By Richard Elesho
Age, as they say, is like wine. The older, the better. The older, the wiser. Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, (aka, Daddy G.O) the General Overseer, of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, 80 years old today, demonstrates this, per time. A sampler.
At the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic which forced social restrictions on humanity the world over, Pastor Adeboye encouraged his members to follow all protocols of the disease. Unlike some religious leaders that grumbled and criticized lockdown, social distancing and vaccination as measures of controlling the pandemic, Adeboye hailed the government for the decisions. He also offered suggestions.
He said: “I also advise the government that, in the future when they are setting up their committees, men of God should be included. I am not talking about small boys like me.
“I am talking about Chief Imams, Arch Bishops and others so they can help them with the spiritual aspect of this warfare. I sincerely hope that we would all know at the end that it is not by our wisdom, our abilities, the planning that has given us whatever victory that we have already gotten.
“We need to return all the glory to God because as the elders will say, the rain can send you into the same hut more than once. We need to give the glory to God because we don’t want the victory we have won so far to be reversed”
A robust marriage of love of God on one hand and patriotism to the fatherland on the other distinguishes Adeboye’s missionary ministry. He is popular for his regular calls for prayer for the country and those in authority. During the cross over service to 2022, Adeboye enlisted the service of 1,000 volunteers in a 72-hour prayer assignment for the country.
“I need 1,000 volunteers, strong Christians, young and prayer warriors to join me in seeking the face of God for Nigeria and the world.”
The Cleric stated that the first 24 hours would be devoted to praying for Nigeria, another 24 hours for the world while the remaining 24 hours would be made known, with time. The prayers were held in February.
Today, the respected man of God joins the select club of Octogenarians with his natural forces unabated. Like Enoch, the Patriarch and his Old Testament antitype who remained super-active for life, Adeboye is of a very rear league of men who remain young, at old age. Last year, The News published a focus on the RCCG leader.
His is a life of paradoxes. Trained as a scientist where seeing is believing. But called to a life of faith, establishing the existence of what is not seen. In appearance, he is spartan yet nouveau riche. Soft-spoken, yet oratorian. Usually dressed in his trademark austere safari suits and bow ties, Adeboye, exudes simplicity and humility.
Daddy GO as he is fondly called by members of the church is a man whose faith many people would like to emulate. Last year, at 79 he lost Dare, his third son, who he once described as a miracle baby in tragic circumstances. He was not sick before he died sleeping in his house in Akwa Ibom State where he was pastoring a church.
However, while in mourning the G.O did not take time to be back on the Pulpit. On Thursday, he found the faith to attend Holy Communion service. The following day Friday, he was at the monthly Holy Ghost program of the church at the Redemption Camp on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
Looking as if nothing had happened, he went philosophical in his sermon. “Whatever we have is given to us by God, be it wealth, wife, husband, children e.t.c and if it got taken away by God, all we can do is give God glory for actually giving us the privilege to enjoy that wealth or kids temporarily, and it is not for us to complain, blame and question God.
“What we see as sorrows might be joy in the sight of God, I mean His ways and thoughts are not the same as ours; we shouldn’t forget that both good and bad happen at God’s command. (Lamentations 3:38).
“Finally, in all things, let’s learn to say thank you, father, and It is well…
There is a peace that passes human understanding. It is only God that can give that peace. I thank God that I have that peace,” Vintage Adeboye, you would say.
Such complete submission to Divinity, sometimes at a great personal loss has characterised his steps since 1973 when he embraced Jesus Christ. Great sacrifices with monumental outcomes dominate the trajectories of his journey.
At the early stages of his stewardship in the church following the passage of its founder Pa. Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi in November 1980, Pastor Adeboye had an accommodation challenge. For the first three years, he was a part-time pastor combining it with his lecturing job.
But when he assumed full leadership of the church he had to resign and forgo his palatial quarter as a Senior Lecturer in the University of Ilorin. Pronto, he and his family moved to a single room apartment in Mushin.
