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HISTORY -- With Nzekwe Gerald Uchenna

THE STORY OF JESUS OF OYINGBO -- Immanuel Odumosu ( 1915 – 1988)

In the late 1950s, Lagos witnessed the shocking declaration of a middle aged Ijebu man from Ogun State, who declared himself as the long awaited Jesus Christ.
Many people laughed, Shook their heads in utter disbelief,while those who believed him thanked their stars for witnessing the SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST.
The latter set of people,then went home,Packed their belongings,deserted their families/Loved ones and went to follow him.
Immanuel Odumosu first started as a religious Sect leader who founded the Universal College of Regeneration (UCR) in Lagos.

His claim of being the awaited Messiah began in 1959 when Odumosu declared himself as Jesus Christ who had come to lead the people form darkness to light.
He had other numerous names,Such as :
The Lion of Judah,
Immanuel the Christ,
The Second Abraham.
And He demanded worship from his enchanted followers and they directed Prayers at him while choruses of his praise rented the air. Indeed, his followers truly believed in him.
He was highly revered, adored and venerated by his disciples and followers, who believed that he loomed larger than life.

Odumosu's personal beliefs included liberal sexual rights and capital accumulation.
He later built businesses and his Sect members were workers in ...
the various business ventures of the movement, establishing a self-contained economy within the movement.

Although the self-styled religious leader proclaimed himself Jesu Oyingbo, he never shared any trait with Jesus Christ who died and resurrected the third day.
After his death, when his followers were released from their Hypnosis, the first time many came out from the enclave,they were looking all lost and admiring the Maryland express road, as if it was London.

Let's take a look at the Life of Immanuel Odumosu 'Jesus of Oyingbo'.

Immanuel Olufunmilayo Odumosu was Born in 1915.
His father's name is Joseph Odumosu, he is a descendants of Odubela and Otubadejo of Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria.
His father, Joseph Odumosu was a Prominent official in Ijebu and Lagos and ...
he is credited as being the first person to introduce printing to Ijebu Ode.

His Grandfather ( wrote the classics Iwe Egbogi, The Book of Herbs in two volumes, Iwe Ala (The Book of Interpretation of Dreams) and Iwe Iwosan, The Book of Healing) was a Traditional Native Doctor..
and healer (Babalawo), he was said to have passed his healing Ability to Immanuel Odumosu.
His books were so popular that they were widely used. It was a widespread belief that Jacob Odumosu was killed by herbalists who were angry that he revealed their trade Secrets and Methods.
After Immanuel Odumosu’s Primary School education, he couldn't further his education.
He was then enrolled into a vocational training in Carpentry with his uncle, Pa Odubela, who eventually brought him to Lagos.
After his apprenticeship, Odumosu worked briefly as a Carpenter at the Post and Telecommunications (P&T) Department of the Ministry of Communications in Lagos.
He was an active member in the Postal workers union.
In 1945,a General Strike led to Odumosu being Sacked from his work.
Odumosu then went back to his Carpentry work. He then opened a shop On Lagos Island close to Oil Mill Street.

But he struggled to make Ends-Meet as a Carpenter, and was constantly in debt.
He was even jailed for Six months on charges brought by some of his creditors.
During this period, Immanuel Odumosu was attending various Protestant churches in Lagos, and soon said he had received visions and dreams from God.
He interpreted some of the visions as messianic visions and that he was chosen as a messiah that has come to redeem the world.
He began his rebirth by holding evening meetings close to his Carpentry Shop : after the close of work at his carpentry shed, he would, on a daily basis, assemble his adherents under a tree and lectured them on the Bible, giving them spiritual speeches.

In 1952, Immanuel Odumosu 'Jesu Oyingbo’s seeing that he has a handful of Followers, named his movement, Universal College of Regeneration (UCR).
At first, they were located in an area in Lagos Island.
During this period, Odumosu's sermons emphasized duality of the world and Self-Discipline.
The natural world which is filled with evil machinations, Principalities, Powers and a Spiritual world in which he had access.The spiritual world and natural world are in constant battle,..
with the former emphasized as the redeemer of the natural world.
Another major message was self-disciple; consisting of denouncing alcohol, women and tobacco.

