By Kris Obiaje
The General Overseer of The Royal Church of the Wise and Pro-chancellor, Image of Christ Theological Seminary, Apostle Francis Olumide Claudio has called on christian ministries and churches to spare a thought for the poor and the needy, especially in the area of educational development of the young minds.
Apostle Olumide Claudio also known as, ‘Baba Nje O ni’tumo’, made the call on Sunday during the graduation ceremony of the 2018 set of the Kingdom Labourers Junior Bible school, which was parts of the programme of the Church of the Wise National Convention, with the Theme: ” The Voice of God (Ohun Olorun)”.
Cross-section of graduands
The Junior Bible School curriculum according to Baba Nje O ni’tumo, is designed to raise new soldiers for Christ and fresh crops of leaders that will drive the needed change the society earnestly desires. The objective includes teaching them various hands on crafts, ,which the newly graduated students displayed at the event. Handcrafts made by the pupils and which were on display includes, Adire tye and dye, bags, sandals, liquid soap etc.
In his sermon during the event, Apostle Claudio charged Christians to reawaken their evangelistic ministries, saying that the world was hurting and people needed to be returned to God and his kingdom which is imminent.
He alludes to the fact that the Bokoharam sect which has taken over the North Eastern parts of Nigeria, took advantage of the homeless almajiris and used them as instruments. He opined that if christians have taken the gospel to the street, that Bokoharam would have met Bibles with the homeless when the insurgents came with the skewed and deadly ‘gospel’.
He lamented the situation where the poor and needy have been pushed to the wall with no where to run to, especially as it has to do with giving their children quality education.
Some of the handcrafts (Adire Batik) made by the students
When Sunshinedaily Watch Reporters pressed further at the sidelines of the convention to sample his opinion on religious schools and colleges established by ministries and the clergy, but whose poor members find it difficult affording its tuition; Apostle Claudio said, “The pastors you are talking about, I don’t know what’s happening? And come to see it o, we all went to Missionary schools. Like me, I went Bishop Philip Primary School, from there to St joseph all in Ondo and then to the University. So it happened with some of these big pastors you mentioned.
“So, I don’t know why they will now become successful and now build schools that poor people can’t reach.”
Pressed further on what could be the way out, the man known for his prophetic messages submits, “As for me, I have established a school. I want to make a difference. My school, Itiola International School, IIS, Ondo will commence academic programmes this September. It is an all round training ground for the young minds. I established this school for no other purpose than the fact that children needs good education, but we see in our society today that poor children cannot afford the cost of quality education.
“So, I built this school using my own fund and taking nothing from the church purse. So my plan is that parents could pay a token and we would be able to pay salaries of teachers and maintain infrastructures. The structures are already in place. What is left is kickoff. I used my own resources in putting up that place and it isn’t built for profit. I built my school to build people.”
He went further to explained that the school is designed to offer lessons to students both in English and French languages and the teachers of French language are to be recruited from French speaking countries for effective and efficient teaching.
In her remarks at the occasion, the Theological Seminary Provost, who is also a Reverend minister in the church, Prof. Olusola Oladokun, said the programme was designed to give children an all-round grooming in order to make them important and useful members of the larger society.
“We are grooming these kids morally and spiritually and aside that, we are giving them entrepreneurial skills. They don’t have to leave secular schools before they begin making money to help their families or even after leaving school, they are already equipped with certain craftsmanship to face life.
“So, they wouldn’t hang around waiting for jobs. We are giving them hands on experience. They are being trained in various trades so that they can be self-employed.”
She said the idea of the Junior Bible School was to grow beyond Ondo and Oyo states, and that the initial plan was to have the school on all the branches where the church was, “but for logistics reasons we limited it to the two states, but my believe and hope is that, by next year, we will have expanded beyond where we are now.
Also speaking at the convention sidelines, the Church of the Wise Assembly Pastor, Rev. Omoniyi Lawrence stated that the idea and the vision of the Junior Bible School was to ‘catch them young’.
“Basically, this is the foundation for the school. It is designed for children from age six and above. Then there is the Senior Bible College whose again limit is 18 years. Anyone with ‘The Call’ can then proceed to the Image of Christ Seminary,” which Prof. Oladokun said is affiliated with Trinity college in the US.
Speaking further, Rev. Omoniyi said, “The training we are offering the kids is free, because Apostle Francis is someone who doesn’t believe everything should be profit-oriented. Even the Image of Christ Seminary is more or less free. And the good thing is that the Junior Bible school isn’t meant for our church members alone. We have children coming from other places and denominations to join.”
Patricia Balogun, one of the teachers urged parents to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the Kingdom Labourers and give their children a solid foundation. She said, “I encourage parents to allow their toddlers and teenagers undergo this kind of programme. Because it is designed to groom people in different aspect of life. We say children are leaders of tomorrow, but what kind of training are we giving these future leaders?”
Omolayo Adeyemi a 17-year old graduand who spoke on behalf of other graduates said the programme had equipped them with lifelong lessons and skills, while thanking their teachers and the ministry which offer them the platform.
“The programme is good one. Though it wasn’t easy in the begining. We were trained on different grounds. We were thought how to be good christians and were taught various handicraft. We were particularly taught how to be of service to our society and how to make sacrifice for the sake of others, like Jesus did for us.” he said.
Highlights of the event includes, drama presentation, sermon delivery by the graduates and prize giving ceremony, among others.
Earlier in his speech the Pro-chancellor, had appreciated the school teachers who made out time to groom the children, while praying for them to continue to help the school to do more.
Parents were admonished to release their wards so as to be part of the next set as the school resumes for another session.