He remained in the apartment with his wife and four children. As he was praying and hoping for a bigger house, he said God told him, son, you are asking for a house, but I am giving you a city. Today, the Redemption Camp qualifies as a city. With about 12,000 inhabitants and more than 5,000 houses, its landmass is 2,500 hectares. The new church in the camp measures 1.5 kilometres by 1 kilometre, by far bigger than st. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican city.
Adeboye inherited a church of about 40 parishes. Today, the church has more than 20,000 parishes in about 180 countries across the globe.
When he disengaged from lecturing, his lean resources became grossly inadequate to meet his needs and those of church members. Eating meat became a luxury for his family. They made do with ponmo and looked forward to eating ‘Okro meat’ – a new dietary invention of the Pastor. By and by, he had to sell his car and used the proceed to attend to some of the issues it could solve.
By this time he was already accustomed to a life of service and obedience. Adeboye was just an ordained Pastor when the General Superintendent (Founder) Pa Akindayomi requested that all workers in Ebutte Metta headquarters of RCCG should empty their bank accounts and bring the proceeds to the church.
When they all returned the following Sunday Pa Akindayomi asked that those who had complied with the instruction should raise their hands. It was however observed that only pastor Adeboye and his wife had their hands raised.
One of the unique sacrifices made concerned the use of titles and academic recognitions. With age on his side and a PhD in Applied Mathematics in the kitty, Adoboye’s career target was to be the youngest Vice-Chancellor, VC in Nigeria. It was little wonder then that the new pastor liked to be addressed as Rev. Dr Adeboye as was the practice among his contemporaries.
He did not relish in this practice for long before God called him to order. An unconfirmed account claimed that God directed the Pastor to destroy his impressive academic certificates and completely rely on God in humility for his sustenance. The source added that Adeboye consequently obeyed the command by either shredding his certificates in pieces or setting them on fire!
A senior Minister in the church gave a slightly different account which he said he heard directly from the GO. In the account, Adeboye was told in a dream to sketch the diagram of a man on the ground. He did. Then God directed him to wipe off the diagram with his feet.
Thereafter, God gave him a vital lesson in humility and service. He was said to have emphasized that any power the Pastor had was by God’s grace and not from any man. God asked him to remain humble and warned that anytime he allows pride to set into his ministry, HE would wipe him off like the diagram. Since then, humility has been his watchword.
It was gathered that the man of God does not draw a salary from the church. Instead, he gives to it. Proceeds from his publications go to the church. Adeboye is said to live chiefly on charity and donations from people. Yet his net worth is put in the neighbourhood of 100 billion Naira. He owns several exotic automobiles and a private jet. In 2008, the revered cleric was named one of the 50 most powerful people in the world by the internationally acclaimed US magazine, Newsweek.
Adeboye was born on March 2nd 1942 in Ifewara, Osun State to Christian parents. His father was a farmer and his mother, was a locust bean seller. They were so deprived that even other indigent people called them poor.
Young Adeboye was a good footballer and photographer. By hard work and a stint of luck, Adeboye accomplished great feats in education bagging a first degree in Mathematics in 1967. He got married the same year to Foluke Adenike daughter of a Methodist Priest. He followed up with a Master’s in Hydrodynamics and a PhD in Applied Mathematics.
Some ten years after Adeboye’s birth, precisely in 1952 Pa Josiah Akindayomi founded RCCG in Lagos. Adeboye joined the fold in 1973. Two years later he was appointed a pastor and interpreter in the fold. He eventually became G.O in 1981 upon the founder’s transition a year earlier.
Adeboye mounts the Pulpit, like a courageous teacher of the word, that he is. He is frank and wastes no time to own up to an error. He is a preacher with an interest in Justice and State matters. His priestly duties do not exclude him from passing comments on palace issues. During the 60th independence anniversary of Nigeria, Pa Adeboye added his voice to the restructuring debate in the country.
Listen to him: “Why can’t we have a system of government that will create what I will call the United States of Nigeria? Let me explain. We all know that we must restructure. It is either we restructure, or we break up, you don’t have to be a prophet to know that. That is certain – restructure or we break up.”
Happy birthday to the elder in the house, our Daddy G.O