Adeboye and the Faith of Destiny | The Guardian Nigeria News
As Ukraine and Russia fight to change global power dynamics, history recorded a historic event on March 2, 2022, when the life and times of a single individual reached a defining climax. Surely, the history of modern Nigeria would not be complete without the exploits of certain people, in the way God ordained them to affect the fortunes of this great country. Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, celebrated a milestone in his life journey when he turned eighty on March 2. For a person with such a modest and humble beginning to rise to the height of universal influence, it speaks of the combination of divine power and human vision. Growing up in the then isolated village of Ifewara in present-day Osun State in Nigeria, Adeboye may have become a successful farmer, husband to many wives and perhaps king of his domain, which is not nothing bad. According to the stories told by Adeboye himself, God propelled his mother to push him on the path to greatness, against all odds. His life story has become a compelling memoir that cannot be summed up in a single piece of this nature, so I will only dwell on some of the salient events through which he positively affected individuals around the world and humanity in general.
It is common to read about the difficult journey of great men and women and it is no fiction to say that Adeboye’s life journeys are beyond human comprehension. I’ll tell you from afar. Adeboye grew up in a rural community, where agriculture was associated with education. His mother was greatly inspired by the exploits of foreign and local missionaries and she created the image of greatness for her little boy, with all the trappings of the polygamous environment in which he was raised. In a society dominated by occultism, witchcraft and traditional African religion, it would take God himself to save Adeboye from the mouth of the lions. Barely able to afford the cost of school uniforms, Adeboye began an educational journey that saw him trekking for the first 18 years of his life without shoes and loan kits for his high school graduation. Through hard work, toughness and a display of excellence, Adeboye won a scholarship to study at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and would later move on to the University of Lagos, where he established himself as an academic renamed. Traveling the length and breadth of Nigeria in search of knowledge, Adeboye himself would later begin to shape the destinies of young men and women through teaching and mentoring programs, in order to earn a living. His life ambition was to become the youngest vice-chancellor of a university, until some personal life challenges led him to the Redeemed Christian Church of God, under the tutelage and mentorship of Pa Josiah Akindayomi , which brought him through the rudiments of faith through the practice of holiness, aggressive evangelism, and effective prayers.
Given his miraculous escape from his locality, his setbacks in the various schools he attended and his academic achievements at Unilag, it was something of a puzzle that Adeboye had returned to another local assembly in the remote part of Ebute-Metta in Lagos Nigeria, where he worked day and night with a largely illiterate crowd, to build what has now become one of the fastest growing settlements in the history of mankind. Upon the death of Akindayomi, his mentor, the mantle fell to Adeboye in 1981 to steer the affairs of the RCCG, as General Overseer. He set up a vision for the church, made himself a sacrificial lamb for its growth and expansion, gave up his meager income for church work, sold his car, gave up all his possessions with those of his wife, to build the church as a universal mark. Given the enormity of the challenges, the nature of the vision and mission he outlined for the RCCG, Adeboye had to resign from his secular assignments to deal with mission work, full time. He was deliberate in his plans, arranging for young men and women to become divine ambassadors and people of global influence. He moved from Lagos to a jungle along the Lagos-Ibadan highway, living with his wife and family among giant snakes and other wild animals, in what then looked like a forest of a thousand demons. With divine support and a personal sense of purpose, Adeboye deployed his teaching experiences to establish schools, to train individuals and thus opened the church to partnership with like-minded believers.
RCCG now has Nursery and Primary schools all over the world, countless secondary schools spread across many countries, several colleges and the University of the Redeemer, which ranked the best private university in Nigeria in 2021 and the second best institution of teaching. Adeboye also established the Redeemed Bible College, leadership training institutes, the School of Redeemed Disciples, the School of Redeemed Missions and other institutions, for the training of believers to be deeply rooted in the faith and the ministry work. There is also the Redeemed Maternity Center, which is a philanthropic health facility for pregnant women inside and outside the church, a modern health center at Redemption Camp, and a Health Village, under construction. Adeboye has since extended his philanthropy to public hospitals, through the provision of modern equipment and facilities. The church also has a corporate social responsibility department, which has become a platform for training and empowering the less privileged through skills training and entrepreneurship programs. This grassroots organization he inherited in 1981 has now spread to over 196 countries around the world, providing jobs for many people and creating platforms for people to reach their potential. Adeboye has transformed the jungle of those years into a modern city in its own right, complete with banks, schools and a vast housing estate, where people develop homes and families in a divine environment.
RCCG Camp is currently powered by an independent power station that provides electricity to camp residents and the surrounding area, a functioning modern dam, effective security, environmental sanitation, and a peaceful and friendly atmosphere. Adeboye affected the nation and the world as a whole, in various ways, by building influential people, through personal development, godly support, and a life of discipline and personal sacrifice. His love for Nigeria is unmistakable, thanks to constant prayers in what has become his annual month-long prayer and fast. In recent times, Adeboye’s voice has been heard on issues concerning insecurity, democracy and good governance. In February 2020, Adeboye declared a march for peace, as a peaceful protest against insecurity and to pressure the government to defend the welfare and safety of citizens. He led his congregation in a peaceful march from the RCCG headquarters in Ebute-Metta, carrying placards with various inscriptions on the need to end violence and insecurity in the country. His voice resonated with those of young people at the EndSARS protest. I had personal meetings with Adeboye, discovering his person and his faith.
While working as a young lawyer at Gani Fawehinmi Chambers, I had reason to enjoy the support of my mentor and coach at the time, who seemed to (note the word) mark me out as one of his favourites. Then one day, one of my colleagues in the Chambers approached me, to share with him the secret of my closeness to Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN. According to my colleague, he had observed that I was exempted from the usual stormy sessions that other lawyers had with Gani and he was sure that I must have had other ways in which I had influenced the man. Simply put, he wanted me to share the secret of native charm that I displayed to curry favor with Gani all the time. We both laughed and joked about it, but when I got home later that night, this encounter made me think deeply. I had heard so many weird stories about lawyers growing up; how they are the leaders of very demonic occult groups, secret societies and other hidden organizations. My first experience in legal practice was with Gani and he always fought with the powers that be, both in the legal profession and at the national level. Gani didn’t have any personal friends, he didn’t belong to any organization, he had no secrets, because we were always with him wherever he went, mostly pursuing or defending cases for his clients or in jail or the other. I was so engrossed in working in the Chambers that I had completely forgotten all those scary stories I had heard about lawyers, but this encounter with my colleague brought them back.
To be continued tomorrow
Adegboruwa is a Senior Advocate from Nigeria (SAN).