In 1954, At the beginning, his congregation was small, about 30 members could be counted.
During this time, he instituted tithe giving to assist the poor.
Odumosu also encouraged members to fund his evangelical missions.

Many of Odumosu’s adherents had to sell their properties, forsake their families and joined the religious leader to build a spiritual enclave.
His movement began to grow and better Organized,the growth assisted with a donation by a wealthy Convert who provided his property for Odumosu's use.
One of those properties was located in Oyingbo-Ebute Metta,Lagos.
This is eventually where Odumosu decided to settle the Movement.
Since the founding of the movement, members lived at their own residences, but after the movement to Oyingbo- Ebute Metta, Odumosu asked them to leave their houses and live in rented properties close to the church building. Members declared their wealth to Odumosu who took 10% ..
of the tithe and charged them rent.

To expand his movement, he began preaching his sermon with loudspeakers placed outside in the church hall, at a location close to Oyingbo Market, where he was sometimes derisively called 'Jesu Oyingbo'.
At the new location at Oyingbo, he began to emphasize more on humility and obedience.

In June 1959, the 44 year Old Immanuel Odumosu declared himself as Jesus Christ.
he claimed that his declaration was as a result of a divine revelation straight from the Chambers of Heaven.
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 an everlasting life and joy. I am the missing of the trinity. I have come to prepare the faithful for the judgment day.”
This officially transformed Odumosu to 'Jesu Oyingbo' (Jesus of Oyingbo).

He claimed that having no formal education, when he suddenly received insight into the secret meanings of the Bible, as well as the power to perform miracles, “save people from their earthly worries,...
comfort and redeem them,” he knew that he was the second coming of Jesus Christ, the “I AM.” He emphasised that he did not need to be a Jew before he could be Jesus, since he and his followers were simply Jews in dispersion.
It did not take him time to draw a large crowd who were interested in his supposed Supernatural personality.

During the Nigeria Civil War, Odumosu 'Jesu Oyingbo' moved his Church to:
Awoyokun Street,
Palmgrove Ikorodu Road.

And Later to: Immanuel Street,
Maryland, Ikeja,Lagos.
But Even though Immanuel Odumosu relocated his Church to Maryland area in Lagos, the name 'Jesus of Oyingbo' stuck, because that was where he started.
There is even a Yoruba Song that acknowledged his divinity claim despite not quite accepting of the claim 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"!!!.
Meaning; "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".
At his new Site in Maryland, More than 700 followers lived on his compound and worked in his businesses that he used in funding his NEW JERUSALEM .

Immanuel Odumosu 'Jesu Oyingbo' various business ventures provided Job and money for his members.
In the 60s, a schism in the church led to an exodus of many of members.
But Odumosu who had Changed from Preaching Self-Discipline to loyalty did not seem to mind, because to continue his business ventures, he needs loyal workers who will serve him.
One may wonder what made some people believed so much in Odumosu!
Could it had been his apprenticeship with his carpenter uncle, Pa Odubela, which is like that of Jesus Christ and his foster father, Joseph, in the Bible?
Or maybe it was the wonders he Performer endlessly.
But Whatever might be their reason(s) , one thing is certain, Nigerians frantically stormed Immanuel Odumosu 'Jesus of Oyingbo’s Church in Maryland seekiIng for instant Miracle to their various problems.

Odumosu 'Jesus of Oyingbo’ mode of worship was in no way related to that of the Biblical Jesus Christ and his disciples.
Infact, 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 awaited Jesus Christ.

Passers-by around his Enclave would notice that some of his buildings on Immanuel Street had the inscriptions such as ‘’Merciful and Mighty’’ ...
and ‘’Everlasting Father,’’ surrounded by statues of Christ, caterpillar tractors, sculptures of lions and mermaids with water spurting from their mouths.

Other inscriptions on the buildings included “Prince of Peace”.
It was an empire befitting the man who mixed Christianity, Paganism,Profit and rationalised his belief that he was the Saviour of the world.

