By Sam Eyoboka
PASTOR (Mrs.) Titi Akindayomi-Adewale, one of the children of Pa Josiah Akindayomi, founder of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), has debunked insinuations that her father was a stark illiterate who could not read or write.
In a YouTube video interview conducted by Pastor Femi Ojo, an RCCG pastor based in the US, Titi said her father had beautiful writing and was not as illiterate as being suggested in some quarters, pointing out, however, that he did not have a formal education.
She said, “I saw his notes when he was alive. He was formally not learned but he was so interested in learning. Part of the Sunday school period in the church then was devoted to people who wanted to know how to write.
“All they did was to learn alphabets in Yoruba. Part of those who benefited from the programme was my mother. “They did the normal Sunday school but also had time to learn how to write. My father was reading his Bible very well. He wrote his notes. He had beautiful cursive handwriting. Unfortunately for me, I did not keep his notebook.”
Titi, who is a pastor of one of the RCCG parishes in the US, said she was born after her father founded the church, unlike her siblings who were born before the church started.
‘RCCG not the first name of church’
She recalled that her father had toyed with about three different names before the Lord finally revealed the name ‘Ijo Irapada’ to him in a vision.
“I think the first name he had was Ijo Ogo Oluwa, and then Apostolic Faith of Africa and one other name I can’t recall before God finally revealed the name Ijo Irapada which is being interpreted Redeemed Christian Church of God”, the daughter said. “He wrote the name down by himself. When he got up from the revelation, he called one Pastor Ayodele to work on the name. They prepared the logo of the church later”
She revealed further that RCCG started on Ibadan Street at Ebute Meta and later moved to Oloto Street; then Willoughby Street before the church moved to Cemetery Street, all in Ebute Meta, Lagos.
She recollected, “I can still recall when we were moving from Willoughby Street to Cemetery Street very well.
“It was like the children of Israel going to the promised land. I recall how we lined up to the place. As God would have it, the headquarters of the church has remained in that place till date.”
According to him, the church was growing steadily and people were coming because of the great things that the Lord was doing through her father.
While regretting that she did not take cognizance of what was happening then and did not keep records, she said her father was so passionate about God that he said to them that the main legacy he wanted to bequeath to his children was the Bible.
“He had different versions of the Bible. He told us he would leave Bible for his children. And that is what he did. He had different versions of Yoruba Bible and also English Bible” Titi said.
While confessing that she did not live with her parents in her growing up years, she said she always had rapport with her father regularly and related so well with him
Her words, “I did not grow up with my other siblings. A family approached my father and asked that they would love that I stay with them.
“My parents could not say no to the family. They used me as a sacrificial lamb. I am not bitter but all these things now worked together for my good.
“It was not a pleasant experience. I lived with the family till I got married. I went to school there. My father was always reaching out to me while living there.”
Though Pastor Mrs. Adewale did not mention the name of the family she lived with, she said, “These are the founding people. When we go to church, they would tell me that I should not talk with my father and siblings. I went through it.
“That is another story. That led me to the marriage I found myself. My siblings don’t know me because we did not live together.
“Most of the things that happened were between me and my father. Most things are not known to my mother. There was so much respect for the man in the marriage in those days. Women were not allowed to talk. My father would take decisions and would not carry my mother along not because of anything, it was just the cultural way things were done then. And my mother never asked questions.”
‘Women not given notable positions’
Titi, who is the fourth of the surviving children of the late Akindayomi, said her mother was not given any notable role in the church when her father was alive.
According to her, it was Pastor Adeboye, as General Overseer of the church, who ordained her mother and his wife, Folu Adeboye, as mothers-in-Israel. Titi debunked the insinuation that men and women sat separately in RCCG then. “Women were not ordained as pastors. In the RCCG then, there was no drumming. Pastor Ojo was a good composer. He composed great songs for us then. There was no clapping and dancing but the power of God would come down”, she said.
“The first time we wanted to start clapping, Pastor Adeboye went to tell my father that he would bring a drum to the congress. He told him also that we would be clapping at the congress and we would beat the drum. My father agreed but he said the drums should not be brought to the church after the congress. I believe God counted whatever my father did as righteousness for him. Thank God for his life. He laid the foundation and somebody is building on it.”
‘I did not plan to be a pastor’
On how she became a pastor, she said, “I was a choir member in Nigeria. I used to be in the headquarters.
“I did not plan to be a pastor. My husband was a pastor, but I was not. It was when I got to the US that a member and a mentor encouraged me into pastoring. Incidentally, I was attacked.
“Some people were insinuating that I could not do it. I was told if this person does not want it, it can’t happen. That was when I got the courage and said to myself why not. I said no, this can’t be going on.
“In spite of being sidelined initially, we were embraced later. At the end of the day, I stood my ground. The church I pastor is still standing by God’s grace. I believe they had something against me initially. To the glory of God, it’s been wonderful. By the grace of God, I happened to be one of the first women ordained as Assistant pastor in 1991. That year I came out of the Bible college and I was ordained. The G.O said women will not go beyond AP because of Church doctrine. I later saw that they have started ordaining women as full pastors. I got ordained as a full pastor after so many years. There are lots of challenges that are going on there but God has always been fighting and he will keep fighting.”
On her father, Pa Akindayomi who died November 2, 1980, she said she had started a foundation to immortalize him, stating that she was shocked to find out that some top pastors of the RCCG didn’t even know her father was the founder of the church.
“Josiah Akindayomi Foundation was founded to immortalize my father.
“History will not forgive me if the name dies. A lot of people don’t know the founder of the church.
“I know a lot of top pastors who don’t know Akindayomi as the founder. The foundation is to bring to the limelight what the man stood for when he was alive.
“All my father’s life, he would put his children backward and help others. I am trusting God to use the foundation to support the less privileged.
“There is nothing we have done yet. We tried to reach out during the pandemic. We hope to do more of supporting people as time goes on”.