WHY WE CELEBRATE PEOPLE — TERRIFIC HEADLINES has written a few times about the importance of developing faculties and endowments. How many youths read today? Many parents no longer pay adequate attention to the development of their children. Development and encouragement are joint tasks among stakeholders – principally parents who are fast abandoning their responsibilities. Other stakeholders are Government, organizations with parental responsibilities, civil society organizations, and the civil society itself. One way of creating awareness is through special recognition. We must correct the issue of poor reading culture. Whoever wishes to accomplish his/her goals in life must broaden his/her horizon.
It was that famous dramatist, poet, writer, and author, William Shakespeare who asserted that: ‘’Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them’’. Out of curiosity and learning, particularly with regard to how greatness could be thrust upon an individual, I probed further and discovered that the quote is contained in the work of that great playwright:, in one of his works titled: ‘’Twelfth Night’’ which was written around the year 1602. Elsewhere, that great Pan-Africanist, nationalist, and patriot, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, described on the Floor of the British Parliament during the debate for Nigeria’s independence in July 1960 as a ‘’stormy petrel and somewhat irresponsible in activism’’ asserted that: ‘’There is plenty of room at the top because very few people care to travel beyond the average route. ‘’And so, most of us seem satisfied to remain within the confines of mediocrity.’’
PASTOR JOHNSON FUNSHO ODESOLA Given his remarkable attainments and the divine Hand that has guided his terrestrial journey so far, the story of the life of Pastor Johnson Funsho Odesola qualifies him to be described as a mystery, and perhaps a principality, as a result of his uncommon achievements. Highly notable is the fact that Odesola has gone through the mills, and has been particularly grilled in God’s furnace by his spiritual father and mentor, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, General Overseer, Redeemed Christian Church of God Worldwide. His profile on LinkedIn is sufficient to testify to Odesola’s worth: ”Pastor J.F. Odesola is the Assistant General Overseer Admin/Personnel) in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, an HIV/AIDS and Economic Justice Activist. An accomplished author of more than 50 books and many by researches on Education, Theology, Law, Sociology, HIV/AIDS, Cultural-issues, Missiology, History and Health related issues. A Civil Engineer turned Clergy; he holds BA (Honours) degree in Theology from Greenwich School of Theology, London, LLB (Hons), MTh in Missiology/Anthropology from the Queen’s University of Belfast, A Ph.D. in Christian Education from Ashland University, and another Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies from Trinity International University, a Professor of Divinity with Trinity International Institute of Advanced Studies.
PRODUCT OF VISUALIZATION & UNCOMMON ACHIEVEMENTS Studies have shown that visualization can effective in improving athletic and academic performance. Many athletes (such as Muhammad Ali and Tiger Woods) have used visualization to help them win boxing matches, races, even golf tournaments. There are two basic types of visualization ti wit: ‘’outcome visualization and process visualization, and you should use them together for best results’’ Process visualization involves imagining all the steps you need to take in order to achieve your goal. Think about each action you will take leading up to accomplishing your goal of greatness.’’ (Trudi Griffin) It is not surprising, therefore, that Pastor Odesola writes copiously as he does, having studied at the feet of his spiritual father and mentor, Pastor E.A Adeboye who himself is a prolific writer and reader.
Odesola completed his 6th Ph.D. last year and has not stopped his feverish desire to acquire more knowledge. He was an additional two areas of study last year. He revealed what drives his vision and passion in a newspaper interview when he turned 60 years old last year: ‘’It is this insatiable and restlessness that I don’t know anything that is pushing me. I have a Bachelors’ Degree in Christian Education, Theology, Musicology, and a Master’s in Communication, Christian Education, Cultural Anthropology Study, and Law. I have Doctoral Degrees in Theology, Christian Education, Business Administration, Law, and Cultural Anthropology with 40 different fellowships. I have authored 150 books. The place of knowledge for ministers of God cannot be over-emphasized. Everyone that knows will control those that don’t know. If you are not informed, you will be deformed. To be frank with you, I thank God I have not done anything. I have not seen God raise the dead through me. But I have seen our Daddy in the Lord, Pastor Adeboye, raise the dead. It is not fiction. What stirs my reading is the fact that I don’t know. The youths of my parish and my family have held meetings over me saying that I am over-challenging them and I said ‘no, I am only challenging myself because I don’t know anything’. (Interview – Vanguard Newspaper)
CANDIDATE FOR THE GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS? At the rate Pastor Odesola keeps on surging academically and in the ministry, bagging academic degrees, particularly Ph.Ds, he might be a candidate for the Guinness Book Records very soon. Coincidentally, one of Pastor Odesola’s over 50 literary works encourages people, particularly the younger generation to be rugged in their race towards success. The book on GREATNESS states in part: ‘’ You may be whatever you resolve to be. ‘’Focus to be something in the world and you will become something. “I cannot” never accomplish anything. “I will try” has wrought many wonders. Re-write your vocabulary and grammar! Never be found with the word ‘impossible’. Refuse to be a fool! Nothing is impossible. Keep your hope alive. Let’s go on together to the expedition of GREATNESS. He submits: ‘’Most men exchange their lifetime for much too little. Don’t be afraid to move on to dare impossibility. Between you and anything of worth in life, there are giants. However, you must fight anything that will limit your life and coast!
