Categories
History

Story of Bode Thomas, the Nigerian Lawyer Who Barked to Death After Insulting Alaafin Of Oyo

Chief Bode Thomas
Chief Olabode Akanbi Thomas

Who was Bode Thomas?

Olabode Akanbi Thomas, popularly known as Bode Thomas, was born on October 1919 into the family of Andrew Thomas, a wealthy and influential Yoruba trader. He attended C.M.S. Grammar School, Bariga, a missionary school founded by the Church Missionary Society on the 6th of June, 1859.

 

Bode Thomas studied Law in London alongside Chief FRA Williams and Remi Fani-Kayode (Femi Fani-Kayode’s father). Later on, Bode Thomas, FRA William, and Remi Fani-Kayode established the first Law firm in Nigeria named Thomas, Williams, and Kayode in Jankara Street, Lagos.

Chief Bode Thomas rose to prominence at a young age. He became a member of the Regional House of Assembly in 1951. He represented the Western region as Minister of Transport under the Macpherson Constitution.

He was astute, workaholic, thoughtful, and forward-looking. He was also a founding member of the Action Group. Prior to joining Action Group, he was a successful Lagos lawyer and was a member of the Nigerian Youth Movement.

Bode Thomas Vs Alaafin of Oyo

Reports claimed that Bode Thomas was a brilliant but very arrogant lawyer. He was said to be so arrogant to the extent that sometimes, people labeled him a bully. Judges hated the way he comported himself in court. They saw him as a brash and arrogant man.

Bode Thomas died in a controversial circumstance after his unfriendly encounter with Alaafin Adeyemi II, father of the current Alaafin Lamidi Adeyemi III. Both Alaafin Adeyemi II and Thomas (who was the Balogun of Oyo in 1949) were members of the Oyo Divisional Council. At a time, the respected Alaafin was chairman of the council before Thomas took over.

Alaafin Adeyemi II
Alaafin Adeyemi II

highlifextra gathered that on November 22, 1953, when Chief Bode Thomas arrived at a meeting of the council, all the other councilors, except Alaafin Adeyemi, stood up to welcome him. He rudely said to the king “why were you sitting when I walked in? Why can’t you show me respect?” Bode was 34 years old while the Alaafin was in his 60s.

Alaafin Adeyemi II felt very embarrassed and he said to Bode, “shey emi on gbo mo baun? Emi ni ongbo bi aja mo baun? Ma gbo lo” which translates as “am I the one you are barking at like that? Am I the one you are barking at like a dog? Keep barking.”

Bode as Transport Minister, 1952.

It was alleged that Bode Thomas got home and started barking like a dog. He barked and barked throughout the night till he died the following day – November 23, 1953. There were rumors that the Alaafin had Bode Thomas poisoned. He was survived by his wife, Lucretia Shobola Odunsi, and children. Among his children are Abimbola, Eniola and Dapo.

Bode has a street named after him in Lagos. He served as a colonial minister of the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria and privy counselor of the historic Oyo clan of Yorubaland. He was a brilliant and successful man whose pride, they said, led to his fall.

Thanks for reading, highlifextra.com

References:

  1. Eribake, A. (2016, March 26). When Obas had to go on exile. Wiki.
  2. Uwechue, Raph; et al. (1991). Makers of Modern Africa: Profiles in History (Second ed.). London: Africa Books. ISBN 0-903274-18-3.
  3. The Bode Thomas Foundation Website
  4. Omipidan, T. O. (2019, January 6). List of Alaafin (Kings) of Oyo. highlifextra. /2017/06/06/list-of-alaafin-kings-of-oyo/
  5. Femi Fani-Kayode. “In remembrance of Fani Power”. Niger Delta Congress.
Categories
History

The Shocking and Unbelievable Story of Jesu Oyingbo, the Self-acclaimed Nigerian Jesus Christ

Jesu Oyingbo
Jesu Oyingbo

Who Was Jesu Oyingbo?

The 1950s in Lagos, Nigeria, witnessed the shocking declaration of a middle-aged Ijebu man named Olufunmilayo Immanuel Odumosu aka Jesu Oyingbo as the long-awaited Jesus Christ. Many people laughed in utter disbelief while those who believed him thanked their stars for witnessing the second coming of Jesus Christ. The latter set of people packed their belongings and deserted their homes and families for the communal enclave of Jesu Oyingbo.

 

It all began in June 1959 when Odumosu declared himself as Jesus Christ who had come to lead the people from darkness to light. He said, “I am He. I am Jesus Christ, the very one whose second coming was foretold in the New Testament. I have come, and those who believe in me will have everlasting life and joy. I am the missing of the trinity. I have come to prepare the faithful for the judgment day.”

One may wonder what triggered Odumosu’s shocking declaration and more importantly, what made some Nigerians believe him. Could it have been his apprenticeship with his carpenter uncle, Pa Odubela, which is more like that of Jesus Christ and his foster father, Joseph, in the Bible? Whatever it could have been, one thing is certain, Nigerians stormed Jesu Oyingbo’s church seeking instant miracle.

