Prophet Abiara the strict disciplinarian – by Israel Abiara

Israel Abiara is the third son of Prophet S.k Abiara, the general overseer of Christ Apostolic Church Agbala Itura. He is an afro-gospel musician, featured here. 

He recently gave an interview about growing up with his famous dad. It  reveals that his dad gave them a very conservative and strict upbringing. Do you agree with what the dad did – only gospel music; enforced fasts twice a week, etc, etc? Would you raise your kids like that?  Story below:

  

Israel Abiara

Israel Abiara

Can you briefly describe yourself?

My name is Israel Abiara. I am the third in a family of eight children of Prophet and Prophetess Kayode Abiara. We have three set of twins in our family. I am a part of the second set of twins. I am a pastor and a singer.

What is the feeling like being one of the children of Prophet Abiara?

It is a great privilege to be one of his children. However, I always try to be as humble as I can be especially when I think of the wonderful ways God has been using him to propagate His word. I do not get to a place and announce who my father is. I allow my attitude to speak first before people realise the son of who I am.

What memories of your growing up years can you recall?

One thing I cannot forget is that when we were younger, my father dwelt so much on the 10 commandments for us. We were always made to recite the 10 commandments offhand and we watched only Christian movies such as Jesus of Nazareth and Samson and Delilah. He believes that it is only the word of God that can take a man to whatever height he wishes to attain in life. He also made us to know that he and our mother are the prophets that God has given us to make our journey through life successfully. He made us to fear God in all our ways. He did not condone truancy and also encouraged us to be hard working. No child was allowed to be absent from school even if he or she was sick. Though we had some people who helped us with household chores, he ensured that we independently carried out our assigned household chores. If we refused, he would spank us.  He whipped any child who missed Sunday School. I remember one day when some of us jumped the fence to pluck mangoes in a garden at the back of our house. He caught us in the act and beat all of us.

With what did he use to spank? 

My father used horse whip to correct us whenever we misbehaved. In fact, he used to say that until he saw marks on the back of the erring child, which he or she would show to his children, he would not stop the beating.

Were there things your mates enjoyed then which your disciplined background denied you of?

Yes, there were things we were not allowed to do which our friends enjoyed. For instance, we cannot watch any kind of movies. They were censored. We cannot play any kind of music. It must either be gospel songs or nothing. But as our father began to grow older, the laws are becoming relaxed. Our movement was restricted. Boys were not allowed to receive female visitors likewise girls cannot invite male friends into the house.

Prophet Abiara

Prophet Abiara

How did he grow his children spiritually?

My father made us study the Bible always. He made it a rule that  everybody must fast on Wednesdays and Fridays. No cook dared put anything on fire on those days. Even during holidays, he would make sure we were on the mountains to pray. He employed an elderly driver who would drive us to the mountains and bring us back. By the time we combined the prayers on mountains, summer school and youth meetings in the church, the holidays would have ended.  I think my father was very spiritual in our upbringing. We studied hard and prayed hard as well.

What was his contribution to the career choice of his children?

When we were to choose our disciplines, dad did not influence our choice.  Being a prophet, I think he had an inkling of what everybody would opt for. For instance, when I told him I wanted to study medicine, he asked me quietly if that was what I really wanted to do because I had been preaching since I was young.  He gave me all the support when I was offered admission to the University of Ibadan to study dentistry. In fact, all my medical books were bought from London. He ensured that I had the latest editions of all the books. But unfortunately, I did not complete the programme because I was involved in some other things while studying. I later realised that I do not have the capacity to concentrate on many things at the same time. I was in school and organising  concerts all over the country. So, at the end of the day, I was not able to complete the programme. Even in choosing a partner, my father does not interfere. He never rejected anybody any of his children chose to marry. He only asked if that child was sure of his or her choice. He always says his observation concerning the person any of his children introduces to him. He believes that he has trained us in the fear of God to be able to make the right choices in life. To him, as the Bible says, you can train up a child; you cannot train an adult.

How did he react to your inability to complete the course?

He was disappointed but he did not really show it. He only asked me what I wanted to do afterwards and I told him I would like to earn a degree in psychology. He gave me a good support in that regard. When I finished the programme, he told me to go to a Bible school since I also wanted to be a minister of God. Even up till now, he still buys books for me because he believes one day, I would still go to the seminary. I told him that I may still consider that. But for now, I do not want anything to affect my music evangelism.

With his busy nature attending crusades within and outside the country, how does he create time for his family?   

Well, before I left secondary school, my two elder siblings, Isaac and Mary, were abroad. My mother was at home to cater for the home front and I was always around to assist her. The burden of taking care of my younger ones was less. My father had less time to attend to us because of his ministry work. But he managed to create time to be with his family.

Where did he take members of his family to whenever he ‘managed’ to create time for them?

On those occasions, he would take us to a park. My father is a typical Ijesha man. He does not have time for picnics. When we were all together, on Easter Monday, we would all be in church and on Christmas Day, there was always a get-together at home after service. On his birthday, if we wish him ‘happy birthday,’ he always asks ‘Who is celebrating birthday? When we say he is the one, he would just say ‘Thank you.’

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