As if all these were not enough to wreck his proclamation as a resurrected Jesus Christ, Odumosu do Baptize his new members not with ..
water or anything normal one can think of, But, with Cane : he Baptises them with 9 strokes of Cane!
After the Baptism is done, these converts will then go back to their families, packed their belongings, forsook the world and followed him by living locked-Up in his enclave.
Some of the families of Odumosu's members accused him of hypothesising their lived ones, But Despite attempts by the different families to hold him responsible for such actions, he always came out of the police cases clean.
People often traced his power and charisma for attracting followers to the cane he allegedly used on his converted new followers.

It is claimed that the cane was bequeathed to him by his grandfather.
It was also alleged that the books written by his grandfather on herbalist practices were also passed on to him especially the books known as “IWE IWOSAN”, “IWE EGBOGI”, “IWE ISOJI” and “IWE ALA”.
It was rumoured at a time in Lagos that these books were the sources of his powers.

Immanuel Odumosu 'Jesus of Oyingbo' was what one might describe as a “PastorPreneur”. He had 29 chains of business that included:
- An Hospital,
- A School known as Mary Blessed Primary and Secondary School.
- Restaurants known as Happy Day food canteens.
- A Barber Shop
- A Construction Company
- A Printing Plant.
- He also Owned a Bakery called Deluxe bakeries that Bakes Goodluck cheesy cheesy cheesy bread.
Alot of People believed that,once they ate his bread,all their worries ..
or pains would be over, and as Such, the bread was in high demand. Patronizers of his bread gave the bread different names such as GOODLUCK BREAD and BREAD OF LIFE.

His business acumen also covered areas such as property development, equipment leasing, among others.
Odumosu 'Jesu Oyingbo' Justified his liberal and abundant life by saying that, "while the first Jesus Christ came to sacrifice and suffer, taking care of the cross-carrying and crucifixion, he, the second Jesus simply came to enjoy life. “I have come to enjoy my life, my friend.”
In his life, he amassed abundant wealth both in cash and kind.

He had a vast estate and some of his listed properties included numbers 7A, 7B, 9, 10,11,13,14,15,17 Emmanuel Street, Maryland, Lagos;
37 Aliu Street via Felicia Ayodeji Street, off Ikorodu Road, Ketu, Lagos;
570/622/624 Ikorodu Road, Ketu, Mile 12, Lagos.

In 1988, #360,000 was seen in his room when he died, and he was said to have properties and funds in the UK.

While he was alive,he cruised around in a shiny Pontiac while his wardrobe was stuffed with the latest designer wears.
Immanuel Odumosu 'Jesu Oyingbo' do state clearly that his wealth was not a result of offerings from his flock, but income from the businesses, even though he sometimes received gifts from them despite the fringe benefits which he considered his entitlement as “their Redeemer.”

One of Odumosu's fringe benefits was the fact that he had unlimited access to any of the wives of the men in his flock, and could choose to do with them whatsoever he pleased.

Odumosu 'Jesu Oyingbo' would sometimes direct that the wife of an errant member of the ..
enclave be taken over by another man and put in the family way.

There was a story of how Odumosu took over and married the wife of one of his disciples in a bid to punish the woman’s former husband for the treatment meted out to her.
Incest was also said to have been a major activity in the enclave.
Members of the Movement slept with one another’s wives.

Odumosu 'Jesus of Oyingbo' was said to have Married a mother who became his follower, and he also impregnating both of the woman's twin daughters.

Odumosu 'Jesus of Oyingbo’s had many wives and so many children.

His Wives :

As at June 1959 before his declaration to be Jesus Christ, he already had 7 wives.
when he was asked about his polygamous intentions, Odumosu said: “I have not finished with wives yet.
am going to marry more. To save the faithful, I must behave like one of themselves. I must marry more women, for are they not the sheep and I the shepherd?”
Since he had unquestioned sexual privileges over the wives of any and every of his member, being his divine benefit for ...
leading them out of darkness to the light, he faithfully tending the flock in his own unique way.

