Elizabeth Ogunbamowo 

It was 9pm on December 31, 2019. Being the last day of the year, the sight of people thronging places of worship was not unexpected.

But there was something special about the gathering at the Proposed Palace Ground, in the Igando Sonson axis of Igando, Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos. It was the presence of Taribo West, former Super Eagles star.

Clad in a white shirt, black trousers and black shoes, West was not there for a football lecture. He was there for a crusade.

Many noticed that Taribo West no longer had his trademark dreadlocks like he did in his football playing days.

His church, Shelter in the Storm Miracle Ministries of All Nations, had organised the special crusade and crossover night, tagged “My Year of Maximum Glory, Miracle and Supernatural Restoration 2020.”

The event started by 9pm, with a relatively small number of people. The event kicked off with a prayer and worship session, conducted by the choir. There was dancing, clapping and thanksgiving.

This was followed by a sermon by the football star-turned-pastor. He spoke energetically on higher grace and location, drawn from 1 Chronicles 17: 9-11. During the charged and power-packed pogramme, West spoke highly of God’s power in transforming the lives of those who diligently seek him in the year 2020. He also charged the congregation to utilise their talents to achieve greatness, citing himself as an example.

“Look at me, I travelled round the world because I could play football,” he said.

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The sermon was followed by a deliverance session, during which the minister prayed for people battling different ailments and problems. Some of the ailing persons fell under the anointing, while others were calm.

“It’s is just a matter of time. You are going to catch up with your destiny. By the end of this morning, God is going to bless several persons,” West said while praying.

Some people who attended the event expressed happiness and expectations for the year 2020. Biodun Afolabi, a trader, said the event afforded him the opportunity to meet the celebrated footballer.

“This is an amazing experience. I am really happy to participate in the programme and, more importantly, meet the much-talked-about Nigerian legend. There is no doubt that the year 2020 would be great,” he said.

A classmate of the cleric in secondary school described the event as wonderful. She said she had been to several of such annual programmes organised by West.

Another participant, Adams, said he attended the programme primarily to see Taribo West and to appreciate God for making him to witness the New Year.

A scrap dealer who identified himself as Afeez said he was shocked when he discovered that the event was organised by the former Nigerian football star.

“I just decided to simply come around here on the eve of the New Year and observe the worship. Little did I know it was organised by Taribo West, the Nigerian football legend. I feel so happy to be here,” he enthused.