When, on Sunday, 18 August, 2013, news went round town that the Pastor of popular Gospel singer, Tope Alabi, Pastor Elijah Iretiola Ajanaku, had died after an undisclosed illness, many people, especially his followers at the church he founded, the Christ Victory Chapel International, did not believe it.
In fact, up till the time of this report the worshippers still harbour the illusion that Ajanaku would wake up from the dead.
Some of his church members actually believe he cannot die even as controversies surrounding the death of the controversial cleric persist.
Last Monday night, Oro worshippers allegedly held funeral rites around the late Ajanaku’s residence.
This development, P.M.NEWS reliably gathered, points to the fact that the late Ajanaku came from a prominent masquerade family in Gbongan, Osun State.
Residents of Ikola Odunsi, where Ajanaku lived before he died last Saturday evening in Gbongan, were surprised when the Oro masquerades came to perform the funeral rites.
The funeral rites which began at about 12.30a.m. ended between 3 a.m. and 4a .m., our sources said. During the eerie event, it was gathered that the Oro worshippers chanted the name of Ajanaku throughout the night.
The worshippers reportedly marched through the streets of Ikola Odunsi, Ikola Gbenaje, and ended up at the deceased’s street, Folarin Williams Close.
They were chanting, “Ajanaku lo, o di gbere”, meaning “Ajanaku is gone forever, adieu,” a resident of the area told our correspondent.
For those who knew him before he became a wealthy pastor, Ajanaku became wealthy suddenly about seven years ago.
Before then, those who knew him very well said he lived at Ikola Ilumo and Ikola Odunsi, two close communities in Agbado Oke-Odo LCDA. During this time, he was doing menial jobs to survive.
“He started as a bus conductor with one of the popular drivers plying the Ikola-Iyana Ipaja route in the area. Later, he ventured into tyre repairing which many know as vulcanising. For about a year, he was doing vulcanising job at one of the bus stops at Ikola Ilumo,” one of those who knew him then told our correspondent.
“When he realised that money was not coming in from his vulcanising job, he diversified into battery charging. He did it for sometime before he just disappeared for a while and the next thing I heard about him was that he had become a wealthy pastor,” another old friend told our correspondent.
Before he relocated to Lagos from his Gbongan hometown, he was reported to be well known for his mysterious ways in the town. Some even believe he had some supernatural powers. In fact, as his name suggests, Ajanaku was from a well known family of masquerade worshippers in the ancient town.
“When he became a rich pastor, Ajanaku lived like a tin god. He always went around in a convoy of exotic cars and he reserved a bus for young ladies in their teens who always followed him around. You couldn’t talk to him while standing. You had to bow your head or kneel down outright.
“I remember when we did a job for him and it was time to collect money, I had to kneel down before him to collect my money. It was not only me. There were others who came before me and some waiting for their turn after me. All of us were on our knees,” an electrician who lives in Ikola Odunsi narrated to our correspondent.
Although he had many ladies at his beck and call, Ajanaku was legally married to a wife and they had two children: a boy and a girl.