Professor Dapo Asaju has narrated how he almost lost his life while he was Vice-Chancellor of Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo because of his principles and fight against immoral lifestyles on the campus.
Asaju recalled the incident while delivering a sermon on Wednesday, June 29 at the West Africa Theological Seminary, (WATS) Ipaja, Lagos.
He was the guest speaker at the commendation service held for Pastor Oluwafemi Martins, the institution’s provost who transited on May 28.
The former ACU VC who spoke on the topic, “God does as he likes” said life is transient. He said he would have died after going through five-hour surgical procedures on two occasions consecutively.
Asaju: My food was poisoned
Asaju, is a Bishop Theologian and former lecturer at the Lagos State University. He is now the Bishop of Ilesha Diocese of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion.
He told the bewildered audience at the commendation service that his food was poisoned by a close aide while he was the VC of ACU. He ate the food and subsequently landed in the hospital.
Asaju alleged that his assailants still trailed him to the hospital. He said the stitches on his body burst and he had to be taken back to the theatre for another five-hour of surgical procedures.
He words, “When I was VC of the university I tried to clean up the system. And they conspired against me because I sent away people who were misbehaving. I dismissed cultists and hemp smokers. I wiped out the evil in the place and made the place a godly centre by the grace of God.
“But what did they do? They decided to conspire against me and conspired with a close aide to put poison in my food. I brought food from home and put it under the table. And the aide I thought was faithful was used against me. They gave the aide money and they put poison in my food.
“Unknown to me I ate the food and landed at UCH Ibadan. I went through a five-hour operation. Two days after the operation they saw that I did not die, they came to the hospital to attack me the second time, and all the stitches in my body burst. I was taken to the theatre for another procedure for five hours. I saw the other side.”
My orientation changed-Asaju
Prof Asaju said the incident changed his orientation about life. “God has blessed me in all modesty. And it occurred to me that if I had died in that hospital my professorship would have terminated. My son can’t bear the title. He can’t use my certificate.
“As a bishop of in the Anglican Communion, if I die today, it won’t take them more than two weeks to elect another bishop. My son can’t inherit my title. It occurred to me that I have to be careful how I lived my life. Titles wealth and other worldly acquisitions are vanities.” he said.
The 20-minute message was packed with thought-provoking words and useful counsel on how to live life with eternity in view.
Retired Anglican Priest and the cardiologist
He told the story of a retired Anglican Bishop he once had cause to interact with. “I met the retired bishop in one of our programmes and I asked how he was doing. He said he was fine and at the same time not fine. I asked him what he meant by that. He said he was fine because his children were takIng care of him.
He said since he retired he had a heart condition. And a professor of cardiology was recommended to take care of him. He said he had been doing well since the cardiologist took over because he followed his advice.
“He however said he was not fine because he had just been told that the Professor of Cardiology who is supposed to be an expert in heart matter died of a heart attack.
“The expert who took care of a heart patient died of the same disease which he was trained to handle. As I speak to you the patient is still alive today but the expert in heart disease is gone.”
Asaju said the story is just an indication that in life, “the battle is not for the strong. The race is not for the swift. That we are alive today is not because of our medical expertise. It is the grace of God that has kept us going. We have an assurance that our brother Femi Martins is in a better place.”
Experts could not help deaths during covid-19
He noted that about six million people died during the Covid-19 season adding that all the developed countries of the world with their experts could not do anything to stop the deaths.
He added also that “the majority of those who died, died without Christ. And we know where they are now. Death has become so common in our world today. People are killed anyhow. People are kidnapped. Death has become so close to everyone.”
Asaju prayed that God would continue to keep His people while also drawing inspiration from the book of Rev 21v4 which assures that the day is coming when all tears would be wiped away.
“In this world, we have no continuing city. Jim Reeves was right when he wrote, This world is not our home. We are just passing by. He will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more pain. There will be no more death. Old things will pass away.”
God breathed in man, he can take the breath anytime
He said God made man out of the dust and breathed on him. “God breathed the breath of life into man. He takes that breath whenever he pleases. So we tell those in government that they have to be careful because they cannot be God. He is the only one who has the power to handle anyone that goes beyond his boundary. He is the owner of life.”
He noted that Nigeria has lost two heads of state in power. “General Sani Abacha died there, President Musa Yardua died there. Their excellencies could not help them. We must understand that life belongs to God. He takes the life of man whenever he likes and however he likes. When we pray for long life we say amen. But the will of God will be done.
“God is the one who determines our times and the boundary of our habitation. That was what Paul said when he got to Athens and he was talking about God to the people who dedicated the temple to the unknown God.”
The soul of man, the real deal
Asaju, a professor of over 20 years said, “ Life is a dream. Life is a vapour. Life is a shadow. The body is not the real thing. The real thing is the soul of man. Man is a tripartite being. He has a soul, he has a body and he has a spirit. When we die it is our soul that leaves our body. Our soul looks exactly like us. It is the embodiment of our personalities, our emotions, our willpower, and who we really are.
“When you sleep you dream. You suddenly find yourself moving in the dream and you wake up to find out that you are panting, it means it is the real you that was engaging in activity in the dream.