AS A ROLE MODEL Odesola in one of his books cited above counselled that: ‘’Greatness is created, not stumbled upon. Have confidence in yourself. You can achieve a lot. You are better than you think. Violate the norm. Create a throne for yourself and map out the strategies to enter into the throne. Determine what you want to achieve and dedicate yourself to its attainment. Plan your progress with unswerving singleness of purpose. Do you know that the best jobs have not been found? The best church and ministries have not been crowned; the best marriages have not been sealed yet; yours can be; the best books have not been written; the best songs have not been sung; the best sermons have not been preached; the best testimonies have not been given; believe that your rising will defy human explanation. You may be whatever you resolve to be. Focus to be something in the world and you will become something. “I cannot” never accomplish anything. “I will try” has wrought many wonders. Re-write your vocabulary and grammar! Never be found with the word ‘impossible’. Refuse to be a fool! Nothing is impossible. Keep your hope alive. Let’s go on together to the expedition of GREATNESS.’’
DADDY ADEBOYE AS A PROLIFIC WRITER & VORACIOUS READER I once wrote that I never knew that Daddy G.O (as Pastor Adeboye is addressed) could ever have the time to read any other literature besides the Holy Bible given the battles and fights he must fight with Satan and its agents, particularly defending and supporting millions of souls under his watch all over the world. Only one angel is adequate to prosecute the battles of people of God. Hosts of Heaven are there to fight battles. I was amazed when Daddy Adeboye during a privileged visit to his residence in company with my wife told me that ‘’I have read one of your books!’’ I thought: ‘’ordinary me! Who am I? It sounded almost incredible but I gave glory to God. It later occurred to me when Daddy Adeboye in one of his ministrations explained that he doesn’t need to bind the devil every time. I realized that: What is the duty of the innumerable company of angels assigned to him by God? Indeed, visualization techniques help to achieve greatness. The spirit of Sennacherib works through threats. God was stronger than Sennacherib and God fought for Israel that day. Sennacherib gathered what was left of his shattered army and fled the field of battle. Overnight, an angel killed 185,000 Assyrian troops.
THE IMPORTANCE OF DEVELOPING HUMAN FACULTIES Obafemi Awolowo submitted that: ‘’A man whose personality is fully developed never fears anything; he cringes not, and never feels inferior to anyone; ‘’His breadth of mind enables him to exercise his freedom in such a manner as not to endanger the interests and freedom of others. ‘’He is a citizen of the world – free from narrow prejudices. ‘’He is what he is because the three main constituents of his entity – his body, brain, and mind – are fully developed’’. Accomplishments are by grace. Odesola’s father never had the plan to give him Western education. A native of Igbajo, Osun State, his father was a dealer in wood products who had several wood processing centres. He wanted his male children to join him in his vocation instead of going to school so that they would not be eliminated diabolically, while his female children were permitted go to school. However, God charted the course of young Funsho Odesola’s life, who was influenced by a relation who came home briefly on vacation from Italy where he trained as an engineer. He was able to complete primary school education in 1970. He ended up relocating to Kano where he joined the relation who influenced his thought of becoming an engineer. Odesola enrolled as an apprentice, learning plastering of wall and vocations on building works. He completed his training as a mason four years later. He applied for employment and described himself as an engineer.
However, those who evaluated his application letters told him he was a bricklayer. Not satisfied with his attainments, Funsho enrolled for the WAEC/General Certificate of Education examinations and passed two subjects by private studies. With this result, he was able to secure admission into a secondary school in Ilesa, where after one year he passed his examinations. Determined to realize his ambition of becoming an engineer, he turned down an admission offer to study preliminary medicine at the University of Maiduguri and proceeded to Ibadan Polytechnic to study technical and building engineering. While in the institution, he passed professional courses that qualified him as a building engineer. Upon completion of his National Diploma programme, he distinguished himself as a student with a promising future. Soon, Odesola completed his education and started work in Ibadan as a Project Manager in a construction firm.
