By Sam Eyoboka & Olayinka Latona
ALL over the globe leaders in different spheres of human endeavour will be falling over one another to pen befitting eulogies for a man born into abject poverty in a sleepy village, but by divine providence, rose to become a change agent to transform a tiny relatively unknown religious structure founded in 1952 by Rev. Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi (1909-1980) to a global brand with presence in over 196 countries of the world.
The Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, was founded in 1952 by Rev. Akindayomi after his involvement in several other churches. Pa Josiah Akindayomi was 71 years old when he died in 1980. Amidst controversy, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye’s appointment was formalized by the posthumous reading of Pa Akindayomi’s sealed pronouncement after his burial.
Pastor Adeboye was a lecturer in mathematics at the University of Lagos, when he joined the church in 1973 and became the interpreter translating Akinda-yomi’s sermons from Yoruba to English. He was ordained a pastor in 1975. In 1990, Redeem-ed Christian Church of God Bible School was founded. Andrew Rice, writing in The New York Times, described RCCG as “one of (Africa’s) most vigorously expansionary religious movements, a homegrown Pentecostal denomination that is crusading to become a global faith”.
The church’s leaders preach that in the future “In every household there will be, at least, one member of RCCG in the whole world.” Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye was born on March 2, 1942 in the village of Ifewara, Osun State, one of the four children of very poor parents. An illiterate farmer, his father did not believe in educating any of his children. In fact, the family was so poor that they could not afford to pay the school fees.
Passion for science and mathematics
Enoch was, however, very particular about receiving a formal education and when his requests to be sent to school were dismissed by his father, he went on a hunger-strike in a bid to persuade him and his father eventually gave in and sold his goat in order to pay his son’s school fees. Thus Enoch was enrolled at the only missionary school in their village.
Though he started school quite late, he soon realized that he loved to read. He was admitted into the Ilesha Grammar School in nearby Ilesha also in Osun State in 1956 where he discover-ed his passion for science and mathematics.
Young Adeboye badly wanted to pursue a higher education but the ongoing Nigerian Civil War and his family’s dire financial condition threatened to thwart his ambition; yet he chased his dream relentlessly and ultimately obtained a Bachelors (BSc.) degree in Mathematics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in 1967 and an M.Sc. in Hydro-dynamics and a Ph.D in Applied Mathematics, both from the University of Lagos, in 1969 and 1975 respectively.
As a young man he had one ambition -to become the youngest vice chancellor (university president) of any one of the frontline universities in Nigeria. Given his brilliant academic records, it seemed like he would achieve this dream soon. He began his career as a lecturer in mathematics at the universities of Lagos and Ilorin, and looked poised to establish himself in a successful career in academics.
Married in the early 1970s, he and his wife were facing some problems in having children. They had two children through caesarean surgery and the doctors had advised them against having more. But the couple desperately wanted more children and thus embarked on a spiritual journey to seek a solution.
They came to the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in 1973 which was then headed by the general superintendent, Pastor Josiah Oluwa-femi Akindayomi. He became a born-again Christian on July 29, 1973, and decided to dedicate his life to the service of religion.
He became actively involved with the church and began propagating the gospel. In 1975 he was formally ordained a pastor. Initially his duty at the church was to translate Akindayomi’s sermons from the pastor’s native language, Yoruba into English. Eventually he started organizing Bible Study meetings, crusades, revivals, outreaches and the evangelistic programmes known as the Congress which proved to be very successful.
Impressed by the young man’s dedication to religion, Akindayomi decided that Adeboye was the man meant to succeed him. In 1980, Akindayomi died and in the following year, Adeboye took over the leadership as the church’s General Overseer based on an instruction left by Akindayomi prior to his death.
As the leader of the church he worked hard to expand the organization’s outreach and today the church has branches in 196 countries all over the world from Haiti to Germany, from India to the UK, and also in the US. Pastor Adeboye is today considered to be one of the most influential pastors in the world.
In appreciation of God’s abundant mercies, the church’s National Young Adults and Youth Affairs, in 2012 birthed and started a 70 Hours Marathon Messiah’s Praise, the world’s longest annual non-stop gospel musical event to commemorate the 70th birthday anniversary of the general overseer, worldwide, Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye.
This year, its fifth edition offers the 75 Hours Marathon Messiah Praise to mark Pastor Adeboye’s Diamond Jubilee which began Tuesday and is expected to end at mid day today. According to the Personal Assistant (PA) to Daddy G.O., Pastor Oluwagbemileke Adeboye, the event is aimed at, “Expressing our gratitude to God for His mercy upon the life of our father, Pastor E. A. Adeboye and creating a new pattern of praise in this dispensation.”
The praise event held in eight countries this year and men from all walks of life gathered to praise and worship God for 75 hours non-stop across five different continents. The coun-tries participating include Nigeria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, South Africa, Dubai, UK, and the USA.
- He was awarded the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by the Nigerian President in 2008. •In 2009 he was named one of ‘The World’s Fifty Most Powerful People’ by Newsweek Magazine (USA).
- He is the recipient of several honorary degrees including a honorary doctorate degree from the University of Lagos and an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
- He was presented with the Spiritual Pillar of Nigerian Sports, a National Sports Honor in 2010.
- Pastor Adeolu Adeboye: Pastor Adeolu Adeboye is considered by numerous individ-uals as a man on the go. Praised for several revolutionary ideas to the church, he devotes his life to establish and institutionalize the efficiency of all The Redeemed Christian Church of God’s (RCCG) processes and standard of operations. He is married to Mrs. Tope Adeboye and they are blessed with three sons.
- Pastor (Mrs.) Bolu Adubi: Pastor (Mrs.) Bolu Adubi is Pastor E.A. Adeboye’s only daughter. She is a woman that adheres to the needs of young people. Based in Maryland, USA, she is a beacon of hope and knowledge to several young people across the United States. Being a pastor’s daughter, she understands the challenges and obstacles the children in this category face. She is married to Pastor Akin Adubi and they are blessed with four children.
- Pastor Dare Adeboye: Commonly known simply as “Pastor D”, Pastor Dare Adeboye is one of the most influential Youth Pastors in The Redeemed Christian of God Worldwide.
He creates medium for young people to feel em-powered and prepared to carry the mantle of the church and also expantiate the church’s mission and goals.