Jesu Oyingbo’s church, named Universal College of Regeneration, was at first in the Oyingbo suburb of Lagos which earned him the ‘Oyingbo’ in his alias. He later moved the church to Awoyokun Street, Ikorodu Road, Palmgrove and later to Immanuel Street, Maryland, Ikeja, Lagos.

Jesu Oyingbo's obituary
Jesu Oyingbo’s obituary

highlifextra gathered that Jesu Oyingbo’s mode of worship was in no way related to that of the biblical Jesus Christ and his disciples. In fact, he concocted Christianity, Islam and paganism to form his own mode of worship. Anyway, he cared less about people’s thoughts and he maintained his ground firmly as the beloved Jesus Christ.

Jesu Oyingbo’s communal enclave where his over 700 followers lived was made up of a bakery, a barbershop, a printing press, construction company and so on. It was indeed another world on its own. Some of the structures in the communal enclave and other buildings owned by Jesu Oyingbo had weird sculptures which made people believed the more that he was operating a cult.

Jesu Oyingbo’s Church

Some of the buildings he owned on Immanuel Street, Maryland, had inscriptions such as The Lion of Judah, Immanuel the Christ, Prince of Peace, Merciful Father etc. and also had statues of Jesus Christ, lions and mermaids around them.

As if all these were not enough to falsify his proclamation as Jesus Christ, he baptized his new members with nine strokes of cane and not the usual water. After baptism, the new converts were free to live in his estate. Also, it was alleged that there were constant sexual activities and abuse in Jesu Oyingbo’s church.

It is worthy of note that being a member of the Universal College of Regeneration, one’s properties and partner could be taken at will by Jesu Oyingbo. On one account had he married a member’s wife off to another member. On another account, he married the wife of a member to punish the man for maltreating his wife. Incest was also said to have been a major activity in the enclave.

Jesu Oyingbo’s wives were reported to be over 30 with an estimate of 80 children and this was due to the unquestionable authority he had over his members’ wives. However, not all his children believed in him or his religion. One of his daughters, Bukola Immanuel, said, ‘‘I don’t accept him as my saviour. He’s my biological father. I have only the real Jesus Christ as my saviour.

Oyingbo churchNevertheless, Olufunmilayo Immanuel Odumosu, the Jesus of Oyingbo, was described by his children and neighbours as a kind and funny man. They claimed that he smiled always and even cracked jokes when walking in the neighbourhood. These claims are evident in the film show session he organized every evening in the enclave and neighbourhood. People would always gather in the evening to watch movies with a projector provided by Jesu Oyingbo. It was always festive-like.

Jesu Oyingbo’s story has it that he acquired massive wealth in the course of operating his ministry. He however denied the accusation that his wealth was ill-gotten, mostly by extorting his followers. He said that he is a saviour and a businessman who rely on his business enterprises to manage his ministry and polygamous family.

Jesu Oyingbo shook Lagos and other cities in southwestern Nigeria between the early 1970s and late 80s. He gained wide popularity even that his name was included in a Yoruba gospel song which goes thus: Emi o mo Jesu Oyingbo, emi o mo Jesu Agege, emi o mo Guru Maharaji, Jesu ti mo mo l’apata ayeraye (I don’t know Jesus of Oyingbo, I don’t know Jesus of Agege, I don’t know Guru Maharaji, the Jesus that I know is the rock of ages).

In 1988, the self-acclaimed Jesus of Oyingbo died in a hospital at the age of 73, just like every other man. The whole of his church was thrown into confusion. How could Jesus Christ die on his second coming? They wondered. Maybe he would resurrect on the third day, they hoped.

Immanuel Odumosu
Immanuel Odumosu

Alas, Jesu Oyingbo hasn’t resurrected till today. Jesu Oyingbo’s death cracked his ministry as the centre could no longer hold. His elder children tried to fix the cracks, instead, they widened. Jesu Oyingbo died without a will and this brewed serious war among his children, wives and followers.

His eldest son, Olukayode Immanuel Odumosu, took the matter to the court and this was where the atrocities perpetrated in the communal enclave were unravelled. However, in 1997, the court ruled in favour of the children who then evicted their father’s followers living in the enclave.

What is left of the enclave now are dilapidated and abandoned buildings which are frequented by thugs, weed smokers and criminals.

Thanks for reading, highlifextra.com

References:

  1. Ojo, Matthews. “Religion and Sexuality: Individuality, Choice and Sexual Rights in Nigerian Christianity” – AFRICA REGIONAL SEXUALITY RESOURCE CENTRE
  2. Chambers, Michael (April 9, 1964). “Jesus of Oyingbo,”. New Society. 3 (80): 13–14.
  3. Dad never collected tithe, offering from his congregation — Jesu Oyingbo’s daughter – Punch Newspaper
Categories
History

How Christiana Oluwasesin was Brutally Murdered for Allegedly Tearing the Quran in 2007

Christiana Oluwatoyin Oluwasesin
Christiana Oluwatoyin Oluwasesin

Christiana Oluwatoyin Oluwasesin was happy and lively when she arrived at the Government Secondary School of Gandu, in the northern Nigerian state of Gombe on the 21st of March, 2007, where she teaches government.

