Special Report

February 14, 2024

AYO ORITSEJAFOR: An epitome of leadership

Oritsejafor

*Oritsejafor

By Jeremiah Urowayino

Since his conversion to Christianity in 1972 during an evangelical crusade in Sapele, Nigeria, Ayodele Joseph Oritsegbubemi Oritsejafor, often known as Papa Ayo Oritsejafor, has remained a notable figure in the country. Both on the pulpit and outside, he has provided visionary leadership that shaped lives and promoted national development.

A defining personality, he is never shy to stand in the gap for the masses on policies that do not promote the common good. In his active days, his constant advocacy for good governance left majority wondering if social activism was his calling.

 As the leader of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, and Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Papa Ayo was a thorn in the flesh of government. To them, he wasn’t just a preacher, but a gadfly. In pursuit of his vision, he began his studies at the All Nations For Christ Bible Institute in Benin City, Nigeria.

He later enrolled at the Nigerian Baptist Seminary, Ogbomosho, in Oyo State, Nigeria. In 1979, he moved to the United States to pursue additional education at Morris Cerullo’s School of Ministry (El Cortez), San Diego, California. In November 1987, he founded the Word of Life Bible Church (WLBC).

 Oritsejafor held the position of national president of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, for five years, also his leadership abilities contributed to his being the first Pentecostal leader to be elected as President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in July 2010. By interacting with all of the CAN blocs, participating in projects, or holding physical worship sessions with them, the group increased its visibility in the public sphere. In order to raise money for the organization, he also came up with the concept of building the Jubilee Centre, a 50-bedroom building in Abuja with a sizable conference room.

He founded the African Broadcasting Network, an international satellite Christian television station channel that broadcasts from London and covers all of Africa, parts of Asia, and parts of Europe. It is currently viewed in 75 countries worldwide and online via WebTV in an effort to strengthen the evangelism. With his yearly Jubilee Word Festival, which is renowned for signs and wonders, he has continued to mentor many in the ministry after 51 years of service. Guest ministers from all over the world have attended, and thousands of lives have been delivered from demonic bonds and saved from sin. He is an example of great leadership for younger men of God. Entrusted with seeing to people’s material and spiritual needs, the former president of CAN and his spouse Helen joined forces with Flight Micro Finance Bank in December 2005 to launch an empowerment initiative that grew into an annual campaign to assist the underprivileged in the community.

 In addition, he grants scholarships to underprivileged pupils in different secondary, tertiary, and elementary schools in Nigeria and abroad, regardless of their tribe or religious affiliation. Consequently, Oritsejafor often describes himself as a tool of God, a servant, and a means by which God provides for the material and spiritual needs of every member of society, irrespective of their ethnicity or other attributes. Oritsejafor attributes all of his accomplishments in life to God, and he credits God-given mentors like Dr. Morris Cerullo, Evangelist Tommy L. Osborn, Evangelist Robert W. Schamback, and Archbishop Benson Idahosa for their influence in helping him succeed in the ministry. Over the years, Oritsejafor has been well[1]known around the country for his uncompromising approach and his reputation for stating the truth while others have attempted to save their heads. He is an advocate of setting a good example for others. This is demonstrated by the part he played in ending the conflict in Niger Delta