“There is life after life. This body is only a cloth. Those who had near-death experiences will tell you when they were pronounced dead, they saw themselves flip out of the body. And they see themselves moving through a tunnel. Some will head to hell and some to heaven. And so our lives are never terminated because we are made in the image of God.”
Pastor Martins, gone to be with God
The cleric assured that Pastor Martins had gone to be with the Lord. “It is the body that will be buried. His soul has gone to be with the Lord. And again, according to the unfailing words of scripture, the Bible is clear about who we are. It is clear about heaven and hell. Nobody talked about heaven and hell more than Jesus.”
Giving the instance of the rich man and Lazarus, Asaju said, “One man was rich the other was poor. But whether rich or poor, death is an equalizer. The rich man died and he was given a simple burial. But when Lazarus died, the angels took his soul to the bosom of Abraham.
One was up and another was down. One was in pain begging for water and crying for intervention. Another was enjoying. Jesus talked about hell, the lake of fire. Even science tells us that hell is real. Hell is down, heaven is up. No one told us about heaven more than Jesus.”
He gave the example of one of his church members who had an experience of heaven. He also recalled listening to Paul Yong Cho talk about his experience of heaven.
Your labour is credited to the heavens
“Imagine when Jesus said lay your treasures not in this world but in heaven. Your labour for the Lord is credited to the heavens. There is a bank in heaven. There is a record book in heaven. The book of life is there. Anyone whose name is not found in the book of life will be thrown into the lake of fire.”
Asaju said Christians are not supposed to mourn like the unbelievers. “Our brother served God. God only gave him to us as husband. He came alone and he died alone. All of us came alone and we will die alone. No matter how much we love him. We may cry as much as we can, but he is going to be left alone. Those who are mourning; we give them just two hours, they will be rejoicing dancing, and eating rice under the canopy.” Asaju said.
Bishop Asaju said further that “Our lives are in the hands of God. He has not signed any contract with anybody. Some will sleep they will not wake up. Some will drop from the airplane and die. Calamity will befall some. Unfortunately, some can even die in the house of God at an unexpected time. The world is full of evil. This is the end time. Therefore you must be ready. Live your life as if it is the last opportunity you have. God has not signed any contract with any man. One generation goes another comes.”
Men of God are guinea pigs
The Anglican Bishop said men of God are guinea pigs in the hands of God. “When you join the army, you have signed to die. When we gave our lives to Christ it is like that of a soldier in the service of the nation. Paul says I live but it is no longer I that lives but Christ that lives in me.
“He said he preferred to even go to heaven than remain here because here we have no continuing city. The life we live is for the Lord. As long as you have joined the army of the Lord, every moment you have in life is a moment of grace. God can do whatever he likes. At a time God killed everybody and saved a family of eight. Nobody could question him.
“Others were dying But Enoch was not allowed to die. Elijah was not allowed to die. Nobody served God like Moses. He was proud of his Jewish heritage. He confronted Pharaoh. He brought down manna from heaven. He confronted the Amalekites. He sought God on the mountain. And he had encounters with God.
“But when he committed a little error, God said he will not see the Promised Land. God asked him to hand over to Joshua and asked him to get to the mountain and die. God killed him and buried him. Nobody knows his grave till today. God is not a respecter of person. Only Joshua and Caleb of their generation got to the Promised Land. Others perished in the wilderness. 40 years wasted.
We are dealing with a complex matter
“Eli was anointed man of God, he prayed for Hannah and she had a child. But because of the irresponsible life of his children, God said he had renounced his covenant with his lineage. Elisha was even more surprising. It was sickness that killed him and his anointing went to the grave with him. A corpse came alive when it was dropped in the grave of Elisha and it made contact with the bones of Elisha.
“Where was God when his son cried in the garden of Gethsemane. We must realise that we are guinea pigs in the hands of God. God asked Hoshea to marry a prostitute because he wanted to convey a message to the Israelites. He said to Ezekiel that his wife would die but he must not cry. Stephen was stoned to death. The apostles died in horrible circumstances.
“We are dealing with a complex matter. All that matter in life is our names in the book of life. Our brother Femi Martins is gone. But his legacy will continue to be with us. This is even the time we should please the Lord more.”
The blind man and his footballer son
Asaju ended his sermon with the story of a blind man and his footballer son. The celebrated footballer had scored so many goals but because his father was blind, he did not have the privilege of seeing his son play.
“But one day the blind man died. And the coach told the footballer that he would be excused from playing football because his father just died. He was given permission to go mourn his father. But the young man refused. He insisted on playing in a match. He played the best match ever.
“He scored four goals in that match on the day he was supposed to mourn his late father. He was asked why he chose to play football on the day his father died. He said, when his father was alive he could not see. But now that he is dead, he has no inhibition. He said his father could now see him from above and that was why he played his best match that day to his late father’s admiration.
The moral in the story according to Professor Asaju is that those who love Pastor Femi Martins should please the Lord more and work for him more to sustain his legacies and carry on his good works
Story by Gbenga Osinaike