The married mother of two had already served state authorities notice of her resignation to join her husband, Femi, in their hometown of Abeokuta where he had taken up a job as a laboratory technician at a hospital.

She was glad that she would soon be with her husband after the final day of exams that fateful day, but her joy on her last day at the school would be short-lived.

 

Students, largely Muslims between the ages of 12 and 14, alongside outside Islamic extremists, murdered Oluwasesin that day after accusing her of desecrating a copy of the Quran.

The mob stoned, stripped, beat and stabbed her to death, and her body was later burned beyond recognition, according to reports.

The incident, which remains unsolved to date, reignited discussions about the freedom of religion and the sanctity of human life in Nigeria.

On that March 21, Oluwasesin was supervising a class writing a final examination on Islamic Religious Knowledge, and to prevent cheating and other examination malpractices, she collected books, papers, and bags before the exam began in the all-female class and dropped them in front of the class, Aluke Musa Yila, a fellow teacher at the school, told Compass, even though other local reports said she tossed the materials outside the classroom.

“Usually such items are returned to every student as each returns her answer script,” said Yila, who said he witnessed the gruesome murder of Oluwasesin. “Soon after the bags collected by Oluwasesin were dropped in front of the class, one of the girls in the class began to cry.

She told her colleagues that she had a copy of the Quran in her bag, that Oluwasesin touched the bag, and that by doing so she had desecrated the Quran since she was a Christian.”

Right after, students in the class began shouting “Allahu Akbar (God is great).”

“It was at this point that I was attracted to the riotous scene in that class, and I then rushed there,” said Yila. “How could a teacher know that that there was a copy of the Quran in a student’s bag if this was not pointed out to her?”

Nigeria Youths Rioting

Yila alerted staff members in the school who rushed to the scene to try and bring calm. In the process, Yila was able to take Oluwasesin out of the class to the office of the principal.

“The principal left me and Oluwasesin in his office and also went there to calm down the Muslim students. Knowing that the students may soon come to this office, I pushed Oluwasesin into the bathroom in this office and then locked up the office,” he said.

He then went back to the scene and was shocked to find that outside Muslim extremists had joined the chaos, destroying school property and demanding that Oluwasesin be given to them to be stoned to death.

The mob believed that she had torn up a copy of the Quran, a book considered holy to over a billion people, and it’s a sin.

“When we could not give in by releasing Oluwasesin to them, they started stoning us,” Yila said.

In the midst of the violence, school officials and the police were unable to get access to Oluwasesin to save her as students hit them with stones and forced them to retreat.

“While we were thinking of ways to take Oluwasesin out of the school, the Muslims broke into the principal’s office and dragged her out,” Yila said.

“The principal rushed there to save her as they clubbed her with an iron on the head and blood was gushing out from the wounded side of the head. He was pleading that they should not kill her, but they were insisting that she must be killed.”

“The principal succeeded in getting Christiana Oluwasesin up to the school gate,” he said. “There was a house near the gate, and he dragged her into the house, but the rioting Muslims went into the house and dragged her out again. This time, they clubbed her to death, brought old mats and placed dirt on her corpse, and then burned the body.”

The students went ahead to set fire to classrooms, the library, Oluwasesin’s car and the motorcycle of Yila, who had then fled the scene.

Fire personnel at the time said they could not get to the area as all roads leading to the school which had a student population of about 4,000, with about 10 percent being Christian, were blocked.

After the incident, 16 suspects were arrested but were released without charge, a decision that angered many rights organizations, including the Christian community in Nigeria.

Oluwasesin’s husband Femi and the children headed to court, demanding that the state government accept liability and compensate the family for the death of his wife. But the Federal High Court, Gombe, refused to handle the case, on grounds that it did not have adequate security to maintain law and order during the trial.

With the help of a non-governmental organization, Femi dragged the state government to the Federal High Court, Yola, in neighboring Adamawa State, and as of 2010, the suit was still pending.

Oluwasesin
Late Mrs Oluwasesin

“[My children] are a constant reminder of my dear wife and how we both desire to raise them in the ways of the Lord. I have no option but to forgive those who have taken my wife’s life away even though justice has not yet prevailed,” Femi was quoted to have said.

Femi met and married Christiana Oluwasesin on August 28, 2003. The two had gone to Gombe on a one-year mandatory National Youth Service Scheme of the Nigerian government.

After the service year, they were employed by the Gombe state government; his wife got a job as a teacher and he became a laboratory technician at a local hospital.

Apart from learning to live with grief following the loss of his wife, Femi began receiving death threats from anonymous callers in 2010, ordering him to withdraw the case he instituted against the state government.

In all of these, what baffles many is the fact that throughout the chaos that killed Christiana Oluwasesin, the copy of the Quran which was said to have been desecrated was never seen.

“Whether the Quran was in the bag of that student, nobody knows,” Yila said.

Thanks for reading, highlifextra.com