IN THE MINISTRY: God moves in mysterious ways. He had spoken to Funsho Odesola for some time to serve in His vineyard. He disobeyed the call of God that has grave implications. He recounted in an interview published in Vanguard Newspapers: ‘’One day after work, I had a snake bite and, in agony, I cried out to God why and I heard a voice telling me that I had been operating in disobedience. I said no and God told me that he took me through the journey I went through so that I could serve Him. I responded I was already His servant and he said no. I then asked God whether He will heal me. I told people around to take me home so I can bid farewell to my wife. My wife was pregnant and she was told her husband had been bitten by a snake. She went straight to the church. It was the day of Bible study. People came and prayed over it and that was the end. ‘’From that time, my wife told me that she did not want to be a widow. She was one of the major instruments God used for me to come into the ministry.’’
Pastor Odesola eventually approached Pastor Adeboye to indicate that he was available for service in the Lord’s vineyard. He nursed the urge to serve in the youth ministry. He was directed to meet Pastor Odeyemi who was then Daddy GO’s assistant. He was assigned the responsibility of functioning as a Travel Secretary to campuses. After one year of serving in that capacity, he was redeployed to the north to put RCCG on a sound footing. Under his supervision, the Lord made it possible for some growth to be achieved and the whole of the northern region was put under his supervision. Odesola’s next port of duty was Zambia and also served in other different nations.
IMPORTANCE OF DIVINELY INSPIRED PARTNERS: Because my wife was instrumental to my accepting the call of God upon my life, I always reminded her that ‘I don’t want to do this but you encouraged me’. That gave me ample opportunity for me to do God’s work. She did well with my children because my children either wanted to marry a pastor or they wanted to be a pastor. My concern in life was not really about me but my children; how they will not hate the God I serve. But I thank God that all of them are doing well for the Lord. You have six Ph.D. degrees, four master’s degrees, and four first degrees. Why the insatiable quest for knowledge? I don’t think I know anything. Odesola who has been a member of the RCCG since the 70s said prayer alone won’t solve all human problems, noting that there are many other things that God requires from the believer apart from prayer. He said there are requests that could be answered through simple obedience rather than prayers. And Pastor Odesola continues to sit at the feet of a noble ‘’Gamaliel’’ – Daddy Adeboye for wisdom to continue to write profusely like he is doing; 6 Ph.Ds in the kitty as a holder of multidisciplinary degrees. According to Johnson Odesola, ‘’prayer without obedience is vain’’
According to him, “If you don’t obey principles, you will suffer ridicule. The doorway to blessings is simple obedience. Anybody who does not obey the Word of God is fooling himself. Obedience to God is demonstrating faith in God. Obedience is proof of your love for God. True obedience is to walk with God.” Pastor Odesola emphasizes in his sermons that: ‘’God loves a cheerful giver, but if you give “grudgingly” He will accept it, adding that God does not want partial obedience. “We can’t serve God on our own terms. Our obedience to God must be complete, must not be delayed and must not be partial.” Odesola urged his listeners on Dove Television to ‘’obey God and take steps on instructions God has asked them to take; like responding to call to ministry, helping somebody in need or whatever God has asked them to do. In summary, he said: “When you obey God you will live long. You will have great peace, assurance of salvation and your heaven will be sure.”
SPOUSES AS CHIEF SUPPORTERS Proverbs 18:22 states that: “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.”. This is the case with Johnson Odesola who openly appreciated his wife, Pastor Adebisi Odesola when she marked her 60th birthday anniversary. The special commendation was crafted this way: To my love, Ifemi, My Sweetener, My Sugar, My Honey, MD etc. You know your names are many Adebisi – My Beloved and the Wife of my youth. You represent a lot in my life after my Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ. It’s so amazing that you are turning 60 and yet to me, it’s like 16. The first time I set my eyes on you with the prompting of the Holy Spirit I knew you were the best for me. No wonder I had to hold on despite the initial challenges until that wonderful day when you finally became mine.
I must commend your depth of commitment dedication and firmness in doing what you believe in. You have proved to be my best friend and prayer partner over the years. Yes, we pledged for better for worse but it been for better for best. The love you have shown to me and the soldiers (Adeboye Titilope, Tolulope Odesola, and Enoch Odesola ) God blessed our marriage with is unprecedented. A love so genuine it can only be from God. The last 27 years of my life I spent with you and if I have to relive it again, I will choose you. Bisi my love, you are a great woman, a prayer champion, a most outstanding mother, and most of all the best wife. As you turn 60 today, I look forward to many more years together, years of greater testimonies, many more exploits and a fun-filled Christian life. May the good Lord support you in all the endeavours of the future and may we live together in good health and prosperity. Happy Birthday, my love. From your only Funso.
This evidently proves convincingly that God’s priests are also human beings with feelings and emotions. They also love and express emotions like other ordinary people do. If you feel envious, please treat your wife like Pastor Johnson Odesola is treating his wife — like an egg that must be carefully and properly handled.