Official reports place the figure of his personal wives to be 46 , of which three of them were his biological daughters.
His Children :

The number of his children was impossible to ascertain because, some of the members of his enclave went as far as adopting Immanuel Odumosu 'Jesu Oyingbo' as their surname.
Albeit, according to One of his daughters, Odumosu 'Jesu Oyingbo's children are 153.
Not all his children believed in him Or his religion.
For example,One of his daughters, Bukola Immanuel Odumosu, a graduate of Economics from Lagos State University bluntly said, ‘‘I don’t accept him as my savior. He’s my biological father. I have only Jesus Christ as my savior.”
Some of his Children includes:

- Princess Adeyinka Immanuel Odumosu 'Jesus of Oyingbo'.
She is the 9th Child of Immanuel Odumosu 'Jesus of Oyingbo'.
- Tokunbo Immanuel Odumosu 'Jesus of Oyingbo'.
He is based outside the country
- Adebola Olawale Immanuel Odumosu 'Jesus of Oyingbo'.
He was sometimes ago accused of rape by a UK Blogger.
- Prophetess Mercy Immanuel Odumosu 'Jesus of Oyingbo'.
Her mother is from Imo State.
She was once attributed to have granted an interview to an Online Blogger, in which she accuse her dad of raping her from the age of 8 years .
- Olufunke Immanuel Odumosu 'Jesus of Oyingbo'.

And many many more that we can't take here.

In 1988, at the age of 73, Immanuel Odumosu 'Jesus of Oyingbo' succumbed to the icy hands of death, throwing the entire commune into an unprecedented chaos and entropy of immense proportions.
He died after a brief illness in an Hospital outside the commune ..
and many of his followers could not believe that the acclaimed Messiah was gone.
Many of his followers gleaned from the iron grill of their windows to ask outsiders and confirm if the bad news was true.
The whole of his Church were thrown into confusion : "How could Jesus Christ die on his Second Coming? They Wondered".

Odumosu had assured his followers that, he would resurrect on the third day when he die.
His members started waiting for his resurrection. But he never did!
Immanuel Odumosu ' Jesus of Oyingbo' was described by his children, Followers and neighbors as a kind and funny man.
They claimed that he smiled always and even cracked jokes when walking in the neighborhood.These claims are evident in the film show session he organized every...
evening in the enclave and neighborhood. Children and movie lovers would always gather in the evening to watch movies with a project provided by Jesu Oyingbo. It was always like a festive .

When Odumosu 'Jesus of Oyingbo' died in 1988, as it is with a lot of Polygamous families with no written Will by the patriarch before he died, his wives, children and members of his church engaged in a legal brawl over the man's wealth and properties.
The center could not hold, and the place unraveled into factions fighting over the man's legacy and money, pitting longtime members against the children, mothers against sons and daughters.

There was never a DNA test conducted to officially say the kids he had were inbreeding,..
but everybody that came out from the fenced walls of Immanuel Odumosu's compound looked like a carbon copy of Odumosu.

His elder children tried to fix the cracks, but instead, they widened the crack.

His eldest son, Olukayode Immanuel Odumosu, then took the matter to Court.
It became a Serious legal battle that lasted for 9years.

And as the matter became prolonged in court, a lot of revelations were made through the testimonies of the plaintiffs, the defendants and their witnesses.
These includes Testimonies such as sexual perversion and large-scale incest that allegedly took place in the commune.
Infact, a member of the Movement named, Ayo told the court that most of the disciples,Including himself, had chosen to adopt immanuel Odumosu as their surnames,..
adding that after Odumosu’s demise, he inherited three of his wives. And that he saw nothing wrong in this act as it was the practice in the commune.

It was also in evidence that indeed, the late Odumosu not only founded the UCR, he was also a husband to more than 30 women ...
of which most of them were former wives of his Members and that he fathered dozens of Children in the process.

After the close of the Testimonies, Chief Ajayi and Prof. Kasumu, lawyers of the Complainant and Plaintiff addressed the court on behalf of their respective clients.
In 1997, On the day of the final Judgement, there were high expectations as both sides stormed the court with retinue of supporters.

