Like the popular saying, “Some people were born great, some achieve greatness while some have greatness trusted on them.” Such is the life and testimony of one of God’s endtime Generals and General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, Ph.D. A man of humble background, just like our Lord Jesus Christ, who was born in a manger but later became the greatest man that ever lived.
Adeboye’s place of birth is a remote village of Ifewara in the present day Osun State. The man of God described his growing up as very challenging due to the fact that his parents were poor. As a lad, he experienced poverty to the extent that among the poor in their community, his family was regarded as poor. He never had the opportunity of wearing shoes until he was 17. But today, he leads one of the largest congregation in the world.
Adeboye demonstrated rare courage as a child. He was loved by his parents as he was the last child and the only son alongside five daughters. He described his parents as very disciplined and hardworking. The culture of hardwork was imbibed in him from childhood and this has greatly helped him in his academic and ministerial pursuits. Disadvantaged background and strict upbringing bring out different qualities in different children. No doubt, the combination of the two had done well for the man his followers love to call Daddy GO. Raised by a disciplinarian father and a hardworking poor mother, Adeboye picked up the qualities that would make him what he is today quite early in life.
Through the help of God and the persistence of his mother who saw a special trait in him, the young Adeboye went to school as this was a luxury his farmer father could not afford. But sheer grace and divine providence saw Adeboye through from primary school to the university. What his parents lacked in material wealth, he made up in academic excellence from St. Stephen’s Anglican Primary School to Ilesa Grammar School, where he finished with flying colours and later the University of Nigeria Nsuka, where he left for the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) due to the Civil War between 1967 and 1970. Not satisfied, he went on to the University of Lagos where he bagged a Masters in Hydrodynamics and later a Doctorate in Applied Mathematics. In fact , it is on record that Dr. Adeboye was the first to obtain a Masters and a Doctorate degrees in the area of Mathematics in the University of Lagos. Adeboye has a lot of passion for the university. That was where God’s plan for his life began to unfold. He met the Lord in 1973 while a lecturer in the university. He had the dream of becoming the youngest Vice-Chancellor in Africa but God had another plan for him.
His Christian background had made him appreciate God in the ordinary sense but never had a personal relationship with his maker till he gave his life to God. It was in a bid to find solution to nagging problems that led him to RCCG, founded and led by the late Rev. Josiah Akindayomi, a man without formal education. He could neither read nor write but was filled with the power of God. Pastor Adeboye’s passion to know more about God had a positive impact in his life. The zeal for God became a consuming passion and everything concerning him began to take a new turn. The of level his spiritual growth and divine direction made the founder to ordain him as a Pastor in 1975. He was very close to the Founder as his English language interpreter.
God used Pastor Adeboye to take giant strides in ministry, travelling to different parts of the country and beyond to propagate the gospel. The mantle of leadership of the church fell on him following the transition to glory of the founder in 1981. Pastor Adeboye’s emergence as the Head of the church had earlier been revealed to the late General Superintendent, that a highly educated man is coming after him that will take the RCCG to greater heights. As at the time Pastor Adeboye took over as General Overseer, the church’s spread was only limited to the South Western part of the country but today, by the special grace of God, the church has over 10,000 parishes across the world. In the United Kingdom alone there are over 360 RCCG branches. Likewise in the United States, Europe, Asia and other countries, the church has established its presence.
The church’s monthly Holy Ghost service, which started in 1986 as a birthday gift to the General Overseer, has brought joy to millions. Testimonies of salvation, healings, deliverance and fruit of the womb abound from this programme. The church was brought to global attention when it organised an outdoor programme tagged “Lekki ‘98” with the theme “Divine Visitation.” According to the Cable Network News, over Seven million people gathered that night to worship and pray and it was tagged the largest single gathering in the world. The programme later transformed into a six-day power packed programme: Holy Ghost Congress, which has attracted millions of worshipers all over the world, including politicians, business executives, religious and traditional leaders. The former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, and the incumbent, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, were once guests at the programme.
Pastor Adeboye is a man of great vision. His vision is to see a Parish of the RCCG within five minutes walking distance and five minutes driving distance in every city and town. And this is gradually becoming a reality. Also, years ago, he saw a city God promised him when he asked for a house. The city is the sprawling Redemption Camp, which houses the International Headquarters of the church. Apart from that, the mission’s university, the Redeemers University, is located in the camp. There are also primary and secondary schools, medical centre, banks, residential buildings, bookshops, shopping malls, etc. The Redemption Camp is a mecca of sort to those who are seeking one favour or the other from God. It plays host to people from diverse background.
Holiness, humility and faith have been the strong points of Daddy GO. He emphasizes more on holiness which is one of the tenets of the church and he has shown example through practice and preaching of holiness in most of his sermons. He is a man that has demonstrated high level of faith in God over the years.
Another virtue that distinguished Pastor Adeboye from other ministers of the gospel is humility. He is humility personified. This has endured him to the hearts of millions of Nigerians. In describing him, Obasanjo said: “Pastor Adeboye is a most humble man who goes about the propagation of the gospel with utmost simplicity and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I often felt overwhelmed in the way he walks in the revelation of God.” One of the senior Pastors said this about him: “It is not Pastor Adeboye’s style to complain about anything or make demands on his hosts wherever he goes to preach the gospel. Whatever is on offer is just fine.”
Pastor Adeboye is a man of intense prayers and fasting. He prays without ceasing and this is evident in the results that follow his ministrations. He regularly undergoes prayer walk on the camp ground when many are asleep. He fasts almost half of the year just to be in direct contact with power from the throne of grace. The man of God is someone that shows love to all that come across him. He once sold an exotic car presented to him by one of his spiritual children to buy several small cars for the use of some Pastors. Those close to him said he is ever ready to make sacrifices to make others happy. He has demonstrated his love for education by endowing a N50 million Professorial Chair in Mathematics at the University of Lagos to promote research and the study of mathematics. The University of Ibadan and University of Nigeria Nsuka have also benefited from the large heart of Pastor Adeboye.
He has so many honours to his name and to the glory of God. He was in 2009 named as one of the World’s 50 most influential people by the Newsweek Magazine. He was honoured with the National award of Commander of the Order of Niger by late President Umaru YarAdua. The Lagos State University in 2009 awarded him a Honorary Doctorate. And Nigeria’s premier university, the University of Ibadan, offered him another Honorary Doctorate in 2011. He once has the privilege of leading prayers at the UN Headquarters. He has, in the course of propagating the gospel, met notable African and world leaders.
This tribute to Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye to celebr
ate his 70 graceful years on earth cannot be completed without mentioning the role played by our Mother-in-Israel, Pastor (Mrs.) Foluke Adeboye, who has been a unique gift and proven helpmeet to Daddy. The children are so proud of him. He is a man that has put his ears to the Almighty’s chest and hears His heartbeat. He is a successful writer with over 50 books to his credit and travelled to almost all parts of the globe propagating the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As he clocks 70 today, we can only but pray that God will continue to empower him and give him grace to finish strong. Pastor Adeboye is a blessing to our generation, an enigma, a Prophet with honour both home and abroad, an Elder Statesman who is always sought by the high and mighty in the society and spiritual father to millions of people all over the world. Congratulations Daddy. In appreciation to God for taking you this far, we are offer Seventy shouts of Halleluiah. Let somebody shout halleluiah!!!
Gbeleyi is of the Directorate of Personnel, University of Lagos, Akoka, Lagos.