Sunday, May 24, 2009

Macaulay: Agonies, love of a gay pastor’s doting dad

Macaulay: Agonies, love of a gay pastor’s doting dad
Saturday, 23 May 2009 00:00

Professor Olakunle Macaulay has a tough choice to make between a father’s love for his son, however weird, and his Christian convictions. He became the talk... -of-the-town sometime last year when his UK-trained second son, a lawyer and pastor, openly admitted to being a homosexual. In this interview with OSEYIZA OOGBODO and SADE OKUNUGA, the 72-year-old cleric spoke about the trauma for the household .

You’re the director of the United Bible University. Are you its founder?

Yes, I’m the founder.

When did you found it?

It was founded on the 22nd of October, 1994.

What was the reason for its establishment?

Well, I found out that many church leaders were not trained. They were not properly educated, and they didn’t even know how to manage people. Their interpretation of the Bible was very faulty, so God touched my spirit to establish something that would prepare men and women; that would be able to speak to this technological and scientific world, because things are changing nowadays, and you must be brilliant enough, clever enough to understand how to put religion to scientific things.

Prior to UBU, what were you doing?

I’m a trained engineer. I studied Engineering and I came back to this country in 1968. I was a trainer at West African Portland Cement Training School. I worked with Shell, seismography, exploration of oil, and later, I came back to work with some engineering firms. I tested the first car assembled in this country during the Yakubu Gowon administration. They invited me and I did the appraisal of the first car, a Peugeot.

You’ve trained many students here. Which of them are now renowned pastors out there?

Very many. Bishop Omooba Jesu is one. He was my student. And one Dr Bababtunde, he is in Ibadan. He is doing very well. Reverend (Dr) Mrs Omotoso is also doing very well. They are very many.

Considering your background and global experience and exposure, what do you think of gay people?

Well, it’s not what I think about gay people, it’s what the Bible says about gay people. The Bible condemns it and I condemn it totally, you know, because I am a teacher of the Bible and I have to teach what is inside the Bible, that is the essence of my teaching, so I condemn it. It’s not what I think about it but what the Bible says.

When did you then learn your son was a homosexual?

Well, it was in the year 2003 I got to know about it when I went to London. And what happened was that I went into his room and I found some funny books about gays, lesbianism, etc. I was very worried. I invited his brothers and sisters and we talked about it. And for over a month, I did not talk to him because it gave me a lot of concern. At the end of the day, I thought I was losing him. Being a Minister of God and also a counsellor, I looked at the Bible ... the Bible does not condemn sinners, you know, and the Bible says minister to sinners, and if I’m a preacher, I should be able to preach to myself at that particular time. I decided to bring him back, and since that time, I’ve been talking to him, praying with him, in fact, his brothers were against him, they did not talk to him, I had to bring them together. It’s a big thing, it affected my family seriously.

This was 2003?

That I got to know. His brothers knew and they were afraid to tell me, but when I got to know and I called them, they said they didn’t know what would happen to me or my reaction which was why they hid it from me. It gave me a lot of concern, like I said, but thinking about it, you know, I can’t really condemn him because he’s my son.

You discovered your son’s gay status in 2003. When did he come back fully to Nigeria?

I wouldn’t be able to say because he comes to Nigeria regularly. He has never come here to settle down. He has always been coming and going.

But for him to have established a church here, he must have been here fully.

Well, I wouldn’t say fully because he was still going up and down. You know, he is a man of 43 years old. Roland will be 44 this year, in November, so he is not a small boy. He is a lawyer, a theologian, he has practised in England for about 12 years now. He is an old man. You can’t follow that kind of man around.

But when his gay status was eventually revealed to the whole world last year, how did it affect you personally and professionally?

Let me tell you, emotionally, it affected me. Professionally, it did not because a clear conscience fears no accusation. I knew I didn’t do anything wrong, I knew my college had never done anything wrong so I was ready to fight for the cause of Jesus Christ. But emotionally, it broke me down.

You are saying it didn’t stop students from registering with your college?

Not at all. More students are even coming now because they know what we are doing here.

How many students do you have on annual basis?

An average of 60.

How old was Rowland when he travelled out of the country?

I think he was a teenager. He was born there in London in Islington. I was a student there, studying there, I had all of them there.

And you left them there when you were coming back fully?

No. No. I brought them here. They went to secondary school here and then later, they went back to England. Roland in his case went to study law.

From the 2003 to 2008 that the world got to know Rowland was gay, you were counselling him. Did he respond to your counselling?

Of course he did. You wouldn’t expect him to tell me that he was not responding well. I used to talk to him, pray with him ... let me tell you, a situation like this is spiritual and it has nothing to do with the mind and there’s nothing you can do to force it on people. You have to talk to God, you have to talk to them continuously until they change. Up till today, I still talk to him. He’s a minister ordained 10, 11 years ago and I told him to be a minister of the gospel, not a group of people. The church is the church of God. Jesus Christ said ‘I will build my church’, and that’s the most important thing. And all ministers are servants of God, to work with God, I always tell him that.

Rowland is not your only child. Why do you think he’s different?

Well, you never know, you need to ask God about that. My first son is a Chartered Accountant. He is working with Cambridge University in England. My third son is an engineer, he’s a consultant. I don’t know, if he (Rowland) works everyday trying to be what he is, then we need to ask him and ask God.

Don’t you feel there were shortcomings in the way you brought him up?