In his judgement, Justice Ilori held that the late Odumosu’s children had established that the businesses and property in Maryland were owned by..
their father. The court came to this conclusion because the memorandum of association of the companies established by Jesus of Oyingbo revealed that the late founder of UCR and few of his children were co-directors of the business concerns.
The Judge further declared that there was large-scale incest that had persisted in the commune for several years. The judge gave judgement in favour of Immanuel Odumosu's eldest child, Olukayode and his siblings.
He also directed the Lagos State Government to take over the commune and rescue those who were under hypnotism in the enclave.

The court also lifted the order of injunction restraining the children of the late Immanuel Odumosu 'Jesus of Oyingbo' from entering the commune.
After winning the case, Olukayode, immediately levied execution of the judgement and he evicted the whole members of his late father and other squatters occupying the premises of the UCR.
As court bailiffs, in company of policemen got to the gates of the commune,...
some of the inmates hurriedly packed their personal belongings and left the compound.

And As the legal owner of all his father's property, Olukayode allowed the other children of Immanuel Odumosu (Jesu Oyingbo') to stay.
Later, The first 3 sons Odumosu 'Jesu Oyingbo' who were administrators of his estate were later accused of mismanagement ; 2 of said Sons later died, whilst the 3rd went into permanent exile.
As there was no administrator, there was further disrepute with different factions of beneficiaries laying claim to assets where necessary. While some enjoyed tremendous wealth, some lived in penury.
In 2009, After more than 20 years, an action was instituted by a few of Pa Odumosu’s children led by Princess Adeyinka Odumosu at the Probate Registrar of the Ikeja High Court; the Administrator General & Public Trustee, Lagos State and joining 24 other children as co-defendants.
Going by the suit filed, the purported Letter of Administration was defective as most of the children were excluded while there were allegations of mismanagement of the estate by the executors and other factions of the beneficiaries.
On record there are a total of 167 children allegedly fathered by late Pa Odumosu.
As the case dragged, there were negotiations for settlement by counsels and family elders and in the end, they agreed that all the children are entitled to benefit equally and individually from ...
the estate on the basis of ‘Ori O Jori’(equal rights per child) principle of distribution.

On 18th June 2014, Justice Ronke Harrison of the Probate division of the Ikeja High Court ruled that all 167 children are entitled to share in the vast estate as beneficiaries in equally.
According to the ruling, “The court also granted a consequential order that the properties comprising the estate of Pa Olufunmilayo Odumosu (deceased) be taken over immediately by UBA Capital PLC and they should be assisted in all regards by the Nigerian Police Force to ensure...
adequate control and administration by UBA Capital PLC.

But its ironic that even with the above ruling by the Court, the dust still didn't settle among the whole Immanuel Odumosu 'Jesus of Oyingbo's children, regarding sharing the man's best wealth.

After the demise of Immanuel Odumosu 'Jesu Oyingbo', What was left of the enclave were dilapidated and abandoned buildings which were frequented by thugs, weeds have pushed through the cracks in the imperial courtyards and ...
dust has settled inside the deserted Jerusalem of Odumosu 'Jesus of Oyingbo'.

In May 17, 2018, The Estate located at Immanuel Street, Maryland was demolished.
This was at the instance of the family members.
There have been several disputes involving the members of the family ...
regarding the estate before the ongoing demolition.

The Demolition was supervised by the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA).

When Immanuel Odumosu's Daughter, Princess Adeyinka Immanuel Odumosu was asked why it was demolished,..
she said, "We didn’t intend to demolish the place. We asked the occupants to vacate it since 2014 as the place was not well maintained. It was meant to be a residential area, but commercial activities took over. Apart from the fact that they were not paying their rents,..
they owed electricity bills, waste bills and other things".

"Does it make sense for a church to buy an eight-bedroom flat for N7m in Maryland from a son when there are 153 children? I call that greediness because they knew it was a family property.
The church didn’t want to be evicted claiming they bought the property, but we forced them out. We had over 2,000 tenants in the estate before it was demolished, She concluded.

Sources : NGU Library Collection, Wikipedia, Nairaland, Teslim Opemipo Omipidan, NaijaAchives

#Nzekwe Gerald Uchenna (NGU)
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