Being a lucrative sector, most Nigerians prefer to work in oil companies. But for Shola Mike Agboola, an Environmental Chemist, his choice of a job would have been in the oil fields or in a pharmaceutical company. But he told Daily Sun recently how “God hijacked him and gave him a vision for full-time ministry. Having founded the Evangelical Outreach Ministries (EVOM) 18 years ago, rather than climb the pulpit to preach the word, Agboola chose the film as a way of reaching lost souls. His reasons, “film entails not only the spoken words but actions too. It makes more impact on people. Of course, the average person loves drama and other forms of entertainment.’’ Agboola’s movies have received accolades not only in Nigeria but in Africa, United Kingdom and the United States of America for its force, quality and beautiful storyline. But one thing the EVOM president, who co-directs most of his films with professionals, detests is for people to describe his actors as artistes. According to him the word ‘artiste’ is mundane and worldly. Perhaps, that also informs why he doesn’t use popular actors in secular films in his films. To qualify for a role in Agboola’s films, the person must be born-again, stressing, “ and I am not sure if most of those popular actors and actresses are born-again.’’ Background My name is Shola Mike Agboola. I am from Kwara State, born in Samaru, Zaria, a few years after Nigeria’s independence. I had part of my primary education in Zaria before my family moved to Kwara. After secondary school, I was admitted to the University of Ilorin to study Chemistry with a leaning towards Education. I went in for Environmental Chemistry at the Masters level. I wanted to become a chemical analyst but God hijacked me and gave a vision for full time ministry. EVOM I founded EVOM and I am the president. I take exception to the word ‘founder.’ I will rather call myself a pioneer member. EVOM is an embodiment of Christian works. This is because we are into different programmes like conferences, specialised seminars, workshops, outreaches, stage and film productions, consultancy Services and so on. Involvement in film That was when I founded the ministry in 1988. But we were officially commissioned in 1989. We started precisely on stage. One of our earliest stage plays was entitled: Life for Life. Many of them liked the play to the extent that people were calling for it all the time. We had other stage plays. In 1991, God directed us to go into film production so that we could reach more people with our messages. With that, we launched into a new phase in our evangelical works. Motivation/Inspiration Our motivation is borne out of a desire to obey God. We also receive testimonies from countries outside Nigeria, and these testimonies inspired us further. I direct the films with the help of a professional co-director outside the ministry. Message The foundation of any true Christian movie is the message. The message must be divine. This is because the message makes the messenger. I wait upon God to give me inspiration. Without divine inspiration any movie we produce will end up as collection of children’s bedside stories, jumbled together, without meaning or impact. Works They include: Emi Fun Emi (Life for Life), Torture Chamber, Olugbala Gbami (Saviour Save Me), Iwe Ase (Entry permit), Egun Aimo (Unknown Curse), Ogun Ibi Mi (My Birthright), Nigba kan Ri (Once upon a Time), Too Much for God, Olori Ota (Chief Enemy). You can see that we produce Yoruba and English films. Preaching with the movies The kind of preaching we do with our movies are unconventional preaching. This is because it entails not only the spoken word but actions too. This makes more impact on people. Of course, the average human being likes drama. That is why you would see a banker slow down while driving to catch a glimpse of two area boys fighting in the street. He may drive off when he sees an evangelist preaching along the street. I am not trying to undermine verbal sermons but to make a point that drama arrests people’s attention. Casting We do this prayerfully, carefully and thoughtfully. That is to say that we pray for divine leading. We employ the wisdom of God to do the right casting. We take cognisance of physical attributes, delivery and carriage. We also ensure that we take care of the spiritual level of the members of cast in order not to expose those who are not spiritually sound to negative bounce-backs from the devil. We also invite non-members of the ministry to feature as guest ministries. We hardly call them artistes because we feel that when we call them artistes, we are sounding worldly. Why I emphasize this is that those we invite are Christians. In fact, not only Christians but born-again Christians. If anyone is not a born again, no matter his talent, we cannot use him in our productions. In fact, we have the resources and ability to use any of the big artistes in Nigeria but we do not border to invite them because we may not be able to vouch for their salvation. Most importantly, we are not into business. You are aware that we are not out to make money, our objective is to win souls. Audience We produce for a variety of audience; the serious Christian; unstable Christians and non-Christians. Coming works The latest is Destiny for Sale. It is all about cultism. It is a heart-touching story of Mayomi, who having lost his father is left with a struggling mother to cater for him. He faces a bleak future and by divine providence and brilliance, he wins a scholarship from an oil company to pursue a degree programme in a Nigerian university and a postgraduate study in any foreign university of his choice. But when he gets to the university with high hopes, he meets Nelson, the son of a pastor, in town but a cult member. He persuades Mayomi to join the cult. The film is full of suspense.