By EBUN SESSOU
Although the remains of late Bishop Joseph Adetiloye, former Archbishop, Primate and Metropolitan Church of Nigeria, Anglican Church has been buried, the beautiful memories of the ever loving and courageous man of God will forever be respected and remembered by all and sundry.
A visit to Odo Owa in Ekiti State recently for the funeral rites of this great man brought back memories of his life as told by different people.
As much as he had his odd times, he was not swayed by those ugly experiences as he fought corruption and cultism throughout his life .
However, late Adetiloye suffered marital challenges. His first wife had post-natal syndrome. This problem remained untamed all through her life until she died last year.
Another revelation was the fact that a new wife was married to him in an uncelebrated manner sixteen years ago and that union produced a fifteen-year old son (Adedoyin).
It was revealed that he shunned the request of the Queen of England for a special holy communion service for Prince Charles when they came to Nigeria.
An encounter with some of his very close associates revealed that late Bishop was not only a man of God but he was down to earth about his faith.
What he told me at the last minutes— Brother
The only surviving brother of late Adetiloye’s mother, Chief Odofin Adetiloye,said, out of the six children that the deceased’s mother had, he is the only surviving one.
He explained that late Joseph Adetiloye was only four years old when his father died and since then, he has been close to him.
“I spent three quarter of my life with him. He took me as his own son. And when he retired as Bishop and relocated back to Ekiti, I have been living with him. We slept on the same bed and I was with him till his last moments.
“We used to discuss about life and I remember how he used to advise me to be close to God.
“At the last minute, he told me that I should align all my families with God and serve God with all my heart, that is the only way to please God.
“Although he had many challenges, those things did not bother him because his interest was in the work of God”.
My last conversation with him — Oyinola, widow
Mrs Titilaoyo Oyinola Adetiloye, second wife of late Adetiloye who was married to him several years ago, revealed that her last conversation with her husband was pleasant and no premonition of his death ever occurred to her.
“My last moment with him was on December 13, last year. I was in Akure to collect the cake for our carol service that was to take place in the morning of the day he died.
“The woman who was billed to make the cake disappointed and so, I had to stay back at Akure for the cake to be prepared.
“When I called to inform him of the lastest development, he said, “Darling I hope, you are on your way”. Then, I replied and said, “Stop teasing me”. And, I told him that I will be coming very early the next day. That was our last discussion.
“I got the information about his death around 12.45 am on my blackberry phone.
“Papa Adetiloye was a lovely man of God. He loved to see everybody around him happy. He is generous. He spent all his life trying to please God,” she said.
I am the first priest to be ordained by him— Bishop Adebiyi
The Bishop of the Diocese of Lagos West, Archibishop Anglican Church of Nigeria, Peter Adelewa Adebiyi who was the first priest ordained by late Adetiloye said: “I was with him for 22 years until I became a Bishop. The memories we share together were about our journeys, his war against corruption, the challenges of politics and politicians, the challenges of priests and the bishops. All these culmunated into a huge history of his life. He was a man who was always on the road.
“There was no transportation by air then, so we were always traveling from Lagos to Maiduguri by road. No wonder, he couldn’t live beyond 82 years of old because he was overused by the church. He would be remembered for many things”, he added.
He waged war against cultism — Bishop Oke
“He waged war against cultism in the church of God. I remember the day when an open confrontation was staged by members of the “secret society” against the church of God concerning a woman who died, whom we didn’t know belonged to a cult.
“She was to be buried at Ikoyi Cemetery. But, the members of her occult refused that we should bury her body. They almost lynched us before we were pulled out of the place.
“Then, we informed late Adetiloye that the woman belonged to a secret society and that her group wouldn’t allow us to bury her. That was the beginning of his fight against cultism. Then, a declaration was made, “Declaration of Ido” at Ekiti and until today, that declaration exists in all Anglican churches in Nigeria. The declaration of Ido was established in 1984 and since then, it has been a tradition for every servant of God in Anglican Church every year to make this declaration, renouncing their membership to serve God alone.
In a related experience, Archbishop of the Province of Lagos, Reverend Adebayo Akinde said, “at a time when some church workers professed Christa in names and appealed to other powers of darkness, Baba Adetiloye as Bishop of Ekiti in 1971 led the battle against them, providing them with the option to either renounce their membership of such cults or their commission in the church.
When he eventually became the Primate of All Nigeria in 1988, he made church workers to publicly swear to an oath of allegiance to the supremacy of Christ and renunciation of dark powers or place themselves under the wrath of God.
“I am happy to say that the practice is the norm today. The result is a retracing of steps by the old from the spiritually corrupt practices to the new order of true Christianity.
..A devoted man indeed—Adedoyin, son
The second son of late Adetiloye, Adedoyin, 15, said the only legacy of his father, he would love to emulate was by becoming a priest and following his footsteps.
“My aspiration is to become a man of God like my father who lived all his life doing the work of God. He was a great man, very devoted to the church, lovely and disciplined”.