Oh no, no, no, no way! I properly brought them up. Seriously,. I put things everything a parent should.

You said you speak with him regularly?

Of course, yes. I call him, he calls me, he’s my son. I can’t deny him. As father and child, we are still very cordial.

When did you actually see him last?

I’ll say a few weeks before the event ... I think I saw him the last day ... What happened was that we had our own graduation and he was here. It was the following day I travelled out of Lagos, I went for a programme at Owerri for a week and proceeded to Akwa Ibom from there for another one week. It was while I was in Akwa Ibom that this thing broke out. So, I saw him last last year.

Do you see a solution to Rowland’s situation soonest?

Yeah, you see, what you need to realise is that people who believe in God will always hope for good things. I mean, it’s a spiritual thing, it’s not something you can do now, so I believe that he will change. I believe it.

You were emotionally broken over all these. How about your wife, Rowland’s mother?

I really don’t want to talk about her. It was the same thing I told the pressmen when they came here last time. I’ll tell you up till now she’s mentally affected. She cries a lot about it. Every time she sees Rowland, she cries, “Rowland, why don’t you leave this nonsense? Go and find something to do.” They are always fighting.

What are you doing to correct the impression in people’s minds that UBU is a gay church?

God will correct that. It’s a question of time. I think my enemies decided to destroy the reputation of this college which has nothing to do with House of Rainbow. When Rowland established his church, he told me. But it wasn’t a church for gays, it was a church of God. Now, I’ve never been to his house, church or connected with his programmes at all because a boy of 42 years, you don’t take him around, you don’t monitor him, so it’s his life. His brothers and sisters are doing well so why should I have to monitor him? I just have to pray for their success. UBU has never been connected to House of Rainbow. What happened was that Rowland decided to have the second anniversary of his church here, because of the centrality of this place. He said he had his first anniversary at Isolo and it was difficult for many people to get there. I told him he had to rent it and he paid for it. So, that’s what happened and people say it’s a gay church. It’s not.

That second anniversary of his, was it for gay people?

That’s the problem. It was not for gay people. It was for House of Rainbow, a church as far as I’m concerned. If Rowland is a gay, I don’t expect everyone in his church to be the same thing. It’s just to say that we have one or two prostitutes in a church, so that church becomes a church of prostitutes.

Rowland is in London at present. Do you know what he’s doing there?

I wouldn’t know.

The man Professor Macaulay

Walking into the United Bible University, along Yakoyo Road, in Ojodu, Lagos, the serenity and order of the organisation is immediately noticeable.

Such order could only have been achieved and continuously sustained by a disciplined and ascetic leader. And this is quite indisputable in the case of Professor Augustus Olakunle Macaulay, an engineer and theologian who is UBU’s founder and director.

A further evidence of Macaulay’s sterling qualities is his promptness. He is not one of those with the irritating habit of keeping to African time. Rather, he arrived before the appointed time and immediately settled down in his office, prior to the day’s activities.

Later this year, Macaulay will attain the milestone of 72 years on earth. Looking at him, however, it is very difficult to believe that he is even 50, much less 70. He is quite tall with just the slightest of stooping evident in his posture.

His office is also situated on the top of the UBU building and since there is no elevator, he takes the stairs. This is just amazing, considering his age, but ample evidence of the fact that he has lived a good life.

A courteous and warm man, he came out of his office at least a couple of times to apologise for the delay caused by the preparation of his office quarters for the meeting with the Nigerian Compass on Saturday.

Without an iota of doubt, Macaulay has acquired both experience and wisdom in his long sojourn on earth. So, it wasn’t a bit of bother for him to open up about his life, ministry and the consequences of the news that made world headlines: that his second son, Rowland, is gay.

Instead of folding under the pressure that has come on the heels of the discovery, or retreating out of public circulation to avoid embarassing stares from neighbours and colleagues, Macaulay is facing the storm head-on.

It is obvious in his tone of voice that he sometimes feels he is being unjustly put on trial. At no time is this more apparent than when he revealed that some people declared to his face that his gay-son and similarly inclined people in the son’s controversial church, House of Rainbow, be killed.

Speaking about their opinion, though without a quiver in his voice, it came across that he was profoundly shocked that people, even men of God, could have such “callous thoughts.” On his part, he has resigned to fate: one, because Raymond is his son; two, because the Bible enjoins us to love even those who hate us.

Macaulay is also very analytical. As far as he is concerned, regarding every issue, emotion must be separated from the spiritual which is the realm he operates from.

Thus if his son, Rowland, is found guilty by the law, he will be in support of due punishment meted out to him.

Macaulay is also surprised by Rowland’s sudden homosexual lifestyle, because the second son had already been married with a child, a son named Tosin.

And, much as he has spoken about the issue, Macaulay realises he may have to keep talking about it.

His words: “Even in 10 years’ time, if there is anything about gays in the news, I know people will still recall this one.”

1 comment:

Chika Lagos Lad said...


Like I always said, you are indeed a soul to those who ask for a true living and an anchor to lay head when the time need because I know of a truth that your good work to humanity has reward in heaven and God will always pay you dearly on what ever you have done in life to save souls and also save life in the world.

Your principle to life and creativity needs no measure in life because you deserve an award but one thing I have to say is please no matter what it will take, don’t look back because you are flying higher than expected and God will always reward you accordingly.

Yours son,
Chukwuka Ejikeme Okereke
House of Rainbow MCC Lagos Nigeria