approached a stranger, who without hesitation offered us a place to stay. And that was the omen that my parents were looking out for, having been told that they should hide me. That is how my father lived there for 65 years. He built house there, became prosperous as a big farmer and trader. He became one of the two wealthiest people there and even later became the wealthiest years before he passed on. He was Prince Owomole Ayinde Bamgbola. He was an Alhaji but 15 years before he passed on, he converted to Christianity and was named Emmanuel.



How was growing up in Ibadan like?
I was truly an Ibadan boy. But then I later moved down to Lagos from about 13 years old: Though I went to primary and modern school there in the late 50s and 60s. After which I became a Lagos boy.

What were you doing in Lagos?
I worked with Barclays Bank. That was my first job after secondary school. I did not know that banking was going to be my career. I worked there for 5 years before I decided to travel to America in 1971.

What prompted your travel to America?
Well in the late 60s, it was the in-thing for those who didn’t want to go to the university at home. So such people went abroad. I wanted to go to America to read. We were the first generation of the educated in my family. Before me were two cousins who were older than me and educated. One went to Germany in 1969. The eldest of us went to England on scholarship in 1964 and came home in 1970.

So they inspired you?
Yes, that was it. The inspiration was there. I actually went to America to read. I studied Finance as my first degree having been influenced by the banking job I left behind in Lagos. For most of us then, it was either medicine or law. I was good in sciences so I initially wanted to study medicine but I ended up with five and a half year in banking where I ended up making money. And I felt that banking will be better off as a place I could make cool money. So in USA, I went to University of Illinois to study Finance, in Chicago, one of the most prominent universities in America then. I finished in December, an odd time so I couldn’t go for Masters instead I started second bachelors. I graduated with two degrees done concurrently, marketing with distinctions of the highest honours. It was a great thing then, for someone to graduate with two different degrees with first class honours. That helped me to continue my career in banking in America. I joined the Bank of Boston. My training was supposed to have been two years, but I knew much about banking already which reduced my training to nine months. In 1978, I was made an international officer of the bank. Those of us blacks who were in the banking industry and many other industries then in America were few. There weren’t many blacks in banking. I was blessed, a poor African child. By the time I was Assistant Vice President of the bank, we were only five blacks. I later became Vice President by the grace of God. First time many saw a black man sitting together with the Chief Finance Officer of General Motors in the 70s. Then I would later travel to Germany to sit down with the Finance Director of Volkswagen in West Germany. I experienced a lot of new things. I then later came to Nigeria as an expatriate to start the bank of Boston here in Nigeria. I was an expatriate for six years in my own country.

In Lagos at that period, you must have been a real ‘big’ man?
Yes, but it was nothing because you are not big until you have Christ! It is now that I am a big man because my God is a big God,



But what was your lifestyle at that time?
I was usually in and out of the airport with luxury cars and limousines, the best hotels and first class travel all around the world. All that happened to a bush boy from an unknown village, But I never lost my head.

You were in America for a long time. Did you marry a white lady?
(Laughs) No, I didn’t, though there were temptations. But I have black, white and even red coloured girlfriends, ironically, I had made up my mind not to marry until I got back home. I planned to come back home in 1976 before I got the Bank of Boston job. I was there, and I met a lot of Nigerian girls. But I wasn’t ready for marriage. I was about 32. It was around that period too that I met an Ibo girl. I had dated many others but somehow, the Lord made it possible that we got married. So I married an Ibo lady in Boston. She had just finished her first degree when we met.

How has the marriage been?
It was beautiful. She just passed on in 2015 after over 40 years of marriage. It was a great plan. God gave us four beautiful children in America. Three were born in America, while one was born here in Nigeria but they are all Americans. They went to college here and in America. They have all finished school now, graduated as engineers, there is one a banker like the father, even gone on to become a consultant to top notch organizations working all over the world. There three men and a girl. She used to be a manager in US, married, but she came home when my wife passed on. She is the one taking after me now, she is in the ministry. She loves the Lord. We knew that about her right from the age of five. And the last man is also an engineer. They all went to top schools in America.

When you returned to Lagos, you must have joined the big social clubs?
Ofcourse, immediately I came back, I did that. My house was already contemplated almost a year before I moved down to Lagos from America. Though it was difficult before they could find accommodation for me in Ikoyi, when they got one for me, I came to see a house with all my entitlement as an expatriate in readiness for use by me. And the first place I joined was Ikoyi Club so we became members in 1979. From there I went to join Island club. But I wasn’t very active. I was a core professional. It was my work and then my family. I was to build the bank. So it was serious work. After about five years, I began to relax and join the boys to unwind. My closest friends then were people in the military. Then, I wasn’t a born again Christian so I did everything that they were doing. I can recall that I was one of the best well-dressed men around always a black man dressed in a white man’s suit. But in the evening I would be in jeans or anything casual even while I was General Manger and later the Managing Director of the Nigerian-American Merchant Bank as the Nigerian bank was called, before I left to start up another bank called Victory Merchant Bank which I left after three years or so to retire. At that time, banking had become something else. It wasn’t my own kind of banking anymore. And that time, the Lord had called me in 1989.

What was the call like?
My calling was dramatic. I didn’t want anything to do with Jesus. My wife was so much in the Lord. She would invite Ministers of God, but when they see me they would run away. I was into juju, I was into occult, and I was a wizard! I had reached the level of the eleventh out of the 16 powers of a wizard. But the power was not strong enough the way I wanted it, so the cult probably the strongest cult in the history of the Yoruba, I was allowed to become a witch. (He removed his fez, to show me his bald head), you see my head, we have not had history of being bald in my family. I got that from the cult. My hair had to be cut so that a thousand and one blade incisions could be done on my head for me to be initiated. That was how I lost my hair to become a witch. I know many people think that it is only women that can become witches, no, men too are witches! So when men of God came to me, they were afraid, they couldn’t talk to me. If they came close, I laughed at them become I was a real man and they were small boys.

What was your lifestyle then?
When I moved around, I used different cars, I had several. And they usually had juju inside. There were all manners of Juju. Wherever I sat down, there would be all manners of juju around me some tied to my waist. And I was in banking and people didn’t know that underneath my suit there were juju stalked there for dangerous times or cases of emergency, until the Lord got to me. It took the Lord Jesus Himself, to appear to me and called me away from that path. He told me to drop everything and follow Him. The moment He told me to come, I couldn’t resist. Nobody else could do that though they tried but life was too good, you know sin is sweet. When you are in sin, you enjoy it. That is why many people cannot give it up, it is very difficult to give up. When the Lord called, I never looked back. It was the grace of God that delivered me.



You were ready to go with Christ, so there was a clash! Where you released easily from the cult?
No, they wanted to kill me. The level I was and the kind of cult that I was, there was no way of escape! It could only take Jesus to deliver me from their hands. I was still the Managing Director of the bank then when I met with Jesus. And I remember how I escaped death several time. Spiritually, I was attacked severally. I could just be sleeping in my bedroom and suddenly I will see paper or something by my side. I knew how it worked; you know I was a strong member. But with Christ in me, many attacks were repelled. Sometimes I would be on the highway with a brand new car and it will happen, but God rescued me from those accidents. Jesus Christ was what kept me because these people are not the kind of people you can toy with, you are dead! But with Jesus, I made breakthrough.

How did your wife celebrate that?
Oh, it was a great celebration because she had been praying about it for over ten years. I was a big demon! She knew that I had become a principality which is even greater than a demon. When I became born again, we loaded the pick-up van that was popular then in the 80s with my juju which filled it up and we had to use another vehicle a Nissan Laurel to load more and then take it to the Lagoon and throw them away. That was how I cleanse my house of the rubbish that the devil calls power. The Lord delivered me because I was a very dangerous man.

You are from the royal family, is that why you wear white?
No. But in my family, we are trendy dressers. My grandfather was known in Kwara as a trendy Oba. In fact his oriki has to do with that. They used to call him, Oba Bamgbola e le wu gege. He loved to dress well. He was a gorgeous man. For me, I just received ministration that I should be wearing white a lot. And it is recent. In the last ten years I have been wearing white quite a lot. I am just preparing for heaven because that is the only colour they wear there.

But you didn’t abandon America totally?
No, I’m an American. I was a resident of America in 1974. Afterwards I became a citizen. My children after school here all went there, we have house there and that is my second home till now.

After all the years of knowledge, wealth and power, Christianity is humility, it humbles people, don’t you feel that you are missing out on the past?
Rather than missing out, I am enjoying myself. The only person I want to satisfy is Jesus. I’m happier now. There was a time I had ten cars, there was a time I had all the range of Mercedes benz cars, it was insanity, what will anyone do with ten cars, at a time I had 15 cars at home. All you need is a car and perhaps a back-up car in case the other breaks down. When you are in Christ, all that becomes vanity! King Solomon had 700 wives, one man yet he added 300 concubines and later he found out that all is vanity.

How are you enjoying widowerhood?
I am no longer a widower. My wife passed on November 8, 2015 but the Lord gave me a wife, I just got married February 9 this year.

Were you encouraged to marry by your children or did your work in the ministry compel you to marry, or was it love at first sight?
No, definitely not love at first sight, I see women every day and everywhere in America and wherever I go! But my wife was sick for many years, she had cancer so I was carrying her here and abroad, back and forth. In my 70s what would I want to do with a woman again, but when the Lord took her away, I sat down with my daughter and a few friends and told them that women business is out of my life. And I have been so busy in the last ten years in Christian leadership positions, five years in PFN, I go on international programmes to minister. When my wife left I told myself I will face the ministry wholeheartedly but then miraculously, divinely the Lord gave me this new woman. I wasn’t looking for her, she wasn’t looking for me. So we decided to get married.

Do you have any regret?
I have one. And that is, I didn’t know Jesus on time! I knew him in my teens because I went to a Baptist school and got baptized, but having left school, started working, though I was going to church, things were different. After two years of joining Barclays Bank in Lagos, I was promoted, bought a Peugeot 404, only few cars were on the entire Lagos roads in 1969 so I was rascally. Commander Ebenezer Obey turned 77 few days ago and we were in his house to pray and I brought up the stories of the past and he remembered that way back then when I was in the banking world, I was usually at his shows. I loved Commander Ebenezer Obey’s shows. So it was life of girls, drinks, parties and when I got to America it was the same thing. So my regret, I wish I had known Christ earlier.    

You are from the royal family, what if the traditional oracle chooses you to be an Oba which means libation and rites all over again, will you